Extragalactic Astronomy at the Munich University Observatory (USM) and the Optical & Interpretative Astronomy group (Opinas) at MPE
The group is located both at the USM (see `Extragalactic Astronomy') and at MPE.
Our SCIENCE PROJECTS aim
The observational data necessary for our scientific programs come from own telescope shares (LBT, HET, Wendelstein telescope), from guaranteed time observations which come in return for our instrument buildings (FORS, SPIFFI, OmegaCAM, KMOS), from participating in carrying out public surveys (KIDS) and from applications to the ESO telescopes and the german-spanish Calar-Alto Observatory. In addition we used our Wendestein observatory in the Alps for pixellensing and other monitoring projects. In spring 2008, the 0.8m telescope was de-commissioned and we have now replaced it by a 2m-telescope with adequadate imaging and spectroscopic instrumentation. Regular observations will start soon.
In addition, the USM-MPE extragalactic research group is designing and building imaging and spectroscopy instruments for 1-10m class telescopes, together with national and international partners. We built, e.g., the instruments for the VLT, and the low resolution spectrograph LRS for the 10m Hobby-Eberly-Telescope HET in Texas (which we share with the Universities of Texas, Penn State University, Standford and Göttingen).
Since one year our 1-square degree imager OmegaCAM is operating on the 2.6m VLT-survey telescope VST in Chile. Right now we started to contribute to the multi-IFU-infrared spectrograph KMOS for the VLT and a giant optical IFU spectrograph ( VIRUS ). We further participate in the design study of the E-ELT instrument MICADO and the now accepted Cosmic Vision Survey Mission EUCLID , planned to be launched in 2019.
Finally, we also develop data reduction and analysis software. We are member of ASTROWISE, a european team (USM, Paris, Groeningen, Leiden and Naples) providing data analysis software for the OmegaCAM and any wide field data. This software is essential for all wide field imaging surveys (e.g. KIDS) carried out within the ESO community in the future. For the VIRUS project we are developing the pipeline for the automatic reduction of the integral field spectra.
The Opinas group at MPE is a member of the BOSS/SDSS3 consortium, which will obtain spectroscopic redshift for luminous red galaxies out to z=0.9. This will be used to analyse large scale clustering of galaxies as a function of redshift.
Moreover, the Opinas group at MPE is member of the PANSTARRS consortium consisting of the Institute for Astronomy (Hawaii), the Max-Planck Society, Havard University, John Hopkins University, Las Cumbres Observatory and a UK consortium (Durham, Edingburgh, Belfast). PANSTARRS is carrying out a multi wave band 3pi survey of the northern sky using a 7 square degree Giga-Pixel camera mounted on a 1.8 meter telescope on Haleakala (Hawaii).
PANSTARRS is also monitoring all of M31 in each visible night with its 7 square degree camera. The PAndromeda data will allow a search for variable stars and microlensing events (6 events have been already identified, Lee et al. 2011), as well as a detailed investigation of stellar populations in the coadded data set. Recently, we have also joined the dark energy survey DES.
Finally, we participate in HETDEX , the Hobby-Eberly Telescope Dark Energy Experiment, a project designed to understand the evolutionary history of dark energy.
Some of the projects listed below are available also as MASTER projects.
Difference image movie of a 30x30 arcsec^2 area in the bulge of M31 from our WECAPP pixellensing project. Long period variables and other variable stars show up as varying black and white spots. Towards the end of the movie a microlens event is visible in the center of the field.
Project 1 (PhD or Master Project in the
Dynamics Group :
``Galaxy evolution, dynamics and dark matter"
Research in the MPE Dynamics Group focusses on understanding the evolution, origin, and dynamical structure of galaxies, with particular emphasis on the Milky Way and nearby galaxies. We are a theoretical group with a strong link to observations, and long-standing experience on analytical and numerical dynamical models of galaxies. PhD and master thesis projects are offered within the following research areas (see also the links):
* Structure and origin of the barred bulges in the Milky Way, M31, and nearby spiral galaxies;;
* Dark matter haloes, angular momentum , and mass accretion in elliptical galaxies;
* Made-to-measure particle models for galaxies;
* Tidal stripping and evolution of galaxies in clusters and the formation of intracluster light.
Ortwin Gerhard email@example.com