The research activity of the Institute of Theoretical Astrophysics of the University of Oslo is concentrated around solar physics and cosmology. It presently has 13 permanent professors, 10 postdoctoral fellows and 15 PhD students. The solar physics group constitutes the Rosseland Centre for Solar Physics, a centre of excellence funded by the Research Council of Norway for ten years from November 2017. Through this funding, the group will expand significantly.
The solar physics group participates heavily in the Hinode and IRIS space borne solar observatories and contracted access to 42 observing days per year at the Swedish 1-m Solar Telescope is utilized vigorously. Through these missions and the SST, there is a strong observational focus on very high resolution, both in space and time. A very strong activity has been built up within numerical modelling of astrophysical plasmas and radiation fields, with main application to heating of the solar chromosphere and corona. On the simulation side, the focus is on what is often called “realistic simulations” where the goal is to include enough of the relevant physics that direct comparisons between synthetic observables and simulations give information on the physical conditions of the plasma. Simulations are not only used for the interpretation of observations but also for preparing observing proposals and even missions. Such use of our simulations plays an integral part of the IRIS mission. The institute is the host of the Hinode Science Data Centre Europe with data from the Hinode and IRIS satellites and have a long tradition in providing virtual access to solar data, in work for defining standardised meta-data to enhance use of the data and in implementing efficient search methods.
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