INAF Osservatorio Astrofisico di Catania

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1 INAF Osservatorio Astrofisico di Catania Annual Report 2002 May

2 INAF - Osservatorio Astrofisico di Catania Cittá Universitaria Via Santa Sofia 78 I Catania (Ct) Phone / Fax URL Mario Girolamo Fracastoro Mountain Station Contrada Serra la Nave (Mt. Etna) Ragalna (Ct) Altitude: 1725 m; Longitude: +14 o 58.4 ; Latitude +37 o 41.5 Phone Edited by A.F. Lanza and G. Leto Printed: May Cover: Catania Astrophysical Observatory main building

3 Contents Foreword Osservatorio Astrofisico di Catania: Staff directory 2002 xi xiii 1 Report OACt 2002 Summary/Highlight 1 2 Research Solar Physics Systematic patrol of photospheric and chromospheric activity Solar wind and coronal mass ejections Spectroscopic diagnostic and modelling of coronal structures Highly energetic transient events in the solar atmosphere Emergence and evolution of solar active regions Sunspots rotation Internal structure and dynamics Dynamo theory of solar activity The 3 rd Italian Solar Research Meeting Stellar physics Magnetic activity and variability Structure and modelling of the stellar chromospheres and coronae Magnetic structures in the photospheres, chromospheres and coronae of single stars and close binary systems Systematic observations and activity cycles Orbital period modulation and magnetic activity cycle in close binaries Evolution of stellar magnetic activity and related phenomena Dynamo theory of stellar magnetic activity Space projects to study stellar activity and variability Stellar oscillations and asteroseismology Asteroseismology of hot subdwarf stars Orbital period modulation and oscillation in magnetically active close binaries Chemical composition studies and chemically peculiar stars Extremely metal-poor stars Chemically peculiar stars Spectral variability in chemically peculiar stars iii

4 iv CONTENTS Measurement of magnetic fields in chemically peculiar stars Formation and evolution of stars Hot stars in Local Group galaxies Stellar Populations studies using HST Star formation in the bulge of M Searches for brown dwarfs The radio emission of β Lyrae Nuclear Astrophysics Accretion disk models Determination of the physical parameters of close binaries Search for extra-solar planets Extra-galactic Astrophysics and Cosmology Cosmology: Galaxy Formation Cosmology: Universe models Extra-galactic astrophysics: U B V photometry of BL Lac objects, Gamma Ray burts observation Laboratory of experimental astrophysics and Solar System physics Background Experimental facilities The Vacuum Chamber The Ion Implanter Upgrade of the ion implanter The UV lamp Infrared Spectroscopy Raman Spectroscopy Results Comparison of ion irradiation and UV photolysis of ices Ion irradiation of frozen hydrocarbons C 60 Fullerene Nitrogen condensation on water ice Asteroids photometry Future studies Catania Observatory Laboratory for Detectors (COLD) CCD controller update CCD controller for TNG New technology detectors CVD Diamonds detectors Intensified Active Pixel Sensor (IAPS) SPAD detector Collaboration with Industries Support for CCD Cameras and control systems The CCD camera for the Schmidt telescope at Serra La Nave Support to solar and stellar observations Support to the Schmidt Telescope at Cima Ekar International project collaboration Computational technologies for astrophysics

5 CONTENTS v Introduction FLY: a parallel tree-code for cosmological N-Body simulations Scientific Visualization Grid Computing Conclusion Projects and Collaborations Space projects National and international projects Staff involved in projects Collaborations Facilities and Services Buildings Training and courses attended by the staff members Acquisition of new instrumentation and facilities Library Computing Center and local network Opto-mechanical workshop and telescopes automation Telescope automation Opto-mechanical laboratory CCD image acquisition Photometric data acquisition and reduction The Mario G. Fracastoro station on Mt. Etna Solar observation facilities Out-reach and Education Out-reach Office Public conferences Visits to the Observatory Special events Advanced course on detector technology University Courses and high level Educational Activity Ph.D. Students Staff members Staff on 31 December List of Publications Papers on refereed Journals In press Invited talks In press Contributed papers to international meetings In press Electronic publications, short articles, technical reports A Sommario del bilancio OACt

