Extragalactic Astrophysics

Several USM research groups focus on extragalactic astrophysics, i.e. they investigate processes and objects outside of the Milky Way galaxy. By studying galaxies, galaxy clusters and even larger structures, these groups e.g. answer questions about the nature of dark matter and dark energy or the origins and properties of supermassive black holes.

Galaxy NGC 891 (image taken by the Wendelstein Observatory)

Chairs / Research Groups

USM's Extragalactic Astronomy Research Group, led by Prof. Ralf Bender and senior staff Dr. Ulrich Hopp, Dr. Stella Seitz, and Dr. Arno Riffeser, and the Optical and Interpretative Astronomy Group (OPINAS) at the Max Planck Institute for Extraterrestrial Physics (MPE) constitute a joint research group that investigates the structure and evolution of galaxies and their distribution in space and time. Their research e.g. includes studies of stellar dynamics and populations of galaxies or analyses of the nature of dark matter in and around galaxies and galaxy clusters via measurements of gravitational lensing. The large-scale distribution of galaxies and gravitational lensing also provide direct insight into the properties of dark energy. In the nearby universe, the group searches for extrasolar planets and explores their properties with transits and radial velocities. The Extragalactic Astronomy group group also operates LMU's Wendelstein Observatory, including the 2m Fraunhofer telescope.

More about OPINAS

Prof. Rolf-Peter Kudritzki, director of the MIAPbP and former director of the LMU Observatory (USM), continues to actively research in the field of extragalactic stellar spectroscopy in close collaboration with various USM research groups (e.g. CAST).

More on his research

Professor Harald Lesch is a world leading expert on radiative and high-energy processes in the cosmos. He is also Germany’s most influential public communicator of science and an outspoken advocate of action on climate change.

The newly installed Chair for Astrophysics, Cosmology and Artificial Intelligence (ACAI) aims to construct a statistical model that integrates all signatures of cosmic structure available to us. To build this model, Prof. Daniel Gruen and his group are developing and employing the latest approaches of analysing and interpreting cosmological data, including innovative machine learning techniques as well as highly advanced theoretical techniques to understand cosmic structure formation.

More on ACAI

Euclid's view of the perseus galaxy cluster
© ESA - Euclid Satellite