University of Heidelberg

The Galactic Archaeology group


14 Dec. 2012 - Registrations are open for the 2013 edition of the course on Abundance Analysis of Cool Stars

1-3 Oct. 2012 - the 2nd CO5BOLD workshop, organized by our group, takes place at the IWH

7 Sep. 2012 - Camilla's nice work on silver nucleosynthesis gained her a mention on National Geographic magazine.

1 Aug. 2012 - Sonia Duffau, previously postdoc at ARI, starts working with us today. Sonia is an expert in RR Lyr variable stars, and will mostly focus on collaborating to the group activity within the Gaia ESO survey.

15 May 2012 - Anders Thygesen joined our group as PhD student under the supervision of L. Sbordone and N. Christlieb. He will be measuring Mg isotopic ratios in globular cluster and field stars as a probe of the effects of AGB chemical enrichment.

For olds (=old news), check out our news archive.

The schedule and paper list for this semester Journal Club is here


The Galactic Archaeology Group at Landessternwarte Heidelberg is concerned with the search for the most metal-poor and hence oldest stars of the Galaxy, and the determination of their chemical abundance patterns.
These stars are important tools for studying, e.g., the formation and chemical evolution of the Galaxy, the properties (e.g., mass, rotation) of the first generation of massive stars which exploded as type II supernovae and nucleosynthesis processes that occurred in them. For a recent review of the field see Beers & Christlieb (2005, ARA&A 43, 531)

We are involved in the following survey projects:

  • The Hamburg/ESO objective-prism survey (HES) The search for metal-poor stars in the HES is lead by Norbert Christlieb. The current record holders for the most heavy-element deficient stars known, HE 1327-2326 and HE 0107-5240 were both found in the HES. This project is now reaching completion.
  • A new spectroscopic wide-angle survey for metal-poor stars in the northern hemisphere using the Chinese 4m LAMOST survey telescope. P.I.'s are Gang Zhao and Norbert Christlieb.
  • A photometric survey for metal-poor stars in the southern hemisphere based on the data to be collected with the SkyMapper telescope. This effort is lead by Stefan Keller.
High-resolution spectroscopy of confirmed metal-poor stars is obtained with VLT (UVES), Keck I (HIRES), Subaru (HDS), Magellan (MIKE). We use MARCS model atmospheres calculated in Uppsala and 3D hydrodynmical model atmospheres calculated by us for the determination of the abundance patterns of the stars. We compare these patterns with nucleosynthesis calculations done in our group and in collaboration with colleagues in Mainz and elsewhere.

Members of the group

Image of Elisabetta Caffau Image of Norbert Christlieb Sonia Duffau
Camilla Hansen
Elisabetta Caffau Norbert "Animal" Christlieb Sonia Duffau
Camilla Juul Hansen
Gliese Fellow Drum battle combatant Postdoc (SFB 881)
Postdoc (SFB 881)
Abundance analysis of cool stars STAAARS!!! HAHAHAAA!! RR Lyr stars
MW Halo substructures
Spectroscopy and abundance analysis of cool stars

Terese Hansen
Image of Nikolay Kacharov Image of Andreas Koch Image of Hans Ludwig
Terese Hansen Nikolay Kacharov Andreas Koch Hans Ludwig
PhD student PhD student Emmy-Noether-Research Group leader Senior postdoc
Spectroscopy and abundance analysis of extremely metal poor stars Abundances in globular clusters Formation histories of galactic halos Stellar atmospheres
Image of Luca Sbordone Anders Thygesen
Image of Pier-Emmanuel Tremblay Image of Barbara Wright
Luca Sbordone Anders Thygesen
Pier-Emmanuel Tremblay Barbara Wright
Postdoc (SFB 881; from 15 June 2011) PhD student
Humboldt Fellow Admininstrative Assistant
Metal-poor stars Mg isotopic ratios
in globular clusters
and field stars
Stellar atmospheres and white dwarfs


Please see ADS.

Suggestions for Diploma theses

  • Selection of candidates for metal-poor outer halo stars in the HES, using kinematic information. The thesis work might include own follow-up observations in Chile or Australia.
  • Homogeneous analysis of about 10,000 follow-up spectra of candidate metal-poor stars from the HES. The thesis work might include own follow-up observations in Chile or Australia.
  • Development of automated spectral classification of medium-resolution LAMOST spectra.
  • Development of methods for stellar parameter determination based on LAMOST spectra and SDSS photometry.
  • Development of automated abundance analysis methods to be applied to SDSS spectra.


2013 Block course on "Abundance Analysis of Cool Stars"

See also Norbert's PIzzA Night talk (SS08), here (PDF, 6.1 MB). For more information, please contact N.Christlieb (at)
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