Research Topics of the PSF Department

Exoplanets - planets around star other than the sun - are nowadays being found by the dozens and start to be characterized in detail now. [more]
Today several thousand exoplanets, planets around stars other than our Sun, are known. Interestingly, the masses and radii of the exoplanets discovered so far, revealed especially by the Kepler survey and ancillary observations, appear hugely diverse: from massive, scorching hot Jovian mass to rocky planets in sizes and radii similar to Earth. [more]
Protoplanetary disks around young stars are the birthplaces of planetary systems. Most of their mass is in the form of molecular hydrogen with small admixtures of solid particles. The initially micron-sized particles grow through mutual collisions to form larger meter-sized bodies with further growth potentially assisted by gravitational instabilities in dense dust layers. [more]
How do the most massive stars in our and other Galaxies form? How do they shape their clustered environment as well as the interstellar medium (ISM)? [more]
Most of the initial gas mass in the Milky Way has been converted into stars. While massive stars and their final stages dominate the energy input into the interstellar medium, low-mass stars constitute most of the total mass in our galaxy. [more]
The new generation of 8m-class telescopes and sensitive infrared instruments facilitates studies of the stellar populations in young, massive clusters down to substellar masses, despite their much larger distance than the typical low-mass star formation regions in out solar neighbourhood. [more]
There is a wealth of molecules out in the Universe constituting the material of galaxies, stars, planets and everything in between. Surprisingly chemically rich, various cosmic environments reveal distinct degrees of chemical complexity that we can study via multi-wavelength observations of molecular emission lines. [more]
Our theoretical research is focused on magneto and radiation hydro dynamical models for the formation of stars and planets. [more]
Our understanding of some of the key astrophysical processes in the interstellar medium and circumstellar environments is based on the understanding of the physical and chemical processes that generate and modify dust grains and molecules under different conditions. [more]

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