6 vi CONTENTS

7 List of Tables 1 Catania Astrophysical Observatory, /phone directory xvi 2.1 Stellar physics: Parameters obtained from analytical solutions APT80/1 target stars Projects and collaboration: Projetcs titles Projetcs and collaboration: OACt researchers Projects MG Fracastoro station: Telescopes activity A.1 Entrate (in keu) A.2 Spese (KEU) vii

8 viii LIST OF TABLES

9 List of Figures 2.1 Solar Physics: EIT images of CME (November ) Solar Physics: Average loop density Solar Physics: Adiabatic exponent Γ Solar Physics: Vulcano Meeting poster Stellar physics: HR 1099 flaring, observed line profiles Stellar physics: HR 1099 V-band and spot model Stellar physics: VY Ari effective temperature as a function of rotational phase Stellar physics: VY Ari, solutions for the temperature and light curve amplitudes Stellar physics: HK Lac, longitude shifts between spots and plages Stellar physics: BY Dra, V-band photometry Stellar physics: V711 Tau, V-band photometry Stellar physics: RT Lac, total spot area Stellar physics: DX Leo, time sequence of V-band magnitudes Stellar physics: EK Dra, time sequence of V-band magnitudes Stellar physics: V-band cycles on EK Dra, Q Hya, AB Dor and the Sun Stellar oscillations and asteroseismology: η Bootis evolutionary tracks Stellar oscillations and asteroseismology: Observed and computed frequencies for η Boo Stellar oscillations and asteroseismology: The variation of the splitting coefficients a 1 for three p-modes Chemical composition studies: HD , comparison between theoretical and observed spectra in the FUV range Å Chemical composition studies: HD , comparison between theoretical and observed spectra in the FUV range Å Chemical composition studies: HD , comparison between theoretical and observed spectra in the IUE range Chemical composition studies: HD , comparison between theoretical and observed spectra in the visual range Chemical composition studies: Helium lines observed in the visible spectrum of HD Chemical composition studies: Equivalent width variations of HD versus phase Chemical composition studies: Equivalent width variations of HD Chemical composition studies: Behavior of equivalent width versus effective temperature for our sample of CP stars ix

10 x LIST OF FIGURES 2.27 Chemical composition studies: Simultaneous fit of the composite Hβ of HD Formation and evolution of stars: Normalized spectra of stars observed in M Formation and evolution of stars: HR diagram for the 13,098 stars detected in the control field for SN1987A Stellar physics: RT Lacertae, systemic RV Extra-solar planets: The radial velocity of HD b Extra-solar planets: The TSI variation with superposed the central transit of an Earth-like planet Cosmology: Galaxy structure simulation Astrophisycs Laboratory: Apparatus Astrophisycs Laboratory: Possible experiments Astrophisycs Laboratory: Upgraded implanter Astrophisycs Laboratory: Irradiated CH Detectors lab: Large area diamond device Q.E Detectors lab: CMOS-APS photon counting system Detectors lab: SPAD devices Q.E Detectors lab: Response of near UV multilayers filters for UVISS Computational tech.: IBM SP Computational tech.: Main FLY window Computational tech.: The main GUI of AstroMD Computational tech.: Formation of clusters of galaxies simulation Computational tech.: LCDM model simulation at z= Computational tech.: LCDM model Correlation Function Computational tech.: Minkowski Functionals of a LCDM simulation Computational tech.: The Astrocomp Portal Library: Solar spot drawing (Secchi 1875) Library: Solar eclipse (Tacchini 1888) Solar facilities: The equatorial spar Solar facilities: Hα a image of the Sun

