Past Highlights - Click on images for more information.

28 February 2017: High-frequency torsional Alfvén waves as an energy source for coronal heating. An international team including researches from five countries and led by Professor Gerry Doyle from Armagh Observatory and Planetarium reports on a new discovery that may answer the long-standing question of why is the sun's outer atmosphere or corona so hot. The discovery, made using the Swedish 1-meter Solar Telescope at La Palma, showing first ubiquitous presence of high frequency (~12-42 mHz) waves at numerous thin magnetic flux tubes in the quiet-Sun magnetic network transferring energy into the overlying corona. They serve as substantial sources of energy flux not only to heat the solar corona but also to originate the supersonic solar wind. This research was published by Dr. A.K. Srivastava (Department of Physics, Indian Institute of Technology (BHU), India) et al. in Nature's Scientific Reports. See also the team's press release.

October 2016: Wallenberg funds new chromospheric research project. Jorrit Leenaarts was awarded a SEK 33,950,000 (approximately EUR 3,500,000) grant from the Knut and Alice Wallenberg Foundation for the five-year project Fundamental magnetic processes in the solar chromosphere. Together with the premier developer in Europe of instruments for observational solar physics, the Max Planck Institute for Solar System Research, he is building the Helium SpectroPolarimeter (HeSP). The instrument will use an innovative microlens-based design, that allows instantaneous measurement of a spectrum in a 2D field-of-view. With HeSP it will be possible to derive the three-dimensional magnetic field of the chromosphere using the He I line at 1083 nm. HeSP will be installed in 2019 at the Swedish 1-meter Solar Telescope, and will operate simultaneously with the existing CHROMIS (390-500 nm) and CRISP (500-855 nm) instruments.

September 2016: New staff: Gregal Vissers has joined the institute as a Post Doc. Welcome Gregal!

August 2016: CHROMIS installed. Our new Fabry-Perot-based spectrometer in the blue, CHROMIS, is now successfully installed at the SST and is collecting science data. CHROMIS is part of the five-year CHROMOBS project, generously funded by the Knut and Alice Wallenberg Foundation. The CHROMOBS project is an initiative aiming at investigating the structure, dynamics and heating of the upper solar chromosphere at unprecedented spatial and temporal resolution. The main diagnostics are the Ca II H and K lines between 390 and 400 nm. The chromosphere is the highly dynamic and magnetically dominated layer between the solar photosphere (the visible solar surface) and the corona, and constitutes the interface through which all non-thermal energy that heats the corona and drives space weather is transported.

9 May 2016: Mercury transit. Weather permitting, we will observe the transit with the Swedish 1-meter Solar Telescope. Watch it on YouTube.

April 2016: New staff: David Bühler has joined the institute as a Post Doc. Welcome David!

January 2016: New staff: Sara Esteban Pozuelo has joined the institute as a Post Doc. Welcome Sara!

3 November 2015: 4-year grant to Jaime. Today we celebrate Jaime de la Cruz Rodriguez, who has been awarded a 4-year grant from Vetenskapsrĺdet (Swedish Research Council). Together with funds from the astronomy department, this covers 4 years salary for Jaime as well as for a PhD student.

16 October 2014: New findings on coronal heating. In a special section of the journal Science, researchers this week present new findings about the mechanisms that heat the solar corona. One of the articles in Science uses data from the Swedish 1-m Solar Telescope (SST) to show that the solar chromosphere - the atmospheric layer between the solar surface and the much hotter corona - is full of twisting motions. These motions are a sign of magnetic waves. Data with NASA s Interface Region Imaging Spectrograph (IRIS) show that these motions strongly contribute to the heating the solar plasma from 10,000 degrees to at least 1 million degrees. The SST was earlier used to discover small-scale magnetic tornadoes in the solar chromosphere (S. Wedemeyer-Böhm et al., 2012, Nature 486:505) and has greatly contributed to our understanding of the dynamic and magnetic solar atmosphere during the last 12 years. Thanks to its instrumentation and high optical quality, the SST remains the world leading ground-based solar telescope. Dr. Jorrit Leenaarts from the Institute for Solar Physics collaborates with the IRIS team on understanding the heating of the outer solar atmosphere, and provided a theoretical foundation for understanding the images taken by IRIS. Contacts: Dr. Jorrit Leenaarts, Prof. Göran Scharmer, or Dr. Bart de Pontieu

May 2014: The institute is hiring more staff: J. Lewis Fox, research engineer, starting August 2014; Jayant Joshi, post doc, starting September 2014; Andrii V. Sukhorukov, post doc, starting summer or early fall 2014. Welcome to the institute!

January 2014: The institute is expanding. We have recently hired new staff: Jorrit Leenaarts, associate professor; Jaime de la Cruz Rodriguez, post doc; Tomas Hillberg, data engineer; Tine Libbrecht, PhD student. Welcome to the institute! We expect to recruit additional staff in the near future; students, a research engineer, and a post doc.

