Kiepenheuer Institute for Solar Physics

The Kiepenheuer Institute for Solar Physics (KIS) conducts experimental and theoretical investigations of physical processes on and within the Sun. Its headquarter is in Freiburg, Germany. The KIS operates the german solar telescopes at Teide Observatory on Tenerife (Spain) where most of the scientific observations are performed. KIS offers lectures on astronomy and astrophysics at Freiburg university and trains young scientists.

Picture of the Month

On May 9th, Mercury will transit in front of the solar disk. To make this happen Earth has to be in a certain position in its orbit: The intersection points of the two planet’s orbits. They are called nodes. This happens twice a year: Around 8th of May and around 10th of November. In addition Mercury has to be in the corresponding position. This only happens every couple of years. In the 21st century there will be 14 Mercury transits: 5 in May and 9 in November. The last time it was in November 2006 and the next time it will happen in November 2019. Mercury’s angular diameter is too small to be observed by naked eye but the Kiepenheuer-Institute’s solar telescopes on Tenerife will observe the transit. It starts on 13:12 CEST and Mercury leaves the Sun at 20:40 CEST. During that time two kinds of observations will be performed: Mercury will be used as a target to determine optical properties of the telescope. Furthermore there will be measurements of the particle density of sodium close to Mercury’s surface: Various processes including the solar radiation releases a small amount of atoms (e.g. sodium) from the planet forming an extremely faint gas envelope (exosphere) and a tail....

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