Astronomy and Astrophysics, Cosmology

The aim of astrophysics is to study our Universe and the galaxies, stars, and planets therein with physical methods and to understand their origin and evolution. At the observatory almost the entire spectrum of modern astrophysics is covered in research and teaching.

We gain data for our investigations at the most powerful observatories worldwide, for which we also develop (measuring) instruments ourselves (e.g. for the Very Large Telescope and the Extremely Large Telescope of the European Southern Observatory). We participate in large international collaborations (e.g. Dark Energy Survey) and operate our own 2m telescope on mount Wendelstein in the Bavarian Alps. The observations are analysed with sophisticated computer programs and compared with very detailed time-consuming simulations. Only in this way it is possible to understand complex phenomena such as the formation of planets from dust disks, the development of galaxies over billions of years, or the influence of dark matter and dark energy on the evolution of the Universe (as a whole).

The Observatory

Special expertise exists at the observatory in the following areas:

  • Modelling of the formation of planets and circumstellar disks
  • Search for extrasolar planets using the transit method and the radial velocity method
  • Dynamics of interstellar gas and dust and the formation of stars
  • Massive stars, atmospheres, winds and final stages
  • Structure and formation of galaxies and their central black holes
  • Formation and evolution of galaxy clusters and their dark matter
  • Measurements, theoretical models, and simulations of the evolution of the Universe and its large-scale structure
  • Dark matter and dark energy


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Prof. Dr. Ralf Bender
Emergence and development of galaxies / Dark matter and gravitational lenses / Black holes in galactic cores

Prof. Dr. Tilman Birnstiel
Planet Formation / Protoplanetary Disks and Their Evolution / Computational Astrophysics

Prof. Dr. Andreas Burkert
Computational Astrophysics / Cosmology and dark matter / Emergence and development of galaxies / Emergence of stars and planets

Prof. Dr. Georgi Dvali
String theory / Elementary particle physics / Cosmology and astrophysics

Prof. Dr. Barbara Ercolano
Formation of stars and planets / Radiative transfer / Computational Astrophysics

Prof. Dr. Harald Lesch
Cosmic electrodynamics / Particle acceleration at TeV energy levels in active galactic cores / Coherent radiation processes in cosmic systems

Prof. Dr. Joseph Mohr
Nature of the cosmic acceleration / Evolution of large scale structure / Galaxy cluster formation and evolution

Prof. Dr. Viatcheslav Mukhanov
General Theory of Relativity / Cosmology, Inflation / Black Holes

Prof. Dr. Thomas Preibisch
Young stars and star formation / X-ray observations / Infrared interferometry

Prof. Dr. Jochen Weller
Cosmology and Dark energy / Large scale structure and galaxy clusters / Cosmic microwave background

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