11 Foreword Premessa Lo scopo di questo rapporto è di presentare i risultati dell attività dell Osservatorio Astrofisico di Catania nel corso dell anno solare 2002 sul piano scientifico, tecnologico e di promozione culturale e scientifica nella scuola e nella società. Esso offre inoltre un utile strumento di documentazione rivolto alle istituzioni, locali e nazionali, che nell anno 2002 hanno in vario modo sostenuto le attività dell Osservatorio o hanno avuto rapporti con esso, alle quali va il più vivo ringraziamento. L Osservatorio Astrofisico di Catania (OACt) fa parte della rete di dodici Osservatori dell Istituto Nazionale di Astrofisica e dispone di due sedi. La principale è ubicata all interno della Cittadella Universitaria, e comprende gli uffici, i Laboratori di ricerca, le officine ottico-meccaniche, e il telescopio per le osservazioni solari. La seconda sede, intitolata a Mario Girolamo Fracastoro, é collocata in località Serra La Nave sul versante sud-est dell Etna a quota 1750 m s.l.m. Essa è la sede osservativa dotata di quattro telescopi ed una foresteria. L Osservatorio opera in stretta collaborazione con la sezione Astrofisica del Dipartimento di Fisica e Astronomia dell Università di Catania, che ha sede nel suo stesso edificio. Ivi si svolgono le attività di insegnamento, i corsi per il Dottorato di Ricerca, le attività connesse ai laboratori didattici, e le conferenze. Foreword The aim of this report is to present the main results achieved by Catania Astrophysical Observatory during 2002, in research, technological development, and dissemination of the scientific culture in the schools and the society. It offers a detailed documentation on all of the Observatory s activities and facilities and it is addressed, among others, to the Institutions that have supported the Observatory during 2002, which are deeply acknowledged. The Catania Astrophysical Observatory (OACt) is one of the twelve Observatories of the network of the Istituto Nazionale di Astrofisica and it has two separate seats. The main center is seat inside the Catania University Campus, where research offices, library, laboratories, opto-mechanic workshops, and the solar observing station are located. The second one, dedicated to Mario Girolamo Fracastoro, is a mountain observing station on the south-west side of Mt. Etna at 1750 m a.s.l., where four telescopes and a guesthouse are located. The Catania Astrophysical Observatory strictly co-operates with the Astrophysical xi

12 xii FOREWORD Section of the Physics and Astronomy Department of the Catania University, hosted in the same building of the Observatory. There university and Ph.D. courses are usually held together with the training laboratory activities for the students and public conferences. Prof. Santo Catalano (Director)

13 Osservatorio Astrofisico di Catania: Staff directory 2002 Director Catalano Santo Board Belvedere G., Cutispoto G., Del Popolo S., Frasca A., Miraglia M., Pagano I., Strazzulla G., Rapisarda M.L., Scuderi S. Catania Astrophysical Observatory, /phone directory Name Position phon ANTONUCCIO Vincenzo Research Astronomer van 318 BARATTA Giuseppe Associate Astronomer gbaratta 313, 265 BECCIANI Ugo Research Astronomer ube 317 BELLASSAI Giancarlo Technical Staff gbellassai 303 BELLUSO Massimiliano Technical Staff mbelluso 279 BONANNO Alfio Research Astronomer abo 319 BONANNO Giovanni Full Astronomer gbonanno 204, 254 BRUNO Pietro Technical Staff pbruno 205 BUSÀ Enza Research Astronomer ebu 261 CALÌ Antonio Technical Staff acali 205 CALÌ Maddalena Technical Staff 248 CARBONARO Giuseppe Technical Staff gcarbonaro 201, 203 CARIPOLI Giuseppe Library gcaripoli 210 CARUSO Maria Rita MGF* site Staff CASTORINA Giovanni Technical Staff 208, 209 continued on next page xiii

