Research Departments

Sun and Heliosphere

The focus of this department is the solar interior, the solar atmosphere, the solar magnetic field, the heliosphere, and the interplanetary medium, as well as solar radiation and solar energetic particles. The balloon-mission Sunrise, a balloon-borne solar observatory, is managed by this department. The mission investigates our central star from a height of about 35 km. In addition to several other participations in space missions, the department significantly contributes to the ESA's Solar Orbiter.


Planets and Comets

This department investigates the interior, the surfaces, atmospheres, ionospheres, and magnetospheres of planets and their moons, as well as comets and asteroids. The department currently contributes or has contributed to important space missions such as the ESA's missions JUICE to the Jovian system, BepiColombo to Mercury and Rosetta to comet Churyumov-Gerasimenko as well as NASA's missions InSight to Mars and Dawn to the asteroid belt.

Solar and Stellar Interiors

Helioseismology and asteroseismology are tools that use the oscillations of the Sun and stars to probe their interior structure and dynamics. This allows us to test and refine the theory of stellar structure and evolution, thereby bringing us closer to understanding solar and stellar magnetism. The department hosts the German Data Center for NASA's Solar Dynamics Observatory, and is preparing to host the data center of ESA's exoplanet hunting mission, PLATO.


At a Glance

International Office

On the pages of the International Office, new employees and guests will find information for their stay in Göttingen and at the institute.



PhD programme: International Max Planck Research School for Solar System Science at the University of Göttingen.


Staff at the MPS

Staff directory and information for staff members and new employees at the institute.


Restaurant at the End of the Universe

Canteen at the MPS
Mon - Fri 9 - 13
This week's menu




ESP Online Seminar: The largest flares of solar cycle 24 as potential clues for stellar superflares (Paolo Romano)

Sep 26, 2019 11:00 - 12:00
University of Catania / INAF - Catania Astrophysical Observatory (broadcasted at MPS), Room: Seminar rooms Cygnus + Draco

Der Sonne so nah: Sonne, Mond und Planeten in der babylonischen Astronomie: Beobachtung und Theorie (Mathieu Ossendrijver)

Oct 24, 2019 19:00 - 20:00
Max-Plack-Institut für Sonnensystemforschung, Room: Auditorium

Der Sonne so nah: Sonnenbeobachtung aus dem Weltall: von Helios zu Solar Orbiter (Daniel Müller)

Nov 7, 2019 19:00 - 20:00
Max-Plack-Institut für Sonnensystemforschung, Room: Auditorium

Der Sonne so nah: Parker Solar Probe - Die Reise durch das Sonnenfeuer (Volker Bothmer)

Jan 16, 2020 19:00 - 20:00
Max-Plack-Institut für Sonnensystemforschung, Room: Auditorium

Der Sonne so nah: Solar Orbiter: Startschuss für eine Sonnenmission der Extreme (Joachim Woch)

Feb 20, 2020 19:00 - 20:00
Max-Plack-Institut für Sonnensystemforschung, Room: Auditorium

Press Releases

"The Moon is one of the most important archives"

July 16, 2019

Twelve people have landed on the Moon, exploring its surface. However, there was just one scientist among the astronauts – the geologist Harrison Schmitt. He visited the Earth’s satellite in December 1972, on board the Apollo 17, the last mission of ...

Rosetta stamp released in Germany

July 01, 2019

The German postal service “Deutsche Post” has dedicated a stamp to ESA’s comet mission Rosetta. The stamp with a value of 60 cents is officially released today as part of a special series of stamps devoted to topics related to space and astrophysics ...

Old at Heart: Solution to Red Giants‘ Age Paradox

June 27, 2019

Four years ago, several red giant stars were discovered to pose a paradox: even though they are built from very old stellar material, their large masses indicate a clearly younger age. Scientists from the Max Planck Institute for Solar System ...

18 Earth-sized exoplanets discovered

May 22, 2019

Scientists at the Max Planck Institute for Solar System Research (MPS), the Georg August University of Göttingen, and the Sonneberg Observatory have discovered 18 Earth-sized planets beyond the solar system. The worlds are so small that previous ...

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