As a near-infrared imager offering unprecedented spatial resolution, sensitivity, and sky coverage, LINC-NIRVANA enables a broad range of science, ranging from studies of the content of the Solar System to probing the largest physical scales accessible to ground-based observers.


In order to manage and extract maximum science from this capability, the LN consortium has assembled a science team charged with identifying, assessing, and planning observational programs. The list at right should help you contact the science team.


Eva Schinnerer, MPIA (Project Scientist)

Mark Norris, MPIA (LN Scientist)

Henrik Beuther (MPIA)

Paolo Ciliegi (INAF-Bologna)

Andreas Eckart (Cologne)

Glenn van de Ven (MPIA)

Gerd Weigelt (MPIfR)

Simone Zaggia (INAF-Padova)

Science Cases


The following paragraphs list science cases that are under consideration by the LINC-NIRVANA team. Clearly, these entries will evolve as the science context changes and the exact instrument performance becomes clear. Stay tuned, and feel free to contact the LN science team if you have ideas or interest.


LINC Design Reference Mission (DRM)


This is a group of science objectives for so-called “LINC” mode, which means interferometric imaging using on-axis reference sources (no Multi-Conjugate Adaptive Optics). By necessity, these are condensed descriptions. Contact the Science Team for more detail.



 fragmentation of disks around forming high mass stars

 centers of of young embedded clusters to study the low mass end of the IMF & multiplicity

 precise masses and radii of normal stars

 Jet launching in low- to high-mass proto-stars and YSOs

 Milky Way globular clusters - number of binaries, proper motions

 proper motions of stars in the Galactic Center

 flare activity of SgrA* in the Galactic Center

 NIR counterparts of accreting millisecond pulsars



 origin of the IR bump in nearby AGN

 resolving the circumnuclear environment of nearby AGN: tori, IR bump, outflows, host properties

 accreted globular clusters in M31 and other nearby galaxies

 imaging the jet in M87

 double nuclei in merging ULIRGs under the microscope

 probing merger-driven galaxy/AGN evolution with borderline type-1 QSOs

 morphology and surface profiles of high-z galaxies in the field and clusters




These science cases exploit the full capability of LINC-NIRVANA, that is, high sky-coverage MCAO-supported interferometry. As with the LINC DRM, these are condensed description.



 (young) stellar multiplicity


 planet searches via astrometry, shadowing

 astrometry and monitoring of magnetars, novae

 separation of metal-poor binaries

 stellar nurseries - low mass end of the IMF

 outer atmospheres of evolved high-mass stars

 stellar disks and envelopes of AGB stars

 companions around intermediate-mass pre-main-sequence stars

 light echos around SNe-Ia

 disks, outflows and jets of low- to high-mass YSOs

 proper motions of stars in the Galactic Center

 flare activity of SgrA* in the Galactic Center

 debris disks in scatter light around M-type stars

 precise mass measurements via astrometric microlensing



 probing the link between X-ray probed AGN activity and galaxy merging

 the stellar hosts and star formation of high redshift galaxies

 color gradients and morphology of nearby (small) early type galaxies

 census of non-axisymmetric structures in intermediate (0.5 < z < 2) redshift galaxies

 imaging tori and circumnuclear starburst regions in nearby AGN

 imaging of host galaxies of QSOs, Lyman Alpha galaxies at the end of cosmic reionization

 resolving ongoing galaxy mergers in the high-z universe

 resolving the geometry of multi-image gravitationally lensed QSOs/galaxies

 imaging of the host galaxies of high-z SN


Lean MCAO Themes


The following themes target single-eye Multi-Conjugate Adaptive Optics, which will be available early on. Note that these projects are still under active development.



 proper motions of known companions in multiple planet/stellar systems

 centers of of young embedded clusters to study the low mass end of the IMF & multiplicity

 protostellar systems - circumstellar disks & jets

 Milky Way globular clusters - number of binaries, proper motions



 stellar content of massive HII regions in M31

 resolved stellar populations in nearby (D < 4 Mpc) galaxies - stellar migration, star formation history, distance from tip of RGB

 morphology of z ~ 2 compact massive passive galaxies




Site manager: Tom Herbst

Last updated:

20 June 2013