The research group Space Physics and Space Sensorics deals with the investigation of physical processes in the solar wind, especially concerning the interaction between solar wind plasma and "planetary bodies" like planets, their satellites, asteroids and comets.
The Earth's magnetosphere is the classical example for an interaction region between the solar wind and a planet. Magnetospheres are characterised by a variety of dynamic processes and spacial structures.
A visible example for a magnetosphere in the larger sense is the plasma tail of a comet, e. g. the Halley's Comet.
The physical processes are dominated by plasma physical processes, which are investigated by the research group with theoretical as well as with experimental approach using modern procedures of data and signal analysis.
The specific properties of the interaction mainly depend on the nature of the planetary body. At the planets Saturn, Jupiter, Earth and Mercury the planetary magnetic field is the actual obstacle the solar wind has to flow around. As interactions of the magnetospheric magnetic field and the dynamo inside the body are possible the research group is also interested in questions concerning the dynamo theory. In the case of Mercury, for example, the weak magnetic field can be explained by a negative feedback between the magnetospheric and planetary magnetic field.
On experimental side the development, building and system integration of magnetometers on different space missions (Rosetta, THEMIS/ARTHEMIS, BepiColombo, Hayabusa-MASCOT, JUICE) play an important role for the research group. In the centre of interest lies the so called fluxgate magnetometer, which is used on every of the mentioned missions.
The research group also runs the internationally very renowned calibration lab Magnetsrode.
Important international collaborations are maintained with the Max Planck Institute for Solar System Research in Göttingen, the Imperial CollegeLondon, the The Space Research Institute in Graz, the University of Berkeley, the Institute of Space and Astronautical Science in Tokyo, and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology in Boston. The space missions of the research group are realised in cooperation with DLR, ESA, NASA and JAXA and are supported by the DLR, Bonn.