Solteleskopet (SST) på La Palma, som varit världsledande allt sedan det togs i drift i maj 2002. Fot


The Swedish Solar Telescope (SST) on La Palma, which has been world-leading since it became operational in May 2002. Photo: Göran Scharmer
 
“This transfer of operations to Stockholm University will be a big boost for the Institute for Solar Physics, not least because of the financial support from the University. It will mean several new research and PhD positions in solar physics,” says Anders Karlhede, Deputy Vice-Chancellor for the discipline of Science at Stockholm University.
Research at the Institute for Solar Physics (ISF) is based mainly on observational data registered with the Swedish 1-meter Solar Telescope (SST) on La Palma, which has been world-leading since it became operational in May 2002.
“Research at the ISF is primarily designed to gain knowledge about how the Sun's magnetic fields arise, how they are formed and ultimately destroyed or taken away from the solar surface. Moreover, we study how these magnetic fields affect the Sun's outer atmosphere and give rise to solar storms and the radiant energy that the Sun emits,” says Göran Scharmer, professor at the Department of Astronomy at Stockholm University and the Royal Academy of Sciences.
 
Sunspots and the chromosphere in focus
A strong focus of the activities to date has been sunspots, where SST and ISF's research has led to great progress in recent years. Two such studies of ISF staff have been published in Nature (2002) and Science (2011).
 
teleskop närbild
 
Another major activity has been to increase our understanding of other stellar atmospheres, through detailed studies of the solar granulation giving rise to the radiation we record and analyze from the solar surface, as well as from other stars.
ISF staff have been responsible for the construction of SST and several key instruments. Such development will continue to be an important component of ISF operations.
“Through a large grant from the Knut and Alice Wallenberg Foundation, part of the activities of the ISF will shift emphasis from sunspots to the outer layer of the solar atmosphere, the chromosphere, which is dominated by magnetic fields, which give rise to very complex and violent dynamical processes. In connection with sunspots, this leads to severe eruptions with solar flares and an increase of UV radiation as a result,” says Göran Scharmer.
 
For further information
Göran Scharmer, professor at the Department of Astronomy at Stockholm University and the Royal Academy of Sciences, mobile 0707-53 00 12, tel 08-5537 8532, email scharmer@astro.su.se.
 
About the Institute for Solar Physics
ISF was established in 1951 as a “Research Station for Astrophysics” on the island of Capri near Naples by the Institute's first director, Professor Yngve Öhman. After Öhman's retirement in 1973, Professor Arne Wyller took over as director and soon thereafter began the preparations for the relocation of the research station to the island of La Palma, where a new observatory was about to emerge. The new observatory was inaugurated on La Palma in the summer of 1985, and six months later, the first "real" solar telescope, the Swedish 50-cm solar telescope (SVST), came into use. This solar telescope gave the very first high-definition films of the Sun's surface and SVST also resulted in two publications in Nature. Current director Göran Scharmer took the helm in 1990. In 2002 SVST was replaced by SST.