Joint Research Activities

The following joint research activities will be carried out to improve the service provided by owners/operators of research infrastructures for research on solar physics:


WP50. Tools for Innovative Data Handling: Pipelines, Databases & SVO

Develop data-reduction pipelines for the most important European ground-based high resolution solar instruments. Enhancement of observational procedures for increased productivity and easier coobserving and combination of data. The pipelines will produce data and meta-data fulfilling the requirements of a Solar Virtual Observatory (SVO). A SVO archive prototype will be implemented.


WP60. Advanced Instrumentation Development

Development of instrumentation to improve the existing solar telescopes and with possible application to the future large aperture solar telescopes. The instrumentation developments included in this WP are the following: large diameter FPIs (100 to 300mm), image slicer for 2D spectroscopy, microlens-fed spectrograph and Fast Imaging Polarimeter.

WP60.2 Image Slicers for 2D spectroscopy

The objective is to develop a prototype of an Integral Field Unit (IFU) based on an image slicer optimized for GRIS, the infrared spectrograph of GREGOR telescope, to make solar observations and validate the concept for the EST instrumentation. The image slicer reorganizes a 2-D field of view of 24.5 arcsec2 into a slit of 66.8 arcsec by 0.37 arcsec. IAC and Winlight Optics work together… For more details, click here.


WP70. Wavefront Control: Turbulence Characterization and Correction

Investigation of the effects of air turbulence produced in the atmosphere and at the telescope environment on the wavefront distortion at solar telescopes and implement techniques to reduce and correct the wavefront distortion in order to improve the performance of existing solar telescopes and to optimize the design of the future large aperture solar telescopes.

WP70.1 Adaptive optics

WP70.1.1 Multiconjugate Adaptive Optics (MCAO) Simulations

MCAO Simulations: End-to-end simulations of the EST MCAO system are in progress to analyze the performance for a large range of elevations and depending on the asterism geometry, number and height of DMs, in order to find the best system configuration… For more details, click here.

Deformable Mirrors Order: There are two options to place deformable mirrors (DMs) in the optical train of a MCAO system: (a) correcting the layers in the same order as they are optically conjugated ("direct correction") and (b) correcting the layers in the inverse order to conjugation ("inverse correction"). A total cancellation of phase and amplitude is only achieved in the latter case… For more details, click here. 

WP70.2 Atmospheric seeing

The long-baseline SHABAR (SHadow BAnd Ranger) instrument is a daytime seeing monitor which aim is to characterize the daytime turbulence distribution in atmospheric layers at different heights above the site where it is deployed. There are two functional long-baseline SHABARs in operation in the Canary Islands at present. They are usually deployed in two different sites: one in Observatorio del Teide (OT), in Tenerife island, and one in Observatorio del Roque de los Muchachos (ORM), in La Palma island… For more details, click here.

WP70.3 Local seeing

WP70.3.1 Application of CFD techniques to the local seeing optimization

EST Thermal Analysis: Transient analysis are performed during 48 hours in order to get the temperature distributions at the dome, pier, building and floor of the EST, in different moments of the day (morning, noon and afternoon), in summer with a wind speed of 5m/s at OT (Teide Observatory) in different configurations… For more details, click here. 

CFD Simulations consist in computing pressures, temperatures and velocities at all points of the computational domain and at all-time instants. From these, average mechanical and thermal rates of dissipation depending on the turbulence model used are calculated. Then Cn2 distribution is determined and the degradation of local seeing. The calculations are applied to the environment of EST….The first objective is to compare the results of two different turbulence models… For more details, click here.

EST Structural Analysis: During the first Conceptual Design Study of EST Project (2008-2011), several alternatives for the Telescope Structure were considered, more particularly Gantry and Rocking-Chair models were developed. The objectives of the current study (2014-2015) are to carry on with the structural analysis and close the telescope structure trade-off, then optimize the structural concept chosen in order to meet the scientific requirements… For more details click here.

WP80. Synoptic Observations: Solar Physics Research Integrated Network Group (SPRING)

The top-level science objectives of this WP are to understand: the physical origins of the solar activity cycle; the interaction of the p-mode oscillations and the solar magnetic field; the formation, growth, decay and disappearance of active regions; the connections of the solar magnetic field from the interior to the corona; the mechanisms of coronal mass ejections (CMEs), erupting filaments, flares, and other phenomena that can affect terrestrial technology and society; the variations in solar irradiance that may affect terrestrial climate.

We will test and refine the theory of stellar structure and evolution, to explore the solar-stellar connections, and to provide an Earth vantage point for stereoscopic science in combination with future space observatories. Since the objectives of this WP are broad, substantial international collaboration is foreseen to accomplish the goals.



Networking Activities

The following networking activities are being carried out to foster a culture of co-operation between infrastructures for research on solar physics, and scientific communities:


WP20. Integrated operation and exploitation of solar physics facilities and coordination with other research infrastructures

The main objective of this activity is the coordination and implementation of the Trans-national Access and Service Programme. 

