Max-Planck-Institut für extraterrestrische Physik

(Max Planck Institute for Extraterrestrial Physics)


The institute was founded in 1963 as a sub-institute of the Max-Planck-Institut für Physik und Astrophysik and established as an independent institute in 1991. Its main research topics are astronomical observations in spectral regions (such as Far-Infrared, X-ray and Gamma-ray) which are only accessible from space because of the absorbing effects of the Earth's atmosphere, as well as in-situ measurements in near-Earth space investigating the collisionless interaction of cosmic plasmas.

Scientific work is done in four major research areas that are supervised by one of the directors, respectively: optical and interpretative astronomy (Bender), infrared and sub-millimeter/millimeter astronomy (Genzel), X-ray and gamma-ray astronomy (Hasinger), and theory, whereby this group also engages in experimental investigations of colloidal plasmas (Morfill). Within these areas scientists lead individual experiments and research projects organised in about 25 project teams. The research topics range from the physics of cosmic plasmas and of stars to the physics and chemistry of interstellar matter, from star formation and nucleosynthesis to extragalactic astrophysics and cosmology.

The theory division of the institute covers all the research topics. Especially the results in the area of ``analysis of complex systems'' are developed into applications in medicine (early diagnostics of skin cancer, tumours, prenatal surveillance), engineering (manufactoring processes and quality control), and pharmacology (drug testing and design).

More detailed information on the institute and its research areas are available on the institute web pages at
Day of the open door 2003
October 25, 2003

9 am - 4 pm


Program for kids:
(in German)

Address and access


Other participating institutes

last update: 2003-10-20
editor: Helmut Steinle   (email: