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The Sun’s planets and small objects have undergone substantial evolution. Deciphering the history of our cosmic home is not a simple task even though we now have access to a multitude of data gathered by space missions, remote observations, and laboratory studies of diverse samples. A significant fraction of materials available for the study of planetary bodies come from meteorites.
The Planetary Plasma Environments group (PPE) has a strong heritage in the exploration of planetary magnetospheres and space plasma interactions throughout the solar system. It has contributed instruments to several past missions that flew-by or orbited Jupiter (Galileo, Cassini, Ulysses). The PPE participates in the JUICE mission by contributing hardware and scientific expertise to the Particle Environment Package (PEP).
The Solar Lower Atmosphere and Magnetism (SLAM) group covers many exciting subjects in solar physics, focussing on the development and testing of highly novel solar instrumentation, reduction and analysis of highest quality solar observations, or improving and developing advanced techniques for the analysis of solar observations.
Inversion codes are used to aid the detailed interpretation of solar spectro-polarimetric data. This computer code attempts to find the atmospheric structure that produced an observed spectrum by minimizing the difference between the observed spectrum and a Stokes spectrum.
The MPS is one of the leading institutes worldwide in building instruments for solar research, both for ground based observatories as well as for balloon and space-borne missions. Scientists and engineers of MPS conceive new observing methods and develop novel instruments of highest technological complexity. These instruments are built in house, tested, calibrated, and used at the best solar observatories in the world, or delivered to NASA and ESA to be launched to space.
The magnetic field in the solar atmosphere exceeds the geomagnetic field strength by four orders of magnitude. It greatly influences the processes of energy transport within the solar atmosphere, and dominates the morphology of the solar chromosphere and corona. Kinetic energy from convective motions in the Sun can be efficiently stored in magnetic fields and subsequently released - to heat the solar corona to several million degrees or to blast off coronal mass ejections.