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---ESAC Faculty | Home | RF Mentors

Research Fellow Mentors

The short introductions below present scientists at ESAC who are able and willing to serve as mentors for ESA Research Fellows. The list is in alphabetical order. Note that it is not necessarily complete and may be updated in the future. Further information about the scientific work done at ESAC can be found on the Faculty Science and Faculty Members pages.
Research collaborations and projects with other Faculty members (in particular other Research Fellows and also including researchers at LAEFF) are encouraged!

Solar system studies   Nicolas Altobelli; Michael Küppers; Patrick Martin
Disc evolution and planet formation   Bruno Merín
Late stages of stellar evolution   Pedro Garcia-Lario
Massive stars and star clusters / stellar evolution   Danny Lennon
Galactic Centre studies   Guillaume Bélanger
Galactic high-energy astronomy   Peter Kretschmar; Erik Kuulkers; Jan-Uwe Ness
High-energy extragalactic astronomy   Matthias Ehle; Matteo Guainazzi; Maria Santos Lleo; Norbert Schartel
Galaxy clusters, cosmic infrared background, gravitational lensing
  Bruno Altieri; Leo Metcalfe
Cosmic Microwave Background   Luca Conversi

Bruno Altieri

Astronomer

 

Main research field

My main research interest is on deep infrared cosmological surveys to address the following astrophysical issues:

  • Properties of the most distant galaxy clusters and proto-clusters
  • What is the evolutionary sequence which lead star formation to migrate from high-z overdensities to low density regions in the local universe ?
  • Resolve the Cosmic Infrared Background and determine the nature of its constituents.
  • Determine the cosmic evolution of dusty star formation and of the infrared luminosity function.
  • Elucidate the relation of far-infrared emission and environment, and determine clustering properties.
  • Determine the contribution of AGN.
  • Determine the infrared emission and energetics of known galaxy populations.
Keywords
  • Galaxy clusters and proto-clusters
  • Gravitational lensing
  • Deep cosmological surveys

Ongoing Herschel collaborations

Other collaborations

Publications

My ResearchGate

My ESA homepage

Projects/missions at ESA: Herschel & Euclid

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Nicolas Altobelli


Planetary Scientist

Main research field

My main research area deals with the physics of small bodies in the Solar System (dust, asteroids, comets, KBOs). This encompasses in particular the study of dust particles of interplanetary or interstellar origin by in-situ detectors flown on various esa/nasa missions, as well as the remote sensing of planetary discs.

  • Saturn rings
  • Infrared spectroscopy
  • Interstellar dust
  • Interplanetary dust
  • Asteroids/comets
  • Dust dynamics

Ongoing collaborations

 

  • S. Kempf, University of Boulder, Colorado, USA
  • R. Srama, F. Postberg, University of Stuttgart, Germany
  • L. Spilker, NASA-JPL, Pasadena, USA
  • B. Davidsson, University of Uppsala, Sweden
Publications

Project/mission at ESA: Rosetta , Cassini-Huygens

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Guillaume Bélanger

Astronomer

Main research field

The close investigation of the high energy behaviour of Sagittarius A*, the supermassive black hole at the centre of the Galaxy, and its surroundings; the infall of gas from the Galaxy into the Central Molecular Zone, and its dynamics in this central region; the formation of giant molecular clouds and their emission, especially at high energies; the interaction of energetic particles accelerated in supernova shocks, stellar winds and elsewhere, with the dense molecular matter in the outer layers of clouds; the formation and life cycle of massive stars near the Galactic Centre, and their overall influence on the central region; these are the kinds of issues that drive and motivate my research.

