MSc. Dr. Maxim L. Khodachenko
The Sun - challenge for scientists

Institut für Weltraumforschung, Österreichische Akademie der Wissenschaften

The Sun is our nearest star. It plays an important role in many processes widely ranging in space and time scales, from the global evolution of the whole solar planetary system and environments of particular planets, to the short-time elementary processes on the micro-level of separate particles and the electromagnetic fields. The Sun sustains the life on Earth and impacts our technological civilization. It may be considered also as a unique plasma physics laboratory of an astrophysical scale. High energy and large-scale processes realized there can not be easily reproduced in usual labs. Investigations of the Sun and solar heliosphere are of great importance for the study of behaviour of stars and space plasma in general. Unsolved problems of the solar physics stimulate progress in the fundamental science, as well as in the technological and engineering branches.

The main two aspects of the solar science which represent the focus area for the modern and future research effort are the following.

  • Understanding of the physical mechanisms of the solar dynamics and magnetism and determination of ways by which the energy generated in the Sun's core is released into space . Magnetic field plays here the key role. It gives the origin of solar active regions; it controls the dynamics of solar plasma; it structuralizes the solar atmosphere; and finally, it channels the energy from the convection zone and photosphere towards the upper solar atmosphere. Progress in answering the existing questions related to the dynamic Sun, requires further detailed study of interaction of the solar plasmas and magnetic field. By this, theoretical analysis and numeric modelling of the fundamental physical processes underlying the dynamic phenomena on the Sun should be combined with observations providing a resolution sufficient to observe scales and time intervals characteristic to these processes.
  • Understanding and prediction of the geospheric and biospheric effects of the Sun. This supposes further study of the solar activity phenomena and their manifestation in the heliosphere and the near Earth space, performed in close relation to the life-sciences such as biology, climatology, meteorology and ecology.

Altogether these investigations should bring more knowledge about dynamics and variability of the Sun and how it powers and disturbs the planetary, and in particular the Earth environment.


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