Solar and Stellar Interiors Department (Laurent Gizon): Research in solar physics and astrophysics using helioseismology and asteroseismology

Solar and Stellar Interiors

In collaboration with the University of Göttingen

Research - Helioseismology and Asteroseismology

One of the most important unsolved problems in solar physics today is the origin of the Sun’s eleven-year magnetic cycle. More generally, activity cycles in cool stars with convective envelopes are not understood. These cycles are expected to be the result of the interplay between flows (e.g., rotation, meridional circulation, convection) and magnetic fields and are described by dynamo models. It is not clear, however, how and where the dynamos operate, and what sets the periods of activity cycles. The reason for this lack of understanding is the absence of sufficient empirical information about subsurface dynamics in solar and stellar interiors.

Helioseismology is the use of stochastically excited solar oscillations as probes of the interior of the Sun. Asteroseismology is a generalization of helioseismology to the study of oscillations of other stars. These tools allow us to test and refine the theory of stellar structure and evolution and to study thermal structures and flows in the interior of the Sun and stars, thereby bringing us closer to understanding solar and stellar magnetism. Further, asteroseismology allows us to place the Sun in the context of other similar stars and to study the possible futures and pasts of the Sun.

Press releases

18 Earth-sized exoplanets discovered,May 2019 
ERC synergy grant for solar physics at the MPS, October 2018 
New External Scientific Member at the MPS, September 2018 
A new twist on stellar rotation, September 2018 
Giant swirls on the Sun, May 2018 
Otto Hahn Medal for Jan Langfellner, June 2017 
Finding new Earths: PLATO spacecraft to be built, June 2017 
New Max Planck Fellow appointed at the MPS, April 2017 
Full Braking at Alpha-Centauri, February 2017 
Distant star is roundest object ever observed in nature, November 2016 
Slow appearance of sunspots challenges theory, July 2016 
Eavesdropping on Aliens, March 2016 
Giant hurricanes on the Sun, August 2014 
Stellar inventory: Searching for other Earths, February 2014 
Interior rotation of a distant star revealed, July 2013 
Unexpectedly slow motions below the Sun's surface, July 2012

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