Keywords

 

  • Galactic Centre
  • Sagittarius A*
  • Central Molecular Zone
  • Molecular Clouds: High Energy Emission, Formation
  • Sagittarius B
  • Supernova Remnants: Particle Acceleration, Interaction with Molecular Clouds
  • Sagittarius A East
  • Gas Dynamics
  • Sagittarius A West, Circum-nuclear Ring and Circum-nuclear Disc,
  • Massive Stars: Formation, Stellar Winds

Ongoing collaborations

  • Laboratoire Astroparticule et Cosmologie (APC), Paris, France (R. Terrier, M. Renaud)
  • Commissariat a l'energie atomique (CEA), Gif-sur-Yvette, France (A. Goldwurm)
  • University of California in Los Angeles (UCLA), Los Angeles, USA, (M. Morris, L. Meyer, T. Do)
  • University of Arizona, Tucson, USA, (F. Melia)
  • Potchefstroom University, Potchefstroom, South Africa, (O. de Jager)
  • University of Leicester, Leicester, UK, (R. Warwick)

Publications

Project/mission at ESA: INTEGRAL
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Luca Conversi

Astronomer

Luca Conversi

Main research fields

My research activity is mainly devoted to the study of Cosmic Microwave Background (CMB), its polarization and its foregrounds at sub-millimetre and far infrared wavelengths. What it is defined as foreground of the CMB (which might be the main research topic of many astronomers) conceals cosmological information on its own. I mostly investigate Sunyaev-Zel'dovich effect, interstellar dust and cosmic IR background. 
I'm also interested in optical analysis for sub-millimetre experiments; however, most of work is dedicated to Herschel as SPIRE calibration scientist. 
 
Keywords
  • Cosmic microwave background: anisotropies and polarization
  • Sunyaev-Zel'dovich effect & galaxy clusters
  • Interstellar dust
  • Cosmic infrared background

Ongoing collaborations

  • Herschel-Planck cross-calibration
  • HerMES (Herschel Guarantee Time Key Program)
  • HiGAL (Herschel Open Time Key Program)
  • OLIMPO

Publications

Personal Research Page

Project/mission at ESA: Herschel, Planck
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Matthias Ehle

Astronomer

Matthias Ehle

Main research field

The research I am currently doing is part of an comprehensive approach involving multi-wavelength (X-ray, radio continuum, HI and optical) high-sensitivity observations of a sample of actively star-forming edge-on galaxies:

It is still a matter of debate how the halo gas is ionized and heated: are these processes taking place in the disk and is the gas transferred into the halo afterwards, or is the halo gas of neutral origin and ionized by star-formation in the disk and/or by heating processes which are working in the halo? In addition, comparing energy densities of magnetic fields and thermal gas can address the question of how important magnetic fields are for the dynamics and evolution of galactic halos.

More recently I started to expand the study of extra-planar gas and magnetic fields on cluster spiral galaxies. Frequently, these objects are found to be affected by ram pressure stripping or tidal interactions as they travel through the cluster intergalactic medium.

Keywords

  • The Environment of Galaxies
  • Galactic Halos
  • Cosmic Magnetic Fields
  • Interstellar and Intergalactic Medium
  • Clusters of Galaxies

Ongoing collaborations (outside ESAC)

  • Ruhr-Universität Bochum (Ralf-Jürgen Dettmar)
  • MPE Garching (Frank Haberl, Wolfgang Pietsch (emer.))
  • MPIfR Bonn (Rainer Beck)
  • Jagiellonian University Cracow (Marek Wezgowiec, Marek Urbanik)

Publications

Project/mission at ESA: XMM-Newton
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Pedro Garcia-Lario

Astronomer

Main research field

My main research interest is stellar evolution. In particular, the late stages of low- and intermediate-mass stars while they are evolving from the Asymptotic Giant Branch to the Planetary Nebula phase. This is a crucial phase in which dramatic morphological and chemical changes occur. These changes seem to strongly depend on the initial mass of the progenitor star and on the metallicity, which modulate the efficiency of the so-called 3rd dredge-up and the activation of hot bottom burning. Most of what we can learn from these stars must be studied in the infrared, since we are looking at heavily obscured sources surrounded by thick circumstellar envelopes formed during the strong mass lossing AGB phase. In this area I am particularly interested in the study of the solid state features detected in these stars by ISO, Spitzer, Akari, and soon also with Herschel, from which a lot of information can be extracted. The main goal is to be able to describe how these features evolve during this short-lived phase and study the implications in the chemical evolution of galaxies.

