Kiepenheuer Institute for Solar Physics

The Kiepenheuer Institute for Solar Physics (KIS) conducts experimental and theoretical investigations of physical processes on and within the Sun. Its headquarter is in Freiburg, Germany. The KIS operates the german solar telescopes at Teide Observatory on Tenerife (Spain) where most of the scientific observations are performed. KIS offers lectures on astronomy and astrophysics at Freiburg university and trains young scientists.

Picture of the Month

In early November 2017, the main frame for the Visible Tunable Filter (VTF) was installed at the large laboratory in the Jacob-Burckhardt-Straße 1 (JB1). All optical components of the VTF will be mounted to this complex structure. The steel frame extends over two floors, has an overall height of 5 meters and weighs about 2 tons. After the completion of the VTF in Freiburg, the instrument will be dismounted, packed up, and shipped to the Daniel K. Inouye Solar Telescope (DKIST) on the Hawaiian island of Maui.

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Franz-Ludwig Deubner passed away on 21 October 2017 in Freiburg. He had been a member of the Editorial Board of Solar Physics and President of IAU Commission 12 Solar Radiation & Structure. His accomplishments and many contributions to the field of solar physics are well remembered.


Franz was born on 2 June 1934 in Berlin, Germany. His father Alex was a physicist, his mother Louise (née Wegener) a pianist. After graduating from a “Humanistisches Gymnasium”, Franz studied physics and mathematics at the Technical University of Berlin (1953 – 1956) and the University of Freiburg (1956 – 1958), where he received his “Diplom” in 1958. He then joined the scientific staff at the Fraunhofer Institute in Freiburg (since 1978 called Kiepenheuer Institute), where he built a vector magnetograph for the institute’s Schauinsland observatory (1959 – 1960). In 1962 K.O. Kiepenheuer started the expansion of the institute’s Capri Station, for which Franz developed a new magnetograph. It was installed at the new domeless Coudé refractor in 1966. Franz had not only designed this architecturally remarkable telescope (together with his wife), he had also programmed the Siemens control computer of the telescope and magnetograph, a novelty in astronomy at that time. A key component of this magnetograph was the “Doppler-Kompensator”, an electro-mechanical control mechanism that kept the spectral line centered on a pair of photomultipliers, allowing a precise measurement of the linear and circular polarization of the line. The angle of the rotating glass plate of this device provided an excellent measure of the line’s Doppler shift, and Franz began to study the recently discovered solar oscillations in more detail. Franz received his PhD in January 1969, based on data obtained with this instrument.


Probably his most profound contribution to the field of solar physics was his seminal 1975 paper (...

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