14 xiv OSSERVATORIO ASTROFISICO DI CATANIA: STAFF DIRECTORY 2002 continued from previous page Name Position phon CATALANO Santo Full Astronomer scat 219,222 CATANZARO Giovanni Research Astronomer gca 332 CATINOTO Enrico Technical Staff ecatinoto 232, 253 CORSARO Gaetano MGF* site Staff scor COSENTINO Rosario Research Astronomer rco 260, 259 COSTA Alessandro Computer Center alex.costa 273 COSTA Pierfrancesco Administrative Staff pcosta 264 CUTISPOTO Giuseppe Associate Astronomer gcutispoto 312 DEL POPOLO Santa Administrative Staff sdelpopolo 226 segreteria 226 DI BENEDETTO Rosario Technical Staff sdibenedetto 205 DI MAURO Maria Pia Research Astronomer mdm 207 DISTEFANO Antonio Technical Staff adistefano 200 DOMINA Daniela Library ddomina 268 FRASCA Antonio Research Astronomer afrasca 240 GENTILE Giovanni Technical Staff ggentile 201, 203 GIUFFRIDA Alfio Computer Center agiuffrida 257, 218 GRECO Vincenzo Technical Staff vgreco 200 LAMPÒ Rocco Technical Staff rlampo 300 LANZA Antonino F. Research Astronomer nlanza 238 LANZAFAME Giuseppe Research Astronomer glanzafame 316 LEONE Franco Research Astronomer fleone 229 LETO Giuseppe Research Astronomer gle 311, 265 LO PRESTI Carmelo Administrative Staff clopresti 215 MAGAZZÙ Antonio Research Astronomer antonio MANGANO Angela Library amangano 248 library 248 MARILLI Ettore Associate Astronomer emarilli 246 MARTINETTI Eugenio Technical Staff emartin 304 MASSIMINO Piero Computer Center pmassimino 216 MELLINI Maria Administrative Staff amministr 225 MESSINA Sergio Research Astronomer sme 230, 305 MICCICHÈ Antonio MGF* site Staff MIRAGLIA Massimo Technical Staff mmiraglia 256, 203 OCCHIPINTI Giovanni MGF* site Staff PAGANO Isabella Research Astronomer ipagano 243 PALUMBO M.Elisabetta Research Astronomer mepalumbo 242, 265 PULEO Giuseppe Technical Staff mpuleo 201, 203 RAPISARDA Maria Luisa Administrative Staff mlrapisarda 224 amministr 224 RECUPERO Daniela Library drecupero 247 ROMANIA Valentina Administrative Staff vromania 262 continued on next page

15 continued from previous page Name Position phon SACCONE Rosaria Administrative Staff 227 SANTAGATI Luigia Library gsantagati 269 SANTOCONO Orazio Technical Staff 208, 209 SARDONE Stefano Administrative Staff ssardone 306 SCAFILI Marcella Administrative Staff mscafili 263 SCIUTO Santo Technical Staff ssciuto 232, 233 SCUDERI Cosimo MGF* site Staff SCUDERI Salvo Research Astronomer sscuderi 255 SPADARO Daniele Research Astronomer dspadaro 234 SPINELLA Franco Technical Staff fspinella 314, 265 STRAZZULLA Giovanni Full Astronomer gianni 315, 265 TERNULLO Maurizio Research Astronomer mternullo 231 TIMPANARO M.Cristina Technical Staff mctimpanaro 205 TRINGALE Gaetana Administrative Staff segreteria 228, 226 VENTIMIGLIA Agata Technical Staff 208, 209 VENTURA Rita Research Astronomer rventura 258 WANAUSEK Antonino Technical Staff awanausek 302 ZINGALE Giuseppe Technical Staff 209, 208 xv Department of Physics and Astronomy-University of Catania Astrophysics section Director BELVEDERE Gaetano BELVEDERE Gaetano Associate Professor gbelvedere 236 ANASTASI Clelia Administrative Staff canastasi 211 BLANCO Carlo Associate Professor cblanco 245 CATALANO Franco Associate Professor fcatalano 221 LANZAFAME Alessandro Researcher acl 239 MARINO Eliana Administrative Staff 210 PATERNÒ Lucio Full Professor lpaterno 235 RODONÒ Marcello Full Professor mrodono 220 SPAMPINATO Cinzia Administrative Staff 214 ZAPPALÀ Aldo Associate Professor razappala 241 ZUCCARELLO Francesca Associate Professor fzucca 237 Ph.D. Students and Fellows BIAZZO Katia Fellowship kbi BENTIVEGNA Eloisa Fellowship CONTARINO Lidia Ph. D. Student lcont 330 continued on next page

16 xvi OSSERVATORIO ASTROFISICO DI CATANIA: STAFF DIRECTORY 2002 continued from previous page Name Position phon COSTA Vincenzo Post Doc Fellowship vcosta 325 DI GIORGIO Salvatore Ph. D. Student DI STEFANO Carla Ph. D. Student cdi Di STEFANO Elisa Fellowship FERINI Graziella Fellowship FERRO Daniela Fellowship dfe LECCIA Silvio Ph. D. Student MURABITO Annalisa Ph. D. Student amu 328 PALAZZO Giusimelissa Ph. D. Student gpal PIZZONE Gianluca Ph. D. Student 327 ROMANO Paolo Ph. D. Student prom 329 ROMEO Alessio Ph. D. Student VENTURA Marianna Ph. D. Student mve Table 1: Catania Astrophysical Observatory, /phone directory * MGF: Mario Girolamo Fracastoro

