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 icon0000-0003-2616-4137


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 volunteering in the public outreach activities of the House of Astronomy (HdA) as an outreach fellow. In this position, I guide visiting groups to the HdA planetarium and the facilities at MPIA campus on mount Königstuhl. For more outreach activities, check out the OUTREACH section.


Speckle Holography of dense stellar systems

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), using the NIR imager LBT/LUCI with a new detector readout scheme. Furthermore, we are about to