The Computational Fluid Dynamics Group brings together researchers from the INAF-Osservatorio Astronomico di Palermo (INAF/OAPa) and from the Physics Department of the University of Palermo to perform theoretical and numerical studies in different fields of Astrophysics. This includes both the development of new numerical codes and modules and the application of existing simulation tools and software packages.

For several years the OAPa has been committed to High Performance Computing (HPC) programs aimed to develop plasma models in astrophysical environments. Throughout the years, the OAPa researchers have gained a sound experience and the skills necessary to optimize magnetohydrodynamic (MHD) and hydrodynamic codes for efficient execution on high performance parallel computing systems, and to develop and apply numerical models to the study of astrophysical plasma, such as that present in the solar and stellar coronae, young stellar objects, novae, and supernova remnants.

The OAPa researchers have taken part in the development and optimization of multi-dimensional MHD and hydrodynamic numerical codes, which include several important physical effects in astrophysics, such as thermal conduction, gravity, viscosity, radiative losses from optically thin plasma, non-equilibrium of ionization. The OAPa group has also a long-term experience in analyzing and interpreting the model results in terms of observable quantities and it has an excellent experience on multi-wavelength data analysis and interpretation.

The OAPa cooperates with the Flash Centre of the University of Chicago, USA, with the purpose of updating, enlarging and extensively applying the FLASH code, a complex MHD numerical code for astrophysical plasmas (for more information follow this link). Some important numerical modules now integrated in the FLASH code have been developed in Palermo. The OAPa group also extensively applies PLUTO, a modular Godunov-type MHD code for astrophysical plasmas.

Main Research Lines

  • Dynamics of magnetic structures in the solar corona;
  • Physics of accretion phenomena in young stellar objects;
  • Evolution of protostellar jets and origin of their X-ray emission;
  • Evolution of nova outbursts;
  • Interaction of supernova remnants with the surrounding environment;
  • Effects of cosmic ray particle acceleration on the evolution of supernova remnants.

    HPC facilities used for our studies

  • CINECA (Bologna, Italy)
  • BSC (Barcelona, Spain)
  • CINES (Montpellier, France)
  • SCAN (INAF-OAPA; Palermo, Italy)
  • COMETA (Catania, Italy).


    Salvatore Orlando

    E-mail orlando AT astropa.inaf.it
    Telephone +39 091 233 423