17 Chapter 1 Report OACt 2002 Summary/Highlight Introduzione al rapporto dell OACt per l anno 2002 Il 2002 ha segnato una svolta nella struttura organizzativa e amministrativa dell Osservatorio Astrofisico di Catania, che con gli altri Osservatori italiani è entrato a far parte dell Istituto Nazionale di Astrofisica come struttura a tempo indeterminato. A decorre dall 1 Gennaio 2002 lo scrivente è stato nominato direttore dell OAC per il triennio In questo nuovo quadro normativo è stato costituito il Consiglio di Osservatorio chiamando a farne parte, in aggiunta ai membri di diritto, il responsabile della Sezione di Astrofisica del Dipartimento di Fisica ed Astronomia dell Università di Catania a continuazione della stretta collaborazione tra l Osservatorio e l Università di Catania. Le attività dell anno 2002 sono state fortemente condizionate dai lavori di ristrutturazione e recupero dell edificio principale della sede di Catania, effettuati a cura dell Università di Catania. Le operazioni di spostamento e la sistemazione temporanea in locali insufficienti, legati a tali lavori di ristrutturazione, hanno costretto i ricercatori ed il personale tutto a lavorare in condizioni di estremo disagio, per tutta la seconda parte dell anno. Tuttavia le attività scientifiche sono proseguite con elevato standard ed il personale tutto ha svolto i propri compiti con serietà e piena coscienza del senso dell istituzione. L Osservatorio di Catania con le stazioni eliofisica e dell Etna (Serra La Nave) rimane uno dei pochi osservatori in Italia in cui l attività osservativa locale prosegue ad alti livelli di continuità e di qualità con inserimento in programmi nazionali ed internazionali. All attività osservativa si affianca una intensa attività di ricerca nel campo della fisica stellare e solare di riconosciuta valenza nazionale ed internazionale. Presso l Osservatorio operano inoltre il laboratorio di astrofisica sperimentale, il laboratorio dei rivelatori per l astrofisica e il laboratorio di calcolo ad alte prestazioni. L attività di ricerca svolta nel 2002 si puó suddividere a grandi linee in: Fisica solare. Le ricerche di fisica solare si sviluppano su linee di tipo osservativo, che utilizzano facilities internazionali da terra e dallo spazio, e di tipo teorico. Esse comprendono studi di fisica della corona solare, modelli idrodinamici e di riscaldamento del complesso cromosfera-tr-corona, modelli dinamo con circolazione meridiana, eliosismologia e struttura interna. Un aspetto rilevante delle osservazioni sistematiche del Sole è dato dall inserimento nel Global Hα Network organizzato dal Big Bear Solar Observatory e 1

