Institute in General SlovenskySlovensky

Astronomical Institute Description

Astronomical Institute of Slovak Academy of Sciences consists of these 3 scientific departments:

Solar physics

Observational facilities:
Stara Lesna Observatory - horizontal solar spectrograph (d = 50 cm), photospheric and chromospheric refractors
Lomnicky Peak Coronal Station - double 20 cm coronagraph (f = 4 m) with a spectrograph.

The research is focused mainly on the magnetism, dynamics and variability of solar atmosphere. The quiet solar atmosphere is studied on the basis of observations of emission lines. Rotational characteristics of sunspots and surrounding photospheric plasma have been derived. Tenerife VTT observations have been used for an investigation of the dynamics of chromosphere and photosphere. In the recent decade a connection between cosmic ray modulation and solar LDE flares and also coronal mass ejections were investigated. Satellite SUMER and SOHO data have been utilized. Magnetic fields in specific coronal structures have been derived using own eclipse observations. Coronal holes and their relation to the background and local magnetic fields and the relationship between polarization and intensity of the green line in different coronal structures are analyzed. A time-latitudinal distribution and large-scale development of solar prominences, both the 530.3 nm and 637.4 nm emission coronal lines and the white-light corona have been studied over solar cycles. A homogeneous coronal data set for the 530.3 nm coronal line has been prepared for the period 1939-2001. This data set is a base for the computation for the coronal index of solar activity, one of the principal indices for the study of solar activity in the visible part of the spectrum.

Interplanetary matter

Observational facilities:
Skalnate Pleso Observatory - 61 cm astrometric and photometric reflector with CCD camera, all sky fireball fish-eye cameras
Modra Observatory - receiver of forward scatter meteor radar.

The main topics of research are as follows: The 61 cm telescope at the Skalnate Pleso Observatory is used for CCD photometry and astrometry of asteroids and comets. Theoretical investigation Meteor head echoes from the Springhill high-power meteor radar are analyzed. The filamentary structure of selected meteor showers and study of the meteor sporadic background activity by the forward scatter radio system operating over the triangle Lecce-Bologna-Modra are identified. Ozone in the upper mesosphere is detected with ground based radio observations. The cosmic dust particles provided by NASA to determine their composition and physical properties have been reanalyzed. The results can be used for the study of their behaviour in planetary atmospheres and interplanetary space, especially their dynamics and reflection conditions and a better understanding of the disintegration processes. The fireball fish-eye cameras are operated within the framework of the European Fireball Network. Transfer orbits among different populations of small bodies in the Solar System regarding near-Earth objects are theoretically investigated.

The investigation of activity of selected cometary nuclei and their influence on the physical and dynamical evolution of these bodies, possible candidates on near-Earth objects and the evolution of a cometary nucleus and its activity at large heliocentric distances is carried out. The distribution of meteoroid particles in the inner Solar System is described. The structure and dynamics of meteoroid streams and evolution of their parent bodies are analyzed. The methods for separation of meteoroid streams from the sporadic background has been developed. A search for meteoroid streams of asteroidal origin has been performed. The meteoroid population in the vicinity of the Earth's orbit, including the mass distribution of particles in meteoroid streams and their background, the determination of the internal structure of streams, their aging and decay are investigated.

Stellar department

Observational facilities:
Skalnate Pleso Observatory - 60 cm photometric reflector,
Stara Lesna Observatory - 50 cm and 60 cm photometric reflectors.

The investigation of interactive binary and multiple systems, symbiotic stars and novae is focused on physical processes during phases of activity, studies of their origin, structure and evolution including the physical conditions in the circumstellar environment. Various manifestations both of regular and semi-regular variability have been detected photometrically and models explaining the behaviour of the system have been proposed. The IUE as well as the HST databases have been fruitfully used for the spectroscopy of interacting binaries, direct HST images were used to study of expanding envelopes of novae and symbiotic stars.

Spectroscopy has been the main method for investigation of problems of Ap/CP (chemically peculiar) star phenomena. Initially s detailed model-atmosphere analysis was utilized and later on up-to-date methods of computation of synthetic spectra to study chemical composition of the stars' surface layers were used. Stratification as well as surface distribution of concerned chemical elements was derived for several CP stars. Also the role of binarity for the origin and evolution of the CP-phenomenon has been studied, and some correlations of orbital and CP-parameters have been disclosed. The department shared in the designing of satellite programmes for stellar astrophysics in the frame of INTERCOSMOS. Now the HIPPARCOS and TYCHO databases are frequently used.

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