Keywords

  • AGB stars
  • Post-AGB stars
  • Planetary Nebulae
  • Circumstellar shells
  • IR astronomy
  • Astromineralogy

Ongoing collaborations

  • IAC, Tenerife: A.Manchado and A.Garcia-Hernandez
  • Hamburg Observatory: D. Engels
  • N. Copernicus Astronomical Center: R. Szczerba
  • NOAO: L. Stangehellini
  • STScI: E. Villaver
  • ESAC: N. Cox

Publications

Project/mission at ESA: Herschel
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Matteo Guainazzi

Astronomer

Main research field

My main research interests focus on high-energy observations of Active Galactic Nuclei. I have recently used X-ray observations of nearby Seyfert galaxies to study: a) the ionization mechanism of the Narrow Line Regions; b) the location and dynamics of optically-thick gas and dust in the innermost ~pc around supermassive black holes. Moreover, I have been carried out XMM-Newton observation of a radio-selected complete z

Keywords

  • Active Galactic Nuclei
  • Seyfert Galaxies
  • Narrow Line Regions
  • Radio Galaxies
  • General Relativity
  • Accretion disks

Ongoing collaborations

  • SAO-CfA (Aneta Siemiginowska)
  • IASF/Bologna (Paola Grandi)
  • Osservatorio Astronomico di Monte Porzio (Enrico Piconcelli)
  • UNAM/Mexico (Elena Jimenez-Bailon)
  • Universita' degli Studi "Roma Tre" (Stefano Bianchi, Giorgio Matt)

Publications

Project/mission at ESA: XMM-Newton
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Peter Kretschmar

Astronomer

 


Main research field

Almost all of my research activities are related to accreting X-ray binaries, mostly accreting X-ray pulsars. Using data from various high-energy missions (INTEGRAL, RXTE, XMM-Newton, Suzaku, Swift and others) my colleagues and I study different aspects of these systems: mechanisms of accretion, period evolution, lightcurves, pulse profiles and spectra. One of my specialties is the study of cyclotron resonant scattering features.

Keywords

  • Accreting X-ray pulsars
  • Cyclotron line studies
  • Accretion column geometry and pulse profiles
  • Accretion mechanisms

Ongoing collaborations

  • IAAT, Tübingen, Germany
  • Dr. Karl Remeis Sternwarte, Bamberg, Germany
  • AIP, Potsdam, Germany
  • CASS/UCSD, San Diego, USA
  • GSFC, Greenbelt, USA
  • Univ. Southampton, UK
  • ISDC, Geneva, Switzerland
  • Univ. Alicante, Spain
  • Univ. Valencia, Spain

Publications

Personal Research page

Project/mission at ESA: INTEGRAL

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Michael Küppers

Planetary Scientist

 


Main research field

The main topic of my research is the physics of small bodies in the solar system. Currently analysis of data from the asteroid flybys of Rosetta and modelling of asteroid surface properties are a main focus. Other projects include a model in preparation of observation of D/H in water vapour emission from cometary comae to be observed by Herschel and ground-based observations of comets.

Keywords

  • Composition and structure of comets 
  • Surface properties of asteroids and comets
  • Solar system formation
  • Imaging
  • Coma chemistry

Ongoing collaborations

  • MPS, Katlenburg-Lindau, Germany (OSIRIS/Rosetta team and HIFI/Herschel)
  • Univ. of Padova (C. Barbieri et al.)

Publications

Project/mission at ESA: Rosetta

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Erik Kuulkers

Astronomer

 

Main research field

One of my current research projects is a program to monitor the source activity in the Galactic bulge regularly and frequently with INTEGRAL, following ~100 sources every INTEGRAL orbit (~3 days) for 3.5 hours, whenever the region is visible and making X-ray and gamma-ray light curves and images available as soon as possible. For fun, see the Galactic Center region playing hide and seek. My other research interests include the study of thermo-nuclear explosions on neutron stars (called Type I X-ray bursts), as well as binary parameters determinations of compact star systems. Other subjects of interest include research on various types of Cataclysmic Variables. I am also leading the X-ray binary group at ESAC.