18 2 CHAPTER 1. REPORT OACT 2002 SUMMARY/HIGHLIGHT nel programma di ricerca sullo Space Weather attraverso campagne di Flare Warning. Fisica stellare. Gli studi di fisica stellare presso l Osservatorio Astrofisico di Catania costituiscono il programma di ricerca più corposo ed articolato, con una parte prevalente dedicata all attività magnetica stellare in stelle singole e doppie, dalla fotosfera alla corona con osservazioni e modelli; oscillazioni stellari e problematiche di struttura stellare con attività teorica ed osservativa; composizione chimica e stelle chimicamente peculiari; problemi osservativi di formazione ed evoluzione stellare; processi nucleari di interesse astrofisico. Ammassi di galassie, cosmologia. Si tratta di un gruppo di piccole dimensioni che si occupa di modellizzazione del plasma intergalattico e dei processi di riscaldamento di Ammassi di Galassie mediante codici paralleli a N-corpi e codici euleriani a griglia adattiva, modelli di generazione e propagazione di raggi cosmici di energie estreme in strutture a Grande Scala dell Universo. Laboratorio di Astrofisica Sperimentale. Le ricerche si riferiscono alle interazioni tra radiazione e materia in ambienti di interesse astrofisico, con sperimentazione delle modificazioni chimico-fisiche di bersagli solidi (silicati, materiali carboniosi, gas congelati) bombardati con fasci ionici energetici (3-200 kev) o con fotoni ultravioletti (Lymanalpha nm, ovvero 10.2 ev). Nel 2002 è stato effettuato l upgrading a 200 kev dell impiantatore di ioni, che aprirà nuove ed importanti prospettive sperimentali a valori di energie ancora inesplorati. Laboratorio rivelatori per l Astronomia. L attività dal gruppo di ricerca sui rivelatori si articola in due aspetti principali: sviluppo di elettronica e software di controllo di rivelatori CCD, sviluppo e caratterizzazione di rivelatori di nuova generazione. In questo ultimo contesto sono da evidenziare lo sviluppo di rivelatore a conteggio di fotoni basato su Intensified CMOS-APS (IAPS), sviluppo di un sensore a matrice di Single photon avalanche diodes (SPAD) in collaborazione con ST Microelectronics, di Catania, caratterizzazione di un rivelatore a diamante sintetico in collaborazione con il Dipartimento di Astronomia e Scienza dello Spazio dell Università di Firenze ed altri istituti italiani. Il gruppo è fortemente impegnato nell upgrade dei sistemi di acquisizione di immagini del TNG, e dei telescopi dell OAC. Calcolo ad alte prestazioni e visualizzazione scientifica (HPC). Il sistema di calcolo parallelo, realizzato tramite il progetto Alta formazione nel campo del calcolo ad alte prestazioni e problematiche astrofisiche attuali del MURST su finanziamenti dell Unione Europea, ha ricevuto nel 2002 un ulteriore finanziamento per l upgrading delle macchina di calcolo. Oltre allo sviluppo di codici paralleli nel campo della simulazione dell evoluzione delle galassie il programma prevede lo sviluppo di pacchetti di visualizzazione ed analisi specificamente orientati a dati di simulazioni e di archivio (AstroMD), calcolo e simulazioni su griglia computazionale (GRID) con gestione remota di simulazioni (AstroComp), orientati verso il Virtual Observatory L attività dell Osservatorio nel campo dell alta formazione anche nel 2002 ha trovato un notevole impegno, anche finanziario con il pagamento di una borsa di studio per il XIII Ciclo di Dottorato di Ricerca in convenzione con l Università di Catania e la partecipazione come Socio Ordinario al Consorzio dell Istituto Superiore di Catania per la Formazione di Eccellenza, con la collaborazione con il Dipartimento di Fisica ed Astronomia nella didattica universitaria (parte di corsi, supporto ai corsi di laboratorio, esperienze di osservazioni astronomiche) e di dottorato. Astronomi dell Osservatorio sono relatori di tesi di Laurea e tutor di tesi di Dottorato. Anche nel 2002 è stato effettuato

19 presso la sede M. G. Fracastoro uno stage di una settimana per gli studenti di fisica ed ingegneria della Scuola di Eccellenza di Catania. Questo documento descrive le attività di ricerca e lo sviluppo dell Osservatorio Astrofisico di Catania svolte nel Considerata la stretta collaborazione con la Sezione Astrofisica del Dipartimento di Fisica ed Astronomia in questo documento vengono descritte anche le attività di tale gruppo in una presentazione unitaria come risultato delle sinergie proficue della integrazione delle due istituzioni nella stessa struttura. 3 OACt 2002 report summary/highlight The year 2002 has been characterized by profound changes in the administrative and organization structure of the Catania Astrophysical Observatory, which from January 1st 2003, together with the other italian Observatories joined the National Institute for Astrophysics (INAF). Starting from the same date the writer was appointed as Director for the triennium In the framework of this new assessment the Observatory Board (Consiglio di Osservatorio) was settled with the Chairman of the Astrophysics Section of the Department of Physics and Astronomy of the Catania University appointed as additional member, in order to maintain the close collaboration and synergy between the two institutions. All activities in 2002 have been strongly hampered by renewal construction of the main building of the Città Universitaria center. The work has been funded and handled by the Catania University. The empting operation of the building and temporary settling on inadequate crowded offices have compelled researchers and all personnel to work in a very comfortless condition, during the second part of the year. However, research activities have been continued at high scientific level and all the personnel has performed at high efficiency level and awareness of duty. The Catania Observatory with the eliophysics station and the mountain station on Etna (Serra La Nave) remains one of the few italian astronomical institutions where observational activities are pursued with continuity and high quality level, within national and international collaborations. The observational activities are complemented by theoretical and data analysis researches in the fields on solar and stellar physics well recognized in the national and international context. The Catania Observatory includes also well equipped laboratories e.g. the Laboratory for Experimental Astrophysics, the Laboratory of Detectors for Astronomy and the High Performance Computing Laboratory. Research activities pursued in 2002 can be grouped within the following main fields: Solar Physics. Research on solar physics includes observations based activities, which use international ground-based and space facilities, and theoretical researches. All these researches relate to physical studies of the solar corona, hydrodynamic models, heating mechanisms of the chromosphere-transition Region complex, dynamo models which include meridian circulation, elioseismology and internal structure of the Sun. A relevant aspect of the systematic solar monitoring is the participation into the Global Hα Network coordinated by the Big Bear Solar Observatory and into the Space Weather program through Flare Warning campaigns. Stellar Physics. Studies on stellar physics constitute the main body of research at Catania Astrophysical Observatory. The more relevant part relates to the magnetic

