INPhINIT Incoming PhD: "Space-borne solar magnetic field measurements"

  Consejo Superior de Investigaciones Científicas   Instituto de Astrofísica de Andalucía   Excelencia Severo Ochoa   HR Excellence in Research
February, 4th 2021
(1) Towards the understanding of the planetary systems

The Solar Physics Group (SPG) of the Solar System Department of the IAA-CSIC is a leading team in the field of solar physics. The SPG participates in the development and construction of space- and balloon-borne solar instrumentation for the Solar Orbiter, Lagrange and Sunrise missions, besides of carrying out state-of-the-art theoretical and observational research on solar magnetism. SPG leads the Spanish Space Solar Physics Consortium (S3PC), which includes four more institutes (INTA, IDR-UPM, UV, and IAC). After having developed IMaX (Imaging Magnetograph eXperiment) for the Sunrise I and II mission flights and co-led (with MPS, Göttingen) the development of SO/PHI (Polarimetric and Helioseismic Imager) for the ESA’s Solar Orbiter mission, S3PC is building TuMag (Tunable Magnetograph) and co-leading the development of SCIP (Sunrise Chromospheric Infrared Polarimeter) for the Sunrise III mission flight. Moreover, it is involved in the pre-development phase of PMI (Polarimetric and Magnetic Imager) for the ESA’s Lagrange mission, InFact (Inversion Factory), an electronic inverter of the radiative transfer equation for the American Daniel K. Inouye Solar Telescope, and participates in the first development phases of three tunable band imagers for the European Solar Telescope.
SO/PHI was successfully launched aboard Solar Orbiter in February 2020 and it is now in its cruise phase to the Sun after a successful commissioning. SO/PHI will be the first-ever instrument to provide measurements of solar magnetic fields at different angular spacings from Earth and very close to the Sun. SO/PHI, therefore, opens up a window of opportunity for unique science when the cruise phase ends in November 2021. At the same time, Sunrise III fight is scheduled for the summer of 2022. Sunrise is the first observatory that will measure surface magnetic fields with polarimeters at the ultraviolet, visible and infrared wavelengths simultaneously and with unprecedented spatial resolutions.


The appointee is expected to significantly contribute to our current acknowledge of the magnetism of the Sun. The main goal is to exploit the scientific observations that SO/PHI will carry out during its nominal mission phase in combination with the other Solar Orbiter (SO) remote-sensing instruments. Particular interest will be put into investigating the impact that solar photospheric magnetic field activity has in the uppermost atmospheric layer, the solar corona. SO/PHI will provide high sensitivity, full spectropolarimetric measurements with its two telescopes each achieving at perihelion (0.3 AU) 2 and 0.3 arcsec spatial resolution. Such measurements will help us to study in detail the magnetic interactions occurring at the solar surface and from a point of view different from the one we have from Earth. To achieve the science goals, data coming from the SO Metis and EUI instruments will be used. Metis images the visible and ultraviolet emission of the Sun's corona. Its observations will help diagnosing the effects of solar photospheric magnetic fields interactions in the solar corona through polarization and solar wind speed measurements. The Extreme Ultraviolet Imager (EUI) is also part of the remote sensing instrument package of SO and will explore the inner heliosphere. In particular, it provides information about the solar activity from the chromosphere up to the corona. Observations will be combined with those that can be taken from the Earth point of view, e.g., the Helioseismic and Magnetic Imager (HMI) of the NASA’s Solar Dynamics Observatory, the Spectropolarimeter (SP) onboard the JAXA’s Hinode satellite, or from solar telescopes on the ground. This study is of paramount importance for both improving our current knowledge of solar magnetism and for successfully exploiting the capabilities of SO/PHI, an instrument for which the IAA has high responsibility because it is the co-PI institution.

Period (months): 
36 months

IAA is an equal opportunity institution. Applications to this program by female scientists are particularly encouraged.

Should you need any further information or assistance concerning the application, please contact the IAA at severoochoa[at]