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Wien University

Published on 26 February 2019

Participant 6, University of Wien

The University of Vienna is, with ~96000 students and 9600 employees (of which 6800 are scientists) one of the largest universities in Europe. Its Department of Astrophysics hosts approximately 60 researchers in various groups focusing on star and planet formation, exoplanets and habitability, stellar astronomy, late stages of stellar evolution, the interstellar medium, galaxy formation and evolution, and astrodynamics. Research is conducted both in observational and theoretical domains, the latter supported by high performance computing opportunities with the Vienna Scientific Cluster. The Department leads the largest Austrian national astronomy research program, devoted to studies of the origins of habitable environments on planets. There is significant involvement in instrument development for various space missions, presently CHEOPS (ESA), PLATO (ESA), ARIEL (ESA), SMILE (ESA/China), Gaia (ESA), Athena (ESA), and Spica (proposed; ESA/Japan), with previous contributions to CoRoT (France), MOST (Canada), Herschel (ESA), focusing on on-board software development. The Department also acted as the PI institute of the first Austrian satellite BRITE as part of the BRITE-Constellation network of photometric nanosats, and furthermore hosts a Co-PI of MIRI on JWST (NASA/ESA/CSA). About a decade ago, several research groups got involved in a vigorous program for software contributions to ESO observatories (including MATISSE), now working in a national program contributing to the E-ELT instruments METIS, MICADO, and MOSAIC and including all other Austrian university institutes of astronomy. The Department supports a diverse public-outreach program, including monthly evening talks at the observatory, public guided tours and observations with the historical 68 cm refractor, many public talks and school visits.

Role in ExoplANETS_A: The University of Vienna will participate in WP 4 as a co-leader, and as a leader of one of its subtasks. M. Güdel will coordinate and manage EXOPLANET activities at Vienna.