20 4 CHAPTER 1. REPORT OACT 2002 SUMMARY/HIGHLIGHT activity studies on single and binary stars, from the photosphere to the corona from observational and theoretical point of view. Stellar oscillations and internal structure of stars, chemical composition, chemically peculiar stars, as well as observational aspects of formation and evolution of stars with related problems of nuclear processes of astrophysical interest are also investigated. Clusters of galaxies and cosmology. This relatively small group recently formed is working in modelling the intergalactic plasma and on the heating processes of clusters of galaxies by means of N-body parallel, numerical codes and eulerian codes with adaptive grids, as well as on models for the generation and propagation of extremely energetic cosmic rays in large structures of the universe. Laboratory for Experimental Astrophysics. Researches in this lab refer to the experiments on the interaction of radiation with iced material in environment of astrophysical interest. Chemical and physical modifications induced on solid targets (silicate, carbon materials, and iced gas) by bombardment with energetic ion beams (3-200 kev) or UV photons (Lyman-α 121,6 nm = 10,2 ev). During the year 2002 the ion implanter was upgraded to 200 kev, thus opening a new window of experiments at energy levels not yet well explored. Laboratory of detectors for Astronomy. The activity of the research group is devoted to two main activities: development of control electronics and software for CCD detectors, implementation and characterization of new technology detectors. Within the latter activity it is worth to mention the preparation of photon counting imaging system based on Intensified CMOS-APS (IAPS), implementation of Single Photon Avalange Diodes (SPAD) matrix in collaboration with the Catania R&D section of the ST Microelectronics, and characterization of a detector based on synthetic diamond in collaboration with the Department of Astronomy and Science of Space of Florence University. Furthermore the group is deeply engaged in the improvement and upgrading of the image acquisition systems of the Galileo National Telescope (TNG) and of the Catania telescopes. High Performance Computation (HPC) and scientific visualization. The parallel computing system, implemented within the special project Alta formazione nel campo del calcolo ad alte prestazioni e problematiche astrofisiche attuali of the MURST on the base of EU funds, has received further support in 2002 for the upgrading of computing machines. In addition to parallel numerical codes in the field of galaxies simulation models, the program is devoted to the development of visualization packages specially oriented to archive and simulation data (AstroMD), computation and simulation on computational grid (GRID) with remote management (AstroComp) orinted to the Virtual Observatory Also in 2002 the Observatory has payed special attention to the field of high formation with financial support within a special agreement with the Catania University for a PhD in Physics fellowship for the XVIII cycle and the partnerhips in the Consorzio dell Istituto Superiore di Catania per la Formazione di Eccellenza. Collaboration with the Department of Physics and Astronomy of the Catania University for the academic activities, i.e delivery of university and PhD courses, use of observatory labs and telescopes for the experimental and practical exercises. Astronomers of the observatory are currently tutors for the Degree or PhD thesis work. One week stage at the M.G. Fracastoro mountain station was given for Physics and Engineer students of the Catania Excellence School. The present document is aimed to the description of research activity and development

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