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University of Catania (UNICT)

The Solar Physics Group at the University of Catania is involved in research projetcs regarding the following topics:

  • Active region formation and evolution
  • Flares, filament eruptions and CMEs: energy storage, triggering and forecasting
  • European Solar Telescope (EST): design and realization of the largest (4-m) European solar telescope

A deepened knowledge of the physical processes causing the formation of active regions on the Sun and the triggering, in such regions, of eruptive phenomena, is of paramount relevance not only because of its intrinsic scientific value, but also because this would allow us to be able to forecast phenomena playing a role in the Earth environment (Space Weather).
In this context, the study of the configuration and distribution of the magnetic field in the solar atmosphere during the active regions evolution allows us to obtain information on the origin, emergence and interaction of magnetic flux tubes, with significant implications for the understanding of phenomena at the base of the solar dynamo and solar activity variability.

Our study is based on the analysis of high temporal and angular resolution ground-based data (IBIS@DST, ROSA@DST, SST, THEMIS, BBSO), acquired in the visible range of the electromagnetic spectrum, and satellite data (AIA/SDO, HMI/SDO, IRIS, SOHO, TRACE, YOHKOH, RHESSI, STEREO) in the UV, EUV and X-ray range.



eheroes-logoe-HEROES is an FP7 project, with the following goals:

  1. Zero-in on the physics of all aspects of space weather, on the relevant data sources and on the design of mathematical models that can address them.
  2. Develop specific models to forecast space weather activity.
  3. Investigate the effects of space weather on space exploration, focusing on the robotic and human missions of exploration.




fchroma_banner_0 F-CHROMA is an FP7 project that focusses on space-based and ground-based multi-mode, multi-wavelength study of solar flares. Solar flares are the most intense energy release events in the solar system, and – via their intense high energy radiation bursts and associated coronal mass ejections – a driving feature of space weather. Though solar flares have dramatic coronal manifestations, the bulk of the flare radiation comes from the denser lower atmosphere – or  chromosphere. This is the main location of flare energy dissipation and radiation, and the radiation can be analysed to provide many diagnostics of the energisation process.

PRIN 2012 : The Active Sun and its Effects on Space and Earth Climate, is a project funded by the Italian MIUR which, in fully compliance with the primary objectives of Horizon 2020, will address some of the main issues concerning the nature of the variability of solar activity, including the effects on Space Weather and Earth’s climate through the analysis of data obtained from ground-based and space observatories, through the construction of theoretical models, and through direct numerical simulations of the basic physical processes.

solarnet-300x75SOLARNET is an FP7 project funded by the EC, that brings together and integrates the major European research infrastructures in the field of high-resolution solar physics, in order to promote their coordinated use and development. This network involves all pertinent European research institutions, infrastructures, and data repositories. Networking activities, access to first-class infrastructures and joint research and development activities will be covered under SOLARNET to improve, in quantity and quality, the service provided by this European community.

PRE-EST is an H2020 project finalized to carry on the Preparatory Phase of the European Solar Telescope in order to provide both the EST international consortium and the funding agencies with a detailed plan regarding the legal framework and the governance schemes that can be used by agencies to jointly establish, construct and operate EST as a new research infrastructure.

COST Actions:

  • COST Action 724: Developing the scientific basis for monitoring, modelling and predicting Space Weather
  • COST Action ES0803: Developing Space Weather products and services in Europe.


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Contact person: Francesca Zuccarello