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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.

Light in Astronomy 2017

Nov 14, 2017

Light in Astronomy 2017 Light in Astronomy, organized by INAF in collaboration with the Italian Astronomical Society-SAIt, will be a week (13-19 November) dedicated to satisfying curiosity about the Universe thanks to the opening in Italy of INAF premises, including the astronomical observatories.

Marsis radar reveals that on Mars all that echoes is not ice

Oct 28, 2017

Marsis radar reveals that on Mars all that echoes is not ice The low dielectric constant of the Meridiani Planum deposits is consistent with a thick layer of ice-free, porous, basaltic sand. This study is fundamental to identify techniques that may help find the planet’s areas with accessible water ice.

A 3D step towards sorting out the Gamma-Ray Bursts zoo

Oct 13, 2017

A 3D step towards sorting out the Gamma-Ray Bursts zoo A powerful tool for characterizing and classifying gamma-ray bursts (GRBs) to allow their use as tracers of the expansion history of the universe has recently been presented by an international team of researchers led by Dr. Maria Dainotti