The group ASAP - Arcetri Space & Astrophysical Plasmas - of the Dipartimento di Fisica e Astronomia, Università degli Studi di Firenze, investigates the physical plasma processes which are fundamental for several phaenomena observed in space and astrophysical sources.
Almost the totality of (visible) matter in the Universe is in the state of a plasma, that is partially or completely ionized gas where the average density of free charges is such that collective electromagnetic interactions prevail on the large scales over collisions of the single particles. Examples of matter in the plasma state are several: from the interiors and atmospheres of stars, to the interstellar or intergalactic medium, including nebulae such as supernova remnants or HII regions; from outflows and jets from protostars and galactic nuclei, to accretion disks around compact objects. In all these cases, the electric currents and the self-generated or external magnetic fields play a fundamental role and often the structure itself of the source is shaped by the magnetic fields present. A spectacular example of the interaction between hot gas and magnetic fields is certainly the solar corona, as can be seen in the image by the TRACE satellite, chosen as logo of our group.