24 April 2013: Inauguration of the Institute for Solar Physics as a national research infrastructure in association with the Stockholm University Department of Astronomy.

April 2013: The Adaptive Optics system has been upgraded. The new deformable mirror has 85 electrodes (the old one had 37). With its 85 subaperture Shack-Hartmann wavefront sensor, it has 84 controllable modes and locks in seeing with r0 better than 5 cm. The new AO is available for all types of observations with the Swedish 1-m Solar Telescope.

15 February 2013: Vasco Henriques successfully defended his thesis
Congratulations Vasco!

17 December 2012: A new home for the Institute for Solar Physics
From 1 January 2013, the Institute for Solar Physics will be established at Stockholm University, which will then take over the management from the Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences. At the same time, the institute will become a Research Infrastructure under the Swedish Research Council. This transfer will strengthen the institute and several new student and scientist positions will be created. Press release at Stockholm University. (In Swedish.)

October 2012: Solar chromosphere project funded for 5 years
The Knut and Alice Wallenberg Foundation has decided to award Göran Scharmer a 26.3 MSEK grant for a 5-year project on "Dynamics of the solar chromosphere". Info at the Stockholm University.

28 June 2012: Magnetic tornadoes on the Sun
In the 28 June issue of Nature, a team of researchers from Norway, Germany, UK, and Sweden report on magnetic solar tornadoes, discovered in data recorded with the SST. Magnetic solar tornadoes resemble tornadoes on the Earth, but have a magnetic skeleton and are hundreds to thousand times larger in cross-sectional area. Although being small compared to the whole Sun, one such observed tornado could occupy the surface area equivalent of Europe or the USA.

5-6 June 2012: Venus Transit Flashback.
The transit of Venus that occurs on June 5-6, 2012 is not observable from La Palma and therefore there will be no SST imagery from this event. We take the opportunity to show some remade movies from the last transit which occurred on June 8, 2004.

22 May 2012: SST 10 years.
Ten years ago the SST captured its first diffraction-limited image, demonstrating the quality of the telescope. This was within days of first light with its full aperture. During the past ten years the SST has had its instrumentation continuously amended and improved. Currently its adaptive optics is undergoing an upgrade which is expected to increase the fraction of time with diffraction-limited performance.

2 June 2011: Convective downflows in a sunspot penumbra.
Data from the CRISP instrument at the SST show the presence of downflows in a sunspot penumbra. The results are published as a Report in Science magazine. The authors are: Göran B. Scharmer, Vasco M.J. Henriques, Dan Kiselman, (all from the Institute for Solar Physics and the Department of Astronomy at Stockholm University), and Jaime de la Cruz Rodríguez (University of Oslo). The conclusion is that the observed system of upflows and downflows must be convective in origin. This implies that the penumbra is largely powered by convection and that the Evershed effect is the horizontal component of these convective flows.

March 2011: Gautam successfully defended his PhD thesis. Congratulations!

March 2011: Maria Tham presented her MSc thesis.

November 2010: Jaime successfully defendended his PhD thesis. Congratulations Dr. de la Cruz Rodríguez!

April 2010: The Institute for Solar Physics congratulates NASA and the Solar Dynamics Observatory (SDO) team for the successful first light event. Watch the wonderful movies and images of the solar corona at the SDO site.

20 Mar 2009: Alfvén waves, Science 323 (5921)
New images from the Swedish 1-meter Solar Telescope on La Palma show the presence of magnetic waves, Alfvén waves, in the lower solar atmosphere. The authors, a collaboration of scientist from Queens University, Belfast, the University of Sheffield, and California State University Northridge, conclude that these waves could heat the solar corona, which would explain the coronal temperature of 1 million K or more, while the solar surface, the photosphere, is "only" 6000 K.

June 2008: Göran Scharmer is the first winner of the European Atronomical Society's newly created Tycho Brahe Prize. The prize will be awarded to Prof. Scharmer at the opening ceremony at the next European meeting in September.

Apr 2008: CRISP
During April 2008, the CRisp Imaging SpectroPolarimeter (CRISP) was installed at the SST on La Palma. The tunable filter part of this system is a dual Fabry-Pérot Interferometer (FPI) system, usable from 510 to 860 nm with 0.3-0.9 nm wide pre-filters. It has a compact telecentric optical design with a minimum number of optical surfaces and high overall transmission. Polarization measurements are made by liquid crystal (LC) modulation and a polarizing beam splitter, located close to the final focal plane and feeding two 1k×1k-pixel Sarnoff CCD cameras. MOMFBD image restoration is aided with a third CCD providing broad-band images synchronized with the two narrowband images and recorded through the pre-filter of the FPI system. The optimization of the FPI system is described by Göran Scharmer (2006, A&A 447, 1111), the overall design and details of CRISP will be described in a forthcoming publication and also provided on our web site.