Keywords

  • Thermo-nuclear X-ray bursts
  • (Observational) equation of state constraints of neutron stars
  • Physics of accretion in compact star binaries
  • Binary parameters determinations of compact star systems
  • High-energy Galactic bulge activity

Publications

Personal Research page

Project/mission at ESA: INTEGRAL

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Danny Lennon

Astronomer

Main research field

Massive stars and star clusters, stellar evolution, stellar dynamics. I am interested in bringing together state-of-the-art observations with theory to address fundamental problems in massive star evolution, their impact on the their environment, galactic evolution and the early Universe.

Keywords

  • Massive stars
  • Star clusters
  • Stellar evolution
  • Stellar dynamics

Ongoing collaborations

  • An HST study of proper motions of massive stars in the Tarantula Nebula and isolated massive stars in the Galactic Center (with Roeland van der Marel, Jay Anderson, Elena Sabbi, (STScI); Luigi Bedin, (Padua), Chris Evans, (ATC, Edinburgh), Selma de Mink (STScI/Amsterdam))
  • A VLT-FLAMES spectroscopic survey of massive stars and binaries in the Tarantula Nebula and HST spectroscopy of massive stars in the core of R136 (with Chris Evans, ATC, Edinburgh; Paul Crowther (Sheffield); Hugues Sana (STScI))
  • Stellar Winds at low Z including HST UV spectroscopy of massive stars in metal poor nearby dwarf galaxies. (with Miriam Garcia, Paco Najarro (CAB, Madrid); Artemio Herrero (IAC, Tenerife)
  • Mid-IR studies of massive stars in nearby galaxies (Alceste Bonanos, (NOA, Athens))
Publications

Project/mission at ESA: Head of Science Operations Division

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Patrick Martin

Planetary Scientist

Main research field

Mars surface composition

Keywords

  • Mars
  • Planetary surface composition
  • Remote sensing
  • Mineralogy

Ongoing collaborations

  • ESAC, Spain
  • LPG, Univ. Grenoble, France
Publications

Project/mission at ESA: Mars Express

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Bruno Merín

Astronomer

Main research field

We study observationally the formation of planets in protoplanetary disks around nearby young stars. For that we use Spitzer (3 - 70 micron) and Herschel (55 - 670 micron) observations of nearby large star-forming clouds observed by two large Spitzer Legacy Programs ("Cores 2 Disks"/c2d and "Gould's Belt Survey") and two Herschel Key Programs ("DIGIT" and "Gould Belt Survey"). Both Space Observatories produce highly complementary data on the processes that take place in the dusty disks around young stars where planetary systems form. In particular we study disk evolution combining large data samples of disks in the critical time-frame of disk dissipation to identify the conditions more favorable for the formation of planets and the possible planetary systems as a result of the disk dissipation mechanisms. This research is also supported by ground-based high-angular resolution follow-up of interesting disks with large inner holes, possibly caused by forming planets.

  • Star and planet formation
  • Protoplanetary disk evolution
  • Transitional disks
  • IR surveys of star-forming regions

Ongoing collaborations

 

  • T. Prusti, E. Winston, A. Kospal (RSSD/ESTEC, The Netherlands)
  • E. F. van Dishoeck (Leiden Observatory, The Netherlands)
  • N. Evans, P. Harvey (Univeristy of Texas at Austin, USA)
  • L. Cieza (Institute for Astrophysics, University of Hawaii, USA)
  • J. M. Brown (Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics, USA)
  • L. Allen (NOAO, Tucson, USA) and the Spitzer Gould's Belt Program Team
  • P. André (CEA, Saclay, France) and Herschel Gould's Belt Key Program Team
  • J.-C. Augereau (Laboratoire D'Astrophysique de Grenoble, France)
  • C. Eiroa (Universidad Autonoma de Madrid, Spain)
  • H. Bouy, N. Huelamo, B. Montesinos, D. Barrado, B. López-Martí, L. Sarro-Baro (LAEX/Centro de Astrobiología, Spain)
  • Fernando Comerón (European Southern Observatory, Germany)
  • Juan M. Alcalá (INAF-OA, Italy)

 

Publications

Personal Homepage

 

