ZAH Institutes

ZAH Institutes

The Centre for Astronomy of Heidelberg University (ZAH) is the largest university astronomy group within Germany. Its broad spectrum of scientific activity ranges from research in planet formation and galaxy evolution to cosmology and the development and building of astrophysical instrumentation. The interdependence of the different fields is also reflected in its projects and cooperations.

The ZAH is closely connected to the Department of Physics and Astronomy and cooperates with the Max-Planck Institutes for Astronomy (MPIA) and Nuclear Physics (MPIK) in research as well as in the education of university students.

ZAH Managing Director is Prof. Dr. Cornelis P. Dullemond.

ZAH Scientific Manager is Dr. Guido Thimm.

The ZAH was established in 2005 by joining the following institutes:

Image of the Astronomische Rechen-Institut

Mönchhofstr. 12-14
69120 Heidelberg
Tel: 06221 54 1801

Prof. Dr. Eva K. Grebel
Prof. Dr. Joachim Wambsganss
Prof. Dr. Björn Malte Schäfer

Prof. Dr. Volker Springel (HITS/ZAH)


The Astronomisches Rechen-Institut (ARI) was founded in 1700 in Berlin and was initially tasked with calendrical calculations.  After World War II the institute moved to Heidelberg.  The main research areas at the ARI are extrasolar planets, stellar dynamics, star clusters,  galaxy evolution, galaxy clusters, gravitational lensing, and cosmology.  ARI astronomers use a wide range of ground-based and space-based optical, infrared, and X-ray observatories as well as  high-performance supercomputers.  The ARI has published a long series of fundamental astronomical catalogs and leads the German Astrophysical Virtual Observatory (GAVO).  ARI scientists are heavily involved in the Gaia mission of the European Space Agency (ESA).  The ARI is the PI institution of SFB 881, "The Milky Way System", which funds and coordinates the Heidelberg efforts to explore the evolutionary history of the Milky Way.  The ARI is also involved in several other international projects (including RAVE, Pan-STARRS, LAMOST, GREAT, LEGUS, HTTP, 4MOST, and microlensing networks).

Image of the Institut für Theoretische Astrophysik

Albert-Ueberle-Str. 2 and Philosophenweg 12
69120 Heidelberg
Tel. (AU-2): 06221 54 4837
Tel. (Phil-12): 06221 54 4703

Prof. Dr. Matthias Bartelmann
Prof. Dr. Cornelis P. Dullemond
Prof. Dr. Ralf S. Klessen

Prof. Dr. Fritz Röpke (HITS/ZAH)


The Institut für Theoretische Astrophysik (ITA) of the university of Heidelberg was established by merging the two chairs for theoretical astrophysics. At ITA, a variety of astrophysical subjects is studied theoretically. Among them are the formation of stars and planets, stellar astrophysics, astro-chemistry, hydrodynamics and radiation transport as well as cosmology, in particular the theory of structure formation in the dark universe. This research focuses on the questions how stars and planets form and evolve, and how the mysteries of dark matter and dark energy can be decrypted. ITA is involved in several national and European research projects, among them the SFB 439 "Galaxies in the Young Universe", the Transregio-SFB 33 "The Dark Universe", the Research Group 759 "The Formation of Planets" and the European RTN Network "DUEL". In addition, ITA participates in the European satellite projects "Planck" and "Dune".

Image of the Landessternwarte Königstuhl

69117 Heidelberg
Tel.: 06221 54 1700

Prof. Dr. Andreas Quirrenbach
Prof. Dr. Norbert Christlieb

The observatory at Königstuhl was inaugurated on 20th June 1898 by the grand duke Friedrich I. of Baden. The contemporary Landessternwarte Königstuhl (LSW) is active in the fields of stellar and extragalactic astrophysics. It is involved in the development and building of the Lucifer-spectrograph for the near infrared at the Large Binocular Telescope. In the domain of high-energy astrophysics the LSW participates in the H.E.S.S.-teleskope in Namibia. Special emphasis is taken on active galaxies and quasars also supported by optical observations and theoretical work. Another working group on stellar physics isengaged in hot stars and compact objects. The technique of interferometry is developed for ESO telscopes (VLTI) and used especially for the search of extra-solar planets.

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