Shashikumar M. Chitre

Distinguished Professor

  • B.A. 1956, University of Bombay
  • B.A. 1959, University of Cambridge
  • M.A. 1963, University of Cambridge
  • Ph.D. 1963, University of Cambridge


  • Lecturer at University of Leeds (1963-1966)
  • Faculty at the Tata Institute of Fundamental Research (1967-2001)

UGC National Lecturer in Physics during 1975-76, visiting positions at Universities of Cambridge, Princeton, Sussex, Amsterdam, Columbia and Virginia, and a MaxPlanck Fellow at the MaxPlanck Institut fur Extraterrestrische Physik, Munich. Senior Research Associateships of the National Academy of Sciences, USA at Goddard Space Flight Centre, NASA. Perren Visiting Fellow and a Visiting Professor of Astronomy at Queen Mary and Westfield College of the University of London, during 1992-1993, 1994-1995 and 1997 and a Visiting Professor at the Physical Research Laboratory, Ahmedabad during 1999-2000. The Leverhulme Visiting Professor at Queen Mary College, University of London, 2001 & 2002 and a Visiting Astronomer at the Institute of Astronomy, Cambridge during the Easter terms of 2003-2005 & 2007. Raja Ramanna Fellow at the University of Mumbai during the period 2001-2006.

Also served as President of the Astronomical Society of India, Chairman of the Indian National Committee for Astronomy, Chairman of the Bombay Association for Science Education, a member of the Management Boards of the National Centre for Radio Astrophysics and the Homi Bhabha Centre for Science Education, a Council Member of the Indian Academy of Sciences Bangalore, the Indian National Science Academy, New Delhi and the National Academy of Sciences, Allahabad, India.

Fellow of the following professional societies:

  • Indian Academy of Sciences
  • Indian National Science Academy
  • National Academy of Sciences, India
  • Third World Academy of Sciences
  • Maharashtra Academy of Sciences
  • Royal Astronomical Society
  • International Astronomical Union

Current position:

  • Academic Chairperson and Emeritus Professor, CBS, and INSA Honorary Scientist at the University of Mumbai.

My research interests are broadly in the area of Solar Physics, Physics and Astrophysics of Collapsed Objects and Gravitational Lensing. Current focus is on the following areas.

Inconstant Sun:

The cyclic variation of Sun's magnetic activity manifests most strikingly through the appearance & disappearance of spots on the solar surface with varying amplitude and frequency. A mechanism involving the observed differential rotation and magnetic fields coupled with turbulent and circulatory motion is widely believed to be responsible for the variation of spots and other features with the activity cycle.

The helioseismic frequency data generated by the groundbased networks and instruments aboard the SOHO satellite over the past solar cycle enable us to study the changes taking place inside the Sun as the activity progresses. One of the outstanding problems in Solar Physics is to identify the nature and location of the solar dynamo and importantly to establish its link with the observed torsional oscillations with a view to account for the cyclical variations of oscillation frequencies, rotation rate, magnetic fields & their polarity reversals and the total solar irradiance.

Role of neutrals in the Solar atmosphere:

The surface layers of the Sun consist of weakly ionized gas composed dominantly of neutral hydrogen atoms and electrons with a small admixture of heavy elements. In such a nonideal plasma the effects of Hall & Ambipolar diffusion are expected to play an important role in producing magnetic structures with steep gradients leading to the formation of current sheets with the resultant dissipation of magnetic energy at the reconnection sites. These processes are likely to be crucial in a rapid transport of magnetic flux from the surface to the overlying regions of the solar atmosphere thus providing an efficient mechanism for heating the chromosphere and the corona of the Sun.

