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

Aurorae are detected from all the magnetized planets in our Solar System, including Earth. They are powered by magnetospheric current systems that lead to the precipitation of energetic electrons into the high-latitude regions of the upper atmosphere. In the case of the gas-giant planets, these aurorae include highly polarized radio emission at kilohertz and megahertz frequencies produced by the precipitating electrons, as well as continuum and line emission in the infrared, optical, ultraviolet and X-ray parts of the spectrum, associated with the collisional excitation and heating of the hydrogen-dominated atmosphere. In an international cooperation Svetlana Berdyugina from the Kiepenheuer Institut is involved in a campaign in which simultaneous radio and optical spectroscopic observations were performed of an object at the end of the stellar main sequence, located right at the boundary between stars and brown dwarfs, from which we have detected radio and optical auroral emissions both powered by magnetospheric currents. Whereas the magnetic activity of stars like our Sun is powered by processes that occur in their lower atmospheres, these aurorae are powered by processes originating much further out in the magnetosphere of the dwarf star that couple energy into the lower atmosphere. The dissipated power is at least four orders of magnitude larger than what is produced in the Jovian magnetosphere, revealing aurorae to be a potentially ubiquitous signature of large-scale magnetospheres that can scale to luminosities far greater than those observed in our Solar System. These magnetospheric current systems may also play a part in powering some of the weather phenomena reported on brown dwarfs...

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Latest News

The 3rd SOLARNET / 7th HELAS / SpaceInn international conference "The Sun, the stars, and Solar-stellar relations" will take place in Freiburg (Germany) between 31 August - 4 September 2015, organized by the Kiepenheuer-Institut für Sonnenphysik (KIS). SOLARNET (High-resolution Solar Physics Network) is an international project promoted by the European Association for Solar Telescopes (EAST) and funded by the European Commission FP7. HELAS is the European Helio- and Asteroseismology Network, which aims at coordinating the activities of the research groups active in helio-and asteroseismology. The purpose of this conference is to discuss the latest questions and results in solar and stellar physics. Solar and stellar seismology will be one particular focus but contributions on all aspects of solar-stellar relations will be welcome. We aim to establish links and synergies between the day- and night-time fields of astrophysics. In detail the following topics will be addressed in individual sessions as showed in the Scientific Program. Furthermore new and upcoming projects and missions shall be presented. Graduate students and early-career postdocs are particularly invited to participate in the conference to present their research work and to meet and discuss with their more senior colleagues. A limited amount of financial resources shall be available to grant travel support. Contact: mroth(at)

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