Other objectives will be also addressed, like the definition of scopes and development of guidelines for pipeline procedures; feasibility study on service observing mode; and the coordination with other research infrastructures among others.


WP30. Solar physics networking

The aim of this work-package will be to foster collaborations among different solar physics groups, promote the interaction and cooperation among researchers of different level of expertise, as well as to encourage and promote synergies with other fields.

Exploitation of ground- and space-based data; enhancement of collaborations with other communities and projects; and promotion of collaborations between the new generation of scientists and experienced researchers, through short stays and training actions to acquire competences in relevant fields of solar physics, are some of the actions foreseen.


WP40. Innovation towards industry

Under this activity, we plan to carry out a strategic approach to innovation, aligned with the Innovation Union initiative, to reinforce the partnership with industry by engaging the project in the existing and highly successful channels to promote transfer of knowledge to EU high-tech industries.

The participation of industrial experts on selected topics will be assured. An identification and compilation of solar astrophysics' technologies will be carried out. Donor/Receiver workshops will be organised with space-related/high-tech community.


Transnational Access and Service Programme (TAS)

Access to the following solar telescopes and database repositories will be available for external users:

  1. The first-class EU infrastructures for high-resolution ground-based solar physics: GREGOR, VTT, THEMIS, SST, IBIS/DST, ROSA/DST
  2. The most demanded European Science Data Centre, providing data gathered by the solar satellite HINODE (SDC Europe) and the Solar Dynamics Observatory (BE-WISSDOM and GSC-SDO)

New users, young researchers and eligible researchers from countries with no similar facilities are specially encouraged to apply for access. Please, check Eligibility Criteria.


WP90: Transnational Access Programme

The aim of this WP is to offer to external users access to the most-advanced, largest and first-class infrastructures for high-resolution ground-based solar physics. Apart from the access offered by the world-class solar telescopes installed at the Canary Islands Observatories (GREGOR, VTT, THEMIS, and SST), is also offered access to IBIS/DST and ROSA/DST, key instruments for studying a variety of solar phenomena installed in a non-European facility: the US Dunn Solar Telescope (DST) of the NSO.

How to apply for access

An Announcement of Opportunity to apply for access to the solar telescopes and instruments offered by SOLARNET is published every year. A single Time Allocation Committee will be responsible to rank proposals.

Application form

Astronomers are invited to apply for access at SOLARNET ACCESS in 2016: Call for proposals.

Each telescope (GREGOR, VTT, THEMIS, SST) and instrument (IBIS/DST and ROSA/DST) have a specific forms for the proposals.

Prior to submit your application make sure you and your team meet eligibility criteria.

Deadline: January 20th, 2016.

Travel and Subsistence Grants

Apart from awarding telescope time (following the Announcement of Opportunity, and based on scientific merits and technical feasibility) and access to databases, Travel and Subsistence grants will be provided to be on-site during the observations.


WP100: Access to Science Data Centres. Space missions

Access to the most demanded European Science Data Centre, providing data gathered by the solar satellite HINODE, and the Solar Dynamics Observatory (SDO), will be offered under this WP. The access to space-based data for solar research, offered for the first time under an I3 supported by the EC, will expand significantly the content of the Programmes for the high-resolution solar physics community supported in the past.

The Hinode Science Data Centre Europe, the Belgian Web Incessant Screening and the German Science Center for the Solar Dynamics Observatory, are the three facilities offering access and services under this WP.

Access to the database repositories is freely provided through internet connection.


Participant organisation name Country
Instituto de Astrofísica de Canarias (Coordinator) Spain
University of Graz Austria
Koninklijke Sterrenwacht van Belgie Belgium
Sveuciliste u Zagrebu - Geodetski Fakultet Croatia
Astronomický ústav AV ČR v.v.i Czech Republic
Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique France
Université de Paul Sabatier Toulouse III France
Winlight Optics France
Kiepenheuer-Institut für Sonnenphysik Germany
Leibniz Institute for Astrophysics (AIP) Germany 
Max-Planck-Gesellschaft zur Förderung der Wissenschaften e.V. Germany 
PnSensor Gmbh Germany 
Consiglio Nazionale delle Ricerche Italy
Istituto Nazionale di Astrofisica Italy 
S.R.S. Engineering Design S.R.L Italy 
Università di Calabria Italy 
Università degli Studi di Roma Tor Vergata Italy 
Universitetet i Oslo Norway
Uniwersytet Wrocławski Poland
Astronomical Institute of the Slovak Academy of Sciences Slovakia
Centre Internacional de Mètodes Numèrics en Enginyeria Spain
Instituto de Astrofísica de Andalucía Spain 
Fundación TECNALIA Research & Innovation Spain 
Stockholms Universitet Sweden
Istituto Ricerche Solari Locarno Switzerland
HANKOM Engineering The Netherlands
Wageningen Universiteit  The Netherlands 
Queens University Belfast United Kingdom
University College London United Kingdom 
University of Birmingham United Kingdom 
Harvard Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics USA
National Solar Observatory USA

Additional information