21-24 January 2019

Max Planck Institute for Astronomy, Heidelberg

Astronomical Time Series 2019

A workshop on time variable phenomena in astronomy


The theme of the workshop is astronomical time series, focusing in particular on flux variability of all types and timescales (stellar pulsations, transits, microlensing, transients, etc.). The goal of the workshop is to learn from each other, not only about science results achieved so far, but also about detection and analysis techniques - finding the needle in the haystack, dealing with systematics and false positives, characterizing light curves - as well as future observational initiatives. We hope that this workshop could lead to some new collaborations, or some initial joint studies in that direction. In addition to 30-minute talks, there will be time for unconferenced sessions and informal discussions.



Participation is by invitation

Rene Andrae, MPIA Heidelberg
Iair Arcavi, Tel Aviv University
Coryn Bailer-Jones, MPIA Heidelberg
Dalya Baron, Tel Aviv University
Eric Bellm, University of Washington
Jeroen Bouwman, MPIA Heidelberg
Subo Dong, Kavli Institute Beijing
Nestor Espinoza, MPIA Heidelberg
Simchon Faigler, Tel Aviv University
Morgan Fouesneau, MPIA Heidelberg
Avishay Gal-Yam, Weizmann Institute of Science
Nikos Gianniotis, Heidelberg Institute for Theoretical Studies
Andy Gould, MPIA Heidelberg
Matthew Graham, Caltech
Leanne Guy, LSST
Na'ama Hallakoun, Tel Aviv University
Saskia Hekker, MPS Göttingen
Thomas Henning, MPIA Heidelberg
Simon Hodgkin, IoA Cambridge
Assaf Horesh, Hebrew University
Markus Hundertmark, ZAH Heidelberg
Laura Inno, MPIA Heidelberg
Jon Jenkins, NASA/Ames
Chris Kochanek, Ohio State University
Szymon Kozłowski, Warsaw University
Natalie Lubelchick, Tel Aviv University
Dani Maoz, Tel Aviv University
Tsevi Mazeh, Tel Aviv University
Karri Muinonen, Helsinki University
Hagai Netzer, Tel Aviv University
Eran Ofek, Weizmann Institute of Science
Aviad Panahi, Tel Aviv University
Dovi Poznanski, Tel Aviv University
Sandra Raimundo, Copenhagen Unviersity
Itamar Reis, Tel Aviv University
Joris De Ridder, Leuven University
Hans-Walter Rix, MPIA Heidelberg
Matthias Samland, MPIA Heidelberg
Paula Sarkis, MPIA Heidelberg
Sarah Schmidt, AIP Potsdam
Maria Süveges, MPIA Heidelberg
Benny Trakhtenbrot, Tel Aviv University
Yiannis Tsapras, ZAH Heidelberg
Joachim Wambsganss, ZAH Heidelberg
Barak Zackay, IAS Princeton
Shay Zucker, Tel Aviv University



08:30 - 09:00 Coffee
09:00 - 10:30 Session 1a: Introductions (Chair: Name)
10:30 - 11:00 Coffee break
11:00 - 12:30 Session 1b: Talks (Chair: Name)
12:30 - 14:00 Lunch break
14:00 - 15:30 Session 1c: Unconference or Talks (TBD)
15:30 - 16:00 Coffee break
16:00 - 17:30 Session 1d: Talks (Chair: Name)


08:30 - 09:00 Coffee
09:00 - 10:30 Session 2a: Talks (Chair: Name)
10:30 - 11:00 Coffee break
11:00 - 12:30 Session 2b: Unconference
12:30 - 14:00 Lunch break
14:00 - 15:30 Session 1c: Talks (Chair: Name)
15:30 - 16:00 Coffee break
16:00 - 17:30 Session 1d: Talks and discussion (Chair: Name)
Workshop dinner (in Heidelberg Altstadt)


