Felix Bosco | Max Planck Institute for Astronomy
Welcome! Max Planck Institute for Astronomy
Königstuhl 17
69117 Heidelberg

phone: +49 6221/ 528 489
email: bosco at mpia.de
ORCID iD icon orcid.org/ 0000-0003-2616-4137


I am a PhD student at the Max Planck Institute for Astronomy (MPIA) in Heidelberg and a fellow of the International Max Planck Research School on Astronomy and Cosmic Physics at the University of Heidelberg (IMPRS). Under the supervision of Dr. Jörg-Uwe Pott, I am studying novel methods for approaching the resolution limits of current 8m-class telescopes. In my first project, we analyze the benefit of applying image reconstruction algorithms on imaging data, obtained with partial AO correction, to reach the diffraction limit of the telescope and in the second project we work on high-precision spectro-astrometric measurements of broad emission line regions (BLR) of active galactic nuclei (AGNs). For details you may take a look at the RESEARCH section.

Besides the research, I am engaged in the public outreach activities at the House of Astronomy in Heidelberg as an outreach fellow. In this position, I guide visiting groups to the planetarium and the MPIA campus on mount Königstuhl, for more examples see the OUTREACH section.


Speckle Holography

Adaptive optics (AO) systems and image reconstruction algorithms are indispensable tools when it comes to high-resolution astrometry, especially when observations at the resolution limit of the telescope are desired. In this project, we analyze the potential of combining both techniques, i.e. by applying image reconstruction on AO corrected short exposures. For this purpose, we simulate speckle clouds with and without AO corrections in the end-to-end AO simulation tool YAO (Rigaut & van Dam, 2013) and create synthetic observations, including all relevant noise contributions, using the PYTHON package VEGAPy. We reconstruct the object with the holographic imaging algorithm (Schödel et al. 2012, 2013) to the obtained observations and find that using (partial) AO corrections enables the use of fainter holography reference stars and/or longer integration times. Both extent the applicability of the speckle imaging technique, fainter reference stars enable studying fainter fields and longer integration times enable the use of slower detectors. The results are published by PASP, see PUBLICATIONS. Currently we work on implementing a corresponding observing mode at the large binocular telescope (LBT, Arizona, USA), for LBT/LUCI.


In the second project, we will estimate the extent of broad emission line regions (BLRs) in active galactic nuclei (AGNs) which is a means to estimate the mass of central super-massive black holes (SMBHs) of galaxies. This quantity is usually estimated using the method of reverberation mapping which is, however, restricted to low-luminosity AGNs which are required to be spatially resolved, i.e. this technique is restricted to AGNs at low redshift (z < 2.5). These limits are in theory overcome by the method of spectroastrometry what we will be testing on VLT/SINFONI data.

High-mass star formation

The Northern Extended Millimeter Array (NOEMA) large program CORE addresses open questions on the processes clump fragmentation and disk formation during formation of high-mass stars (> 8 M). As part of the survey on twenty high-mass star-forming regions, I analyzed the star forming region IRAS 23033+5951 (or G110.0931-00.0641) for clump fragmentation, circumprotostellar rotation and molecular outflows. The observational data are from NOEMA in three configurations and the IRAM 30-m single-dish telescope at 220 GHz, probing the gas and dust emission at an angular resolution of ~0.44", corresponding to 1900 AU. In the mm continuum emission, we identify a protostellar cluster with at least 9 mm-sources, where three of them show a significantly higher luminosity above a signal-to-noise ratio of 50 in the uniform weighted images. Two of these are embedded in rotating structures and drive molecular outflows, traced in 13CO (2—1) emission. The velocity profiles across the cores are similar to Keplerian but are missing the highest velocity components close to the center of rotation. Position-velocity diagrams suggest protostellar masses of ~ 9 and 20 M. Rotation temperatures from fitting CH3CN (12k—11k) spectra are used for estimating the gas temperature and by that the disk stability against gravitational fragmentation, utilizing the Toomre Q parameter. Considering different disk inclination angles, we do not identify either candidate disk to be significantly unstable against an axisymmetric gravitational collapse. The three dominant sources cover different evolutionary stages within the same maternal gas clump. The rotational and outflow properties of the cores are similar to those found in low-mass star-forming regions The results are accepted for publication A&A, see PUBLICATIONS.

Publications and other scientific contributions


A complete list can be found at ADSABS.

  • SOWAT: High-resolution imaging with only partial AO correction
    F. Bosco, J.-U. Pott & R. Schödel (accepted)
    Proceedings of the IAU Symposium 351
  • Chemical complexity in high-mass star formation: An observational and modeling case-study of the AFGL 2591 VLA 3 hot core
    C. Gieser, D. Semenov, H. Beuther et al. (incl. F. Bosco) (submitted)
  • Fragmentation, rotation, and outflows in the high-mass star-forming region IRAS 23033+5951. A case study of the IRAM NOEMA large program CORE
    F. Bosco, H. Beuther, J.C. Mottram, A. Ahmadi et al. (2019)
    A&A, arXiv, ADS
  • SOWAT: Speckle Observations with Alleviated Turbulence
    F. Bosco, J.-U. Pott & R. Schödel (2019)
    PASP, arXiv, ADS
  • Core fragmentation and Toomre stability analysis of W3(H2O). A case study of the IRAM NOEMA large program CORE
    A. Ahmadi, H. Beuther, J.C. Mottram, F. Bosco, et al. (2018)
    A&A, arXiv, ADS
  • Fragmentation and disk formation during high-mass star formation. IRAM NOEMA (Northern Extended Millimeter Array) large program CORE
    H. Beuther, A. Ahmadi, J. Mottram, F. Bosco, et al. (2018)
    A&A, arXiv, ADS


