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Solar astrophysics and interplanetary physics

The scientific objective of research in solar, interplanetary and magnetospheric physics, is the understanding of the variety of phenomena related to solar activity and its influence on planetary environments. This field of investigation, that explores in detail a rich variety of physical processes, important also in a more general astrophysical context, can be summarised as the study of the complex interaction between magnetic fields and plasmain a wide range of dynamical conditions. Recent years have seen significant progress in our understanding of the Sun and heliosphere, thanks to the use of new and more effective instruments, both from the ground and from space. Also, a series of instruments dedicated to the study of the properties of the terrestrial ionosphere and magnetosphere and their variations, has identified correlations between changes in the circum-terrestrial environment, whose impact on human activity can be critical, with interplanetary perturbations induced by the most energetic, solar, magnetic phenomena (flares, eruptive prominences, coronal mass ejections), encouraging significantly studies of the physics of the Sun-Earth relationship and "Space Weather".

The Italian solar, interplanetary and magnetospheric scientific community is actively involved in these fields of investigation, regularly making use of available international instrumentation both on the ground and in space, and has also contributed significantly to the building of the same instruments. Further, the community also has available adistributed observational infrastructure both nationally and abroad, constantly used forsystematic observations of the Sun and the study of Sun-Earth relations.

The morphology of the X-ray afterglows and of the jetted GeV emission in long gamma-ray bursts

May 12, 2021

The morphology of the X-ray afterglows and of the jetted GeV emission in long gamma-ray bursts In a new article published in the Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society, an ICRA-ICRANet research team (some of them INAF associates) sheds light on the mass and spin of stellar-mass BHs from an extensive analysis of long-duration GRBs

The best place and time to live in the Milky Way

Mar 05, 2021

The best place and time to live in the Milky Way More than 6 billion years ago, the outskirts of the Milky Way were the safest places for the development of possible life forms, sheltered from the most violent explosions in the universe: gamma-ray bursts and supernovae. This is demonstrated by a new study, led by researchers from INAF and the University of Insubria in Italy, which investigates the incidence of these events throughout the evolution of our galaxy

Magnetic anomalies on the young craters of Mercury

Feb 24, 2021

Magnetic anomalies on the young craters of Mercury It is possible to find a point of convergence between geophysics and planetary geology, and a group of researchers led by Valentina Galluzzi from INAF did so by analyzing the crustal magnetic field of the planet Mercury, focusing on some anomalies identified nearby two recently formed craters