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Dr. Andreas Koch
ZAH, Astronomisches Rechen-Institut
Mönchhofstr. 12
D-69120 Heidelberg
Phone: ++49-6221-54-1841
E-mail:andreas (dot) koch (at)


I am a tenured research astronomer and my research focuses on the study of the Milky Way Galaxy using a variety of tracers and methods. As such, I study all questions related to ``Galactic Astronomy'', mainly through the tool of ``chemical tagging''. Overall, my interests include

Alpha-elements in the bulge, thin, and thick disk, and the star cluster Gaia 1 Chemical abundance measurements in and orbital histories of globular clusters, dwarf galaxies, and field stars in the various Galactic components (disks/bulge/halo).
Rotation curve of the metal-poor GC NGC 6426 Dynamical studies of star clusters, dark matter in dwarf galaxies.
Tidally disrupted HCC-087 Morphology of galaxies in the Local Universe.

Student projects

All the above research projects offer a broad range and great pool for Bachelor, Master, or PhD theses. Possible projects involve

  • A Chemical characterization of very wide binaries (at separations of up to 1 pc).
  • Chemodynamic characterisation of low-latitude star clusters.
  • Properties of dwarf galaxies in the vicinity of galaxies in the Local Volume, and the relation to the host galaxies' halos.
Please contact me if you are interested.


As my research is primarily observationally based, data for the projects I and my collaborators are involved in come from a variety of sources.
Some relevant examples (not to mention the obvious multi-object instruments such as ESO's FLAMES are listed here.

  • Over the years, I have been majorly involved in planning for the 4-metre Multi-Object Spectroscopic Telescope (4MOST) survey, and my group have largely contributed to setting the instrument's specification, with first publications being Caffau et al. (2013) and Hansen et al. (2016).
  • We are currently carrying out a spectroscopic survey with AAOMega to target unknown star clusters at low Galactic latitudes (see also these recent examples on FSR 1716, Gaia 1, and ESO452-Sc11.
  • Using a dedicated 70-cm telescope in Lockwood Valley, CA (USA), we are conducting the ``Halos and EnviRonments Of Near-by galaxies (HERON)'' survey that aims at measuring the properties of galaxies in the Local Volume to unprecedented, low surface brightnesses.
  • My group has developed a narrow-band system for the LBT/LBC to target C- and M-stars as tracers of recent star formation event in galaxies such as Andromeda (M31).

News & job opportunities

  • Postdoc position available:
  • Two PhD position available:
  • Nov. 30, 2018: We have officially been awarded the third extension of SFB 881 ``The Milky System''. Within this huge, collaborative research center that encompasses all of Heidelberg's six astronomy institutes, my group was awared three projects (see also the student opportunities above). These comprise:
    • A03: Wide binaries (PhD)
    • A05: Low-latitude star clusters (PhD)
    • A11: The chemodynamic properties of the oldest components of the Galactic bulge (Postdoc)
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