08:30 - 09:00 Coffee
09:00 - 10:30 Session 3a: Talks (Chair: Name)
10:30 - 11:00 Coffee break
11:00 - 12:30 Session 3b: Unconference
12:30 - 14:00 Lunch break
14:00 - 15:30 Session 1c: Talks (Chair: Name)
15:30 - 16:00 Coffee break
16:00 - 17:30 Session 1d: Talks and discussion (Chair: Name)


08:30 - 09:00 Coffee
09:00 - 10:30 Session 4a: Talks (Chair: Name)
10:30 - 11:00 Coffee break
11:00 - 12:30 Session 4b: Talks (Chair: Name)
12:30 - 14:00 Lunch break
14:00 - 15:30 Session 4c: Talks, discussion, wrap-up (Chair: Name)
15:30 - 16:00 Coffee break
End of workshop


All talks are 30min total (≤25min talk + ≥5min discussion).
Talks will be allocated to slots nearer the time of the workshop.

Finding simple structures in complex datasets. Dalya Baron, TAU
Science use of the LSST alert stream. Eric Bellm, Washington
Using causal connections in datasets to distinguish between noise and signal. Jeroen Bouwman, MPIA
Astroseismology and Gaia. Joris de Ridder, Leuwen
"Organized Luck" with ASAS-SN. Subo Dong, Kavli Beijing
Sniffing exoplanet atmospheres through systematic noise. Nestor Espinoza, MPIA
Autoencoding eclipsing binaries. Nikos Gianniotis, HITS
The Zwicky Transient Facility. Matthew Graham, Caltech
Microlensing. Andy Gould, MPIA
LSST plans for the treatment of time series. Leanne Guy, LSST
Searching for planets around white dwarfs: the curious case of WD1145+017. Na'ama Hallakoun, TAU
Time series data of stars with solar-like oscillations. Saskia Hekker, MPS
Gaia photometric alerts. Simon Hodgkin, IoA Cambridge
The use of templates to characterise variable stars from sparsely sampled light-curves in all-sky time-domain surveys. Laura Inno, MPIA
Planet detection pipeline for Kepler and TESS. Jon Jenkins, NASA/Ames
The ASAS-SN survey. Chris Kochanek, OSU
Asteroid lightcurve inversion using Bayesian inference. Karri Muinonen, Helsinki
How to disentangle accretion disk and emission line variations in AGN. Hagai Netzer, TAU
Astrometric time series. Eran Ofek, Weizmann
Anomaly detection - From spectra to time series. Dovi Poznanski, TAU
AGN that show extreme variability. Sandra Raimundo, Copenhagen
Combining high(-er) cadence lightcurves with infrequent time-domain spectroscopy. Hans-Walter Rix, MPIA
Time-domain modeling of direct imaging systematics. Matthias Samland, MPIA
Stellar flares. Sarah Schmidt, AIP
Characterisation and classification of Gaia time series. Maria Süveges, MPIA
Flaring AGN. Benny Trakhtenbrot, TAU
Analyzing gravitational wave data - searching for gravitational wave mergers and parameter estimation. Barak Zackay, Princeton IAS
Using deep learning to detect transits in the presence of stellar activity. Shay Zucker, TAU
Gravitational Microlensing: How photometric and astrometric time series help us determine the exoplanet abundance and measure the masses of isolated stars. Joachim Wambsganss, ZAH


The workshop will be held at the Haus der Astronomie (HdA) at MPIA in Heidelberg. HdA is the Center for Astronomy Education and Outreach in Heidelberg; more information about the center and its facilities and resources can be found here.


HdA itself is disabled accessible, and dedicated parking spaces are available. Unfortunately, the bus for the workshop is not disabled accessible, although there are taxi services in Heidelberg that are. Do please contact us in advance if you need assistance.


Max Planck Institute for Astronomy
Königstuhl 17
69117 Heidelberg


The workshop will start at 09:00 on Monday 21 January 2019 and finish at 16:00 on Thursday 24 January.

