Arcetri Solar Physics Group

Solar High Resolution Studies
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High quality observations obtained in recent years have highlighted the fact that the solar atmosphere is extremely dynamic, and wholly permeated and shaped by magnetic fields at very small spatial scales. Most solar phenomena are a direct consequence of the dynamic magnetic fields continuously emerging from the solar interior, and their interaction with convectively-driven plasma flows. Theoretical considerations show that solar features might have length scales of few tens of kilometers or less, which corresponds to less than 0.1 arcseconds when observed from the Earth. To gain insights into these "elementary" phenomena there is the need to resolve very small spatial and temporal scales.

The observational constraints set by these scales are quite demanding even for a source as close as the Sun. Instruments with optimized performances are needed in order to solve the problem of "photon-starved" observations. Within this framework, the Solar Group in Arcetri is currently completing a new double-interferometric system, IBIS (Interferometric BIdimensional Spectrometer), that will allow high spectral, spatial, and temporal resolution observations of the lower solar atmosphere. IBIS is planned to be installed at a major solar telescope in early 2003.

In the coming yeas, a series of new telescopes and satellites ( GREGOR, ATST, Sunrise, SOLAR-B, etc.) promise to systematically explore the solar atmosphere at spatial resolutions never before achieved, providing a whole range of exciting observations of the processes - dynamic, non-linear, turbulent - that govern the solar atmosphere and activity. The Solar Group in Arcetri is initiating a project to study some of the topics and techniques that will be brought to the forefront of solar physics as this new physical regime is explored. A collaborative proposal with other italian institutes ( Roma, Cosenza, Catania) has recently been submitted to the Istituto Nazionale di Astrofisica with the overall goal to develop expertise in the issues surrounding very high-resolution solar observations in the optical and near-IR. The main scientific topics that we intend to address are:

Small Scale Activity

Spectropolarimetry of small structures

Photospheric dynamics

Such studies, in particular those related to polarimetric measures, will be part of the Arcetri Observatory's contribution to the European Solar Magnetism Network ( ESMN-2), a Research and Training Network funded by the EU for the years 2002-2006 and involving ten other European top level institutions.

For additional information, please contact Gianna Cauzzi.

Last Updated: 03 June, 2003