Astrophysical research


The research activity at the IAC is structured around individual astrophysical research projects. These projects are grouped into six global research lines that cover most fields of theoretical, observational or instrumental astrophysics. The individual research projects are led and managed by a Principal Investigator (PI) and can include scientists at pre-doctoral, post-doctoral, tenured and senior levels. The links and collaborations with researchers from other centers are recognized and encouraged. 


Solar physics


Although located at 150 million kilometers from Earth, the Sun is in our immediate neighborhood compared with all other stars. The observation of the Sun along the decades has provided amazingly detailed views of the structure and day-to-day life of a star; the high-resolution observations achieved from Earth and space in recent years, in particular, have facilitated reaching deep theoretical insights concerning the structure and evolution of stellar atmospheres and interiors.

The Sun constitutes a physics laboratory where the complex interactions between the matter (atoms, electrons and ions, or molecules) and the magnetic field can be studied in conditions difficult to reach in devices on Earth. Of particular interest for the public are the spectacular phenomena displayed by its atmosphere, its role in generating the magnetized clouds that, after traversing the interplanetary space, can impact on Earth's magnetosphere and lead to the potentially dangerous solar storms, and the mysteries of the solar interior. Understanding of all those phenomena is gained by a combination of refined theoretical methods and direct or indirect observation using leading-edge technologies.

The solar physics group at the IAC enjoys a leadership position in different branches of solar research in the world. This is exemplified by the award of four large research grants by the European Research Council in the past years to researchers of the group, by its leading role in the European Solar Telescope project, and by its participation in other international networks and instrument projects. Globally, the group combines theoretical methods (magneto-fluid dynamics and plasma physics, radiation transfer), including 3D numerical radiation-MHD modeling, and state-of-the-art observational and diagnostic techniques, to achieve deep understanding of what constitutes and drives the structure and activity of our star.

  • Example of state of the art 3-D simulation of the Sun
    The Whole Sun Project: Untangling the complex physical mechanisms behind our eruptive star and its twins

    The Sun is a magnetically active star with violent eruptions that can hit Earth´s magnetosphere and cause important perturbations in our technology-dependent society. The objective of the Whole Sun project is to tackle in a coherent way for the first time key questions in Solar Physics that involve as a whole the solar interior and the atmosphere

    Moreno Insertis
  • POLMAG group
    POLMAG - Polarized Radiation Diagnostics for Exploring the Magnetism of the Outer Solar Atmosphere

    POLMAG aims at a true breakthrough in the development and application of polarized radiation diagnostic methods for exploring the magnetic fields of the chromosphere, transition region and corona of the Sun.

    Trujillo Bueno
  • SPIA: Magnetic connectivity through the Solar Partially Ionised Atmosphere
    PI2FA - Partial Ionisation: Two-Fluid Approach

    Pi2FA aims at the development of new methods for investigating the magnetism in the outer layers of the solar atmosphere, the chromosphere. The objective is to understand the processes that make the chromosphere have so high temperatures.

    Elena Khomenko
  • Project Image
    Magnetism, Polarization and Radiative Transfer in Astrophysics

    Magnetic fields pervade all astrophysical plasmas and govern most of the variability in the Universe at intermediate time scales. They are present in stars across the whole Hertzsprung-Russell diagram, in galaxies, and even perhaps in the intergalactic medium. Polarized light provides the most reliable source of information at our disposal for the

    Tanausú del
    Pino Alemán
  • Solar Eruption
    Numerical Simulation of Astrophysical Processes

    The general aim of this project is the investigation of astrophysical processes through the use of state­of­the­art numerical codes on massively parallel computers. More specifically, the research in many astrophysical fields requires an understanding of gas dynamical, magnetic, radiative transfer and gravitational phenomena not accessible to

  • Project Image
    Solar and Stellar Magnetism

    Magnetic fields are at the base of star formation and stellar structure and evolution. When stars are born, magnetic fields brake the rotation during the collapse of the mollecular cloud. In the end of the life of a star, magnetic fields can play a key role in the form of the strong winds that lead to the last stages of stellar evolution. During

    Felipe García