  • VEGAPy: A Virtual Exposure Generator for Astronomy in Python
  • KeplerFit: A small piece of code to fit a Keplerian velocity distribution model to position-velocity data (Python)

Contributed talks

  • SOWAT: Speckle Observations With Alleviated Turbulence (2019), AO4ASTRO workshop, Laboratoire d'Astrophysique de Marseille (LAM)
  • Diffraction limited star cluster observations from 8m-class telescopes - so what? (2019), Galaxy Coffee, MPIA Heidelberg
  • How to recover diffraction limited observations from simple adaptive optics systems? (2018), jDPG workshop on scientific management, KIP Heidelberg
  • SOWAT: Speckle Observations With Alleviated Turbulence (2018), NYRIA workshop, Sterrewacht Leiden
  • IRAS 23033+5951 (2017), CORE team meeting, Heidelberg
  • The high-mass star-forming region IRAS 23033+5951 (2016), Retreat of the planet and star formation (PSF) department of MPIA, Rothenburg ob der Tauber
  • IRAS 23033+5951 (2016), CORE team meeting, Heidelberg

Poster contributions

  • SOWAT: Speckle Observations With Alleviated Turbulence (2019), IAU Symposium 351 - MODEST, Bologna, Italy
  • Fragmentation, rotation and disk formation in the high-mass star-forming region IRAS 23033+5951, Heidelberg-Harvard Workshop on star formation, Heidelberg
  • Fragmentation, rotation and disk formation in the high-mass star-forming region IRAS 23033+5951, 9th IRAM interferometry school, Grenoble, France

Schools and Workshops

  • AO4ASTRO workshop on adaptive optics systems and PSF reconstruction, Laboratoire d'Astrophysique de Marseille (LAM), FR (Mar 2019)
  • NYRIA workshop on astronomical instrumentation, Sterrewacht Leiden, NL (Oct 2018)
  • Adaptive optics summer school, CFAO, Santa Cruz CA, USA (Aug 2017)
  • 9th IRAM interferometry school, IRAM, Grenoble, France (Nov 2016)


Master thesis
Title: Fragmentation, Rotation and Outflows in the High-Mass Star-Forming Region IRAS 23033+5951
Abstract: more...
Supervisor: Prof. Dr. Henrik Beuther
Insitute: Max Planck Institute for Astronomy, Heidelberg, Germany

Bachelor thesis
Title: Quantitave characterization of the degrees of freedom of suspended test masses for the gravitational wave detection
Abstract: more ...
Supervisor: Prof. Dr. Michele Heurs
Insitute: Max Planck Institute for Graviational Physics/ Albert Einstein Institute, Hannover, Germany


The three institutions on Mount Königstuhl Max Planck Institute for Astronomy (MPIA), Landessternwarte (LSW) of Heidelberg University and the House of Astronomy (HdA) in cooperation offer guided tours through the facilities. The regular tours are guided by the voluntary Outreach Fellows, of which I am one. As part of these tours, we present highlights of the astronomical research of six institutes in Heidelberg. We invite our guests to a flight through the Universe in the Zeiss-Planetarium of the HdA, we visit the 70cm KING telescope, and introduce the stellar neighborhood in the Model of the Hundred Closest Stars. Other outreach activities are for instance the representation of the MPIA at the Explore Science event in 2018, in Mannheim, or the astronomical exhibition at the DAI, in Heidelberg during the Max Planck week in 2018.


A pdf version of my CV is available here (140 KB).


  • since 2017 — PhD studies at MPIA
  • 2014 - 2016 — Master of Science in Physics from Heidelberg University
  • 2011 - 2014 — Bachelor of Science in Physics and Mathematics from the University of Hannover

Working experience

Software experience

  • Office: MS Powerpoint, MS Word, MS Excel
  • Programming: Python (NumPy, AstroPy, PyPlot), NI Labview, C++, HTML, Yorick
  • Astronomical Software: GILDAS, XCLASS, YAO, SAO ds9


  • NYRIA | Network of Young Researchers in Instrumentation for Astronomy
  • Scientists 4 Future | Scientists 4 Future regional group in Heidelberg
  • DPG | Deutsche Physikalische Gesellschaft (German Physical Society), Section Extraterrestrial Physics


Let me introduce you to my all-time favorite hobby, Handball. At the age of 5, I began to play in the youth teams of my home-town club VfL Uetze and continued playing in a senior team later on. Besides playing actively, I obtained a referee's license and spend lots of days in sports halls, until I left the region for studies. After starting my Master's studies in Heidelberg, I joined at first the PSV Heidelberg and later on the TSV Wieblingen. In the latter one, I'm again playing in a senior team and refereeing matches. Furthermore, I enjoyed sharing my interest in the sport by training a youth team (7-10 years) in the past season.