Project/mission at ESA: Herschel

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Jan-Uwe Ness

Astronomer

 

Main research fields

X-ray observations of Classical Nova outburst; Stellar Activity and Stellar Coronae

Nova explosions occur in accreting cataclysmic binary systems and are powered by explosive nuclear burning of hydrogen-rich material that has previously been accreted by the white dwarf primary. The explosion ejects material at high velocities which forms an optically thick envelope similar to a stellar atmosphere. The outflow of mass decreases with time, and as a consequence the opacity of the envelope changes. This allows successively deeper views into the outflow where it is hotter, shifting the peak of the observable spectrum to successively shorter wavelengths (=higher energies). After a few weeks to months (sometimes years), the envelope becomes bright in X-rays with a spectrum of an X-ray atmosphere. During this phase, the X-ray spectrum of the nova resembles those of the class of Super Soft X-ray Binary Sources (SSS).

My work involves XMM-Newton, Chandra, and Swift X-ray and UV spectroscopy and monitoring observations of novae during the SSS phase. The X-ray spectra can be fitted with Blackbody curves, but they are a lot more complex. The high-resolution spectra contain deep absorption lines that are broadened and oftentimes significantly blue-shifted. The Swift monitoring light curves show extremely high degrees of variability, especially during the early SSS phase. The UV and X-ray brightness should be anticorrelated, but this is not always observed.

As a secondary topic I am interested in stellar coronae. The formation and heating of the Solar Corona to 1000 times the photospheric temperature is still an outstanding problem. One approach is to study the coronae around other stars in order to find systematic trends between coronal properties and stellar parameters. High-Resolution X-ray spectra taken with XMM-Newton RGS and Chandra LETGS/HETGS allow measurements of temperatures densities, and elemental abundances.

Keywords

  • Classical Nova Outbursts
  • Super Soft X-ray Binary Sources
  • Single-degenerate Supernova Ia progenitors
  • High-Resolution X-ray spectroscopy
  • Monitoring and spectral changes during stellar flares
  • Simultaneous Doppler Imaging and X-ray spectroscopy

Ongoing collaborations

  • University of Hamburg (Germany: P. Hauschildt, D. van Rossum, J. H.M.M. Schmitt, C. Liefke, U. Wolter, M. Guenter)
  • Harvard University (CfA, USA: J.J. Drake)
  • University of Leicester (UK: J. Osborne)
  • University of Oxford (UK: C. Jordan)
  • Liverpool John Moores University (UK: M. Bode)
  • Arizona State University (USA: S. Starrfield)
  • West Chester University (USA: G. Schwarz)
  • Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA: M. Tsujimoto)

Publications

Project/mission at ESA: XMM-Newton

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Maria Santos Lleo

Astronomer

Main research field

Active Galactic Nuclei, with particular emphasis on Seyfert galaxies and Starburst-AGN connections and a multiwavelength (optical-UV and X-ray) approach.

Keywords

  • AGN
  • Seyfert galaxies
  • Starburst galaxies
  • LLAGN
  • LIRG
  • X-ray astronomy
  • High resolution X-ray spectroscopy
  • X-ray emission of AGNs

Ongoing collaborations

  • LAEFF, Madrid, Spain
  • UNAM, Mexico
  • UAM Madrid, Spain
  • CSIC Madrid, Spain
Publications

Project/mission at ESA: XMM-Newton

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Norbert Schartel

Astronomer

Main research field

My main functional role at ESA is Project Scientist for XMM-Newton. My research focuses on the X-ray emission of AGNs and currently my main interest is on the origin of X-ray weakness in some quasars. I work with data from XMM-Newton.

Keywords

  • X-ray emission of AGNs
  • X-ray weak quasars
  • Relativistically broad iron line around black holes
  • Ionized absorbers

Ongoing collaborations

  • MPE, Garching, Germany
  • ESO, Garching, Germany
  • Instituto de Física de Cantabria, Santander, Spain
  • Osservatorio Astronomico di Roma, Italy
Publications

Project/mission at ESA: XMM-Newton

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This page was first created on 12 August, 2008 and was last updated on 10 December, 2013.
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