Research at the AIP aims at understanding the complex interplay between the structure of matter, the geometry and strength of magnetic fields and their feedback. These topics are connected and focused by the "solar-stellar connection". Supercomputers are used for MHD simulations as well as large telescopes such as the LBT and the VLT and smaller robotic telescopes such as STELLA for high-resolution spectroscopy and spectral polarimetry. The main projects are STELLA and PEPSI, the solar telescope GREGOR and its Fabry-Perot interferometer GFPI, the "radio sun" with LOFAR, the imager of the STIX instrument for Solar Orbiter, the HIRES spectrograph for the ESO ELT (with polarimeter), as well as ground-based support for the ESA PLATO mission with the BMK10k project in Chile.
This relatively new field of research is also known as “Galactic Archaeology” or “Near-field Cosmology”. Theoretical studies further examine and link these different aspects of extragalactic research with high-resolution numerical simulations.
As astrophysical systems are very complex, the demands on the available computer hardware and software are extreme, and astrophysicists have always been amongst the power-users of national and international supercomputer centres.