There will be a dedicated bus to bring participants from the town to the workshop venue (see details under travel below). The MPIA will cover the cost of lunches at the workshop and the workshop dinner. There is no conference fee. Participants are responsible for organizing their travel to Heidelberg, and should make their own accommodation arrangements (see below).

If you need help with child care arrangements, please contact us.


Lunch and coffee breaks will be provided at the workshop venue on all days of the workshop. Vegetarian options will be available (no need to pre-order). If you have any additional dietary requirements, please email Carola Jordan well in advance.

Workshop dinner

We will hold a workshop dinner on the Tuesday evening at the Palais Prinz Carl on the Kornmarkt. Exact times and menu choices will be provided nearer the time. If you don't wish to attend, please email Carola Jordan so we can provide the restaurant with the correct numbers.


Participants are responsible for making their own accommodation arrangements. Heidelberg has plenty of hotel and airbnb options; the following hotels are some suggestions (but we don't endorse any particular hotel).

Hotel Vier Jahreszeiten, Haspelgasse 2, Heidelberg
Hotel Goldene Rose, St. Anna Gasse 7, Heidelberg
Hotel Monpti, Friedrich-Ebert-Anlage 57, Heidelberg
Denner Hotel, Bergheimer Straße 8, Heidelberg
GuestHouse Heidelberg, Bergheimer Straße 24, Heidelberg
Bergheim 41, Bergheimer Straße 41, Heidelberg
Leonardo Hotel, Bergheimer Straße 63, Heidelberg
Qube Hotel, Bergheimer Straße 74, Heidelberg
Hotel NH, Bergheimer Straße 91, Heidelberg


Visa & Flight Information

You may need to apply for a visa to enter Germany. For information by country, see this overview of visa requirements.

We recommend that you fly into Frankfurt Airport (FRA), as this is the nearest international airport to Heidelberg. The following directions to Heidelberg assume that you are starting from Frankfurt.

Getting to Heidelberg


Deutsche Bahn (DB) has connections from Frankfurt Airport (station: Frankfurt(M) Flughafen Fernbahnhof) to various train stations around Heidelberg (likely either Hauptbanhof or Altstadt, depending on where your hotel is). Typically you will take a train to Mannheim and then change platforms there to the S-bahn to Heidelberg. The total travel time is of order one hour. Tickets cost about 25 € each way. The time table is available here. You can buy a ticket in advance, but we don't recommend the cheaper "saver" tickets, as these are tied to a particular train, so won't be valid if your flight is delayed.


A cheaper but slower alternative is the "Flixbus" from the airport to Heidelberg. Prices range from 5-15 € each way, but depending on the time of day the trip could take up to three hours due to stops and traffic. To investigate time tables and book tickets, you can check out the Flixbus website or app.


The two best shuttle options are Transfer & Limousine Service (TLS) (40 € each way) and Lufthansa Express Shuttle (25 € each way).

Driving directions

If you decide to rent a car and drive, you can follow these directions (to MPIA).

Getting to HdA

There will be a shuttle to transport participants from the town centre up the hill to MPIA/HdA every morning from the Crowne Plaza Hotel on Bahnhofstrasse at 08:15 (TBC) and stopping to pick up at Peterskirche (from the south side of the side, i.e. the one closest to the hill) around 08:25 (TBC). A local participant will travel with the bus, but the bus will not wait for late participants! A bus will bring participants back into town (the same two stops) after the workshop each day.

At other times of the day you can take Bus 30 - the "Science Bus" - up to MPIA (the bus will drop you off right outside HdA) or back down the hill (you probably want to get off at Peterskirche). You can buy tickets online, at ticket machines, or on the bus (TBC) (the cost is approximately 2.50 € each way).

Exploring Heidelberg

The easiest way to explore Heidelberg is by foot. Public transportation in Heidelberg is provided by the Rhein-Neckar-Verkehr (RNV) in the form of buses and trams; these can take you more or less anywhere you want to go within the city. The timetables can be found online; you can also download various apps to help you plan, e.g. the official RNV app (in german) or the VRN Ticket app (in english).