Selected publications

  • The Structure of Sunspots, S.M. Chitre, Mon No.Roy Astron Soc (1963) 123, 431.
  • Solidification of the Neutron Matter, V. Canuto and S.M. Chitre, Phys. Rev. Letters (1973) 30, 9.
  • Solar Neutrinos and a Central Magnetic Field in the Sun, S.M. Chitre, D. Ezer and R. Stothers, Astrophys. Letts. (1973) 14, 37.
  • Waves in the Sunspot Umbra, H.M. Antia and S.M. Chitre, Solar Phys, (1979) 63, 67.
  • Discovery of Infrared Bursts from Liller I/MXB1730333, P.V. Kulkarni, N.M. Ashok, K.M.V. Apparao and S.M. Chitre, Nature (1979) 280, 819.
  • Speroidal Gtavitational Lenses and the Triple Quasar, D. Narasimha, K. Subramanian and S.M. Chitre, Mon Not Roy Astron. Soc (1982) 200, 941.
  • The Role of Proton Cyclotron Emission near Accreting Magnetic Neurton Stars, K.M.V. Apparao, S.M. Chitre and M.J. Rees, Journ. Astrophys. Astron. (1982) 3, 413.
  • Minilensing of Multiply Imaged Quasars: Flux Variations and Vanishing of Images, K. Subramanian, S.M. Chitre and D. Narasimha, Astrophys. Journal (1985) 289, 37.
  • The Gravitational Lens as an Astronomical Diagnostic, W.C. Saslaw, D. Narasimha and S.M. Chitre, Astrophys. Journal (1985) 292, 348.
  • “Missing Image” in Gravitational Lens Systems, D. Narasimha, K. Subramanian & S.M. Chitre, Nature (1986) 321, 45.
  • Gravitational Lensing by Dark Galactic Halos, K.Subramanian, M.J. Rees and S.M. Chitre, Mon Not Roy Astron Soc (1987) 224, 28.
  • Giant Luminous Arcs in Galaxy Clusters, D. Narasimha and S.M. Chitre, Astrophys. Journal (1988), 332, 75.
  • Lensing of Extended Sources by Dark Galactic Halos, D. Narasimha and S.M. Chitre, Astron Journal (1989), 97, 327.
  • Helioseismic Models and Solar Neutrino Fluxes, H.M. Antia and S.M. Chitre, Mon Not Roy Astron. Soc. (1997) 289, L1.
  • Determination of temperature and chemical composition profiles in the Solar interior from Seismic Models, H.M. Antia and S.M. Chitre, Astron. Astrophys. (1998) 339, 239.
  • Solar Internal rotation rate and teh latitudinal variation of the tachocline, H.M. Antia, S. Basu and S.M. Chitre, Mon Not Roy Astron. Soc. (1998) 298, 543.
  • Limit on the ProtonProton Reaction Crosssection from Helioseismology, H.M. Antia and S.M. Chitre, Astron. Astrophys. (1999) 347, 1000.
  • The Sun's acoustic asphericity and magnetic fields in the Solar Convection Zone, H.M. Antia, S.M. Chitre and M.J. Thompson, Astron Astrophys (2000) 360, 335.
  • Rapid dissipation of magnetic fields due to the Hall current, S.I. Vainshtein, S.M. Chitre and A.V. Olinto, Phys Rev E (2000) 61, 4422
  • On Variation of the Latitudinal Structure of the Solar Convection Zone, H.M. Antia, S.M. Chitre and M.J. Thompson, Astron Astrophys (2003) 399, 329.

From CBS:

  • Zonal velocity bands and the solar activity cycle, K.R. Sivaraman, H. M. Antia and S. M. Chitre, Solar Phys. 251, 149 (2008).
  • Solar rotation rate and its gradients during cycle 23, H.M. Antia, S. Basu and S.M. Chitre, Astrophys. J. 681, 680 (2008).
  • Gravitational lens systems to probe extragalactic magnetic fields, D. Narasimha and S.M. Chitre, Current Sci. 93, 1506 (2007).
  • Temporal variations in the Sun's rotational kinetic energy, H.M. Antia, S.M. Chitre and D.O. Gough, Astron. Astrophys. 477, 657 (2008)

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