30 May 2007: Corona, NASA press release
A team of scientists funded by NASA and the NSF have discovered what shapes and powers the chromosphere, a thin region of the sun's atmosphere which appears as a ruby red "ring of fire" around the moon during a total solar eclipse. The chromosphere, so-called because of its color, is a significant source of variations in the sun's ultraviolet (UV) radiation that may contribute to climate change on Earth. It is a 10,000C layer sandwiched between 6,000C solar surface and the 1,000,000C outer atmosphere (corona) - that's like standing next to a fire and getting warmer as you move away from it instead of cooler: a puzzle that has left solar physicists scratching their heads for decades. Sound waves and the ever-changing solar magnetic field have each been proposed as potential drivers of this counter-intuitive temperature change in the past. The new result shows that both have a part to play in creating the change, offering a significant leap in the understanding of one of the sun's remaining great mysteries.

April 2007: Pit Sütterlin has joined the SST staff as Support Astronomer. For the 2007 season he will still have DOT duties but will help with SST matters as time permits.

14 Sep 2006: Faculae, Nature 443
Sunspots and faculae modulate the total solar energy output and they are thus relevant for studies of climate change. A recent article in Nature by Foukal et al. reviews the situation. That issue of Nature has an SST image of spots and faculae on its cover, thus highlighting the importance of this telescope in the quest for understanding these solar phenomenae.

20 October 2005: Uppsala University announced that it will confer the degree of Honorary Doctor of Science to Göran Scharmer on 27 January 2006.

1 September 2005: Boris Gudiksen, our former PhD student, has been awarded the "Naturvetarepris" for the best PhD dissertation ("The coronal heating problem") in physics in Sweden during 2004 from The Swedish Association of Scientists (Naturvetareförbundet). We are extremely proud of his accomplishments and convey our warmest congratulations.

9 March 2005: The Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences decided to give Mats Löfdahl the Strömer-Ferrner award. Mats will receive the award on 11 May.

September 2004: Göran Scharmer is the 7th Lennart Nilsson Award winner. He will receive the prize on 4 November 2004. Congratulations, Göran!

28 Jul 2004: Spicules, Nature 430
Spicules are dynamic jets propelled upwards (at speeds of approximately 20 km s-1) from the solar 'surface' (photosphere) into the magnetized low atmosphere of the Sun. They carry a mass flux of 100 times that of the solar wind into the low solar corona. With diameters close to observational limits (< 500 km), spicules have been largely unexplained since their discovery in 1877: none of the existing models can account simultaneously for their ubiquity, evolution, energetics and recently discovered periodicity. In this Nature paper, the authors report a synthesis of modelling and high-spatial-resolution SST observations in which numerical simulations driven by observed photospheric velocities directly reproduce the observed occurrence and properties of individual spicules.

8 Jun 2004: Venus transit
We observed the Venus transit with the Swedish 1-m Solar Telescope (SST) in La Palma. Here is a gallery of images and movies from the event.

12 December 2003: We gratefully acknowledge a generous grant of SEK 5.8 million from the Marianne and Marcus Wallenberg Foundation (Marianne och Marcus Wallenbergs stiftelse) to be used for SST instrumentation.

15 October 2003 - Ghanjah Skĺnby-Mansour presented her masters's thesis project, The fine structure of penumbral grains.

17 Jun 2003: 3D granulation, NASA press release

Mercury transit 7 May 2003 7 May 2003: Mercury transit
We observed the Mercury transit with the Swedish 1-m Solar Telescope (SST) in La Palma. Here is a gallery of images and movies from the event.

25 April 2003: First light with new AO system.

17 January 2003: Luc Rouppe van der Voort successfully defended his thesis in solar physics. Congratulations, Luc!

14 December 2002: We make the Dark Core scientific data set public. More data to come from this location:

14 Nov 2002: Best ever view of sunspots, Nature 420
In May 2002, the Swedish 1-m Solar Telescope started operation with its full aperture. During the first few months of operation we collected many solar images with unprecedented spatial resolution, estimated to approximately 90 km. Some of these show inner structure, a dark core, in the hitherto unresolved filaments in sunspot penumbrae. The dark-cored filaments were an unexpected discovery, that we have published as a Letter in Nature, "Dark cores in sunspot penumbral filaments".

21 May 2002: Full aperture: The new telescope is now used with the full 1-m aperture.

5 April 2002: Schupmann corrector works: G-band images with secondary optics installed. Still with a stopped down aperture (60 cm).

March 2002: Back in business: First light with the secondary optics of the new telescope installed. Still with a stopped down aperture (60 cm).

March 2002: First light: The new solar telescope saw First Light on Saturday 2 March. The aperture was stopped down to 60 cm pending installation of the cooling system and the adaptive optics.

Time-stamp: <2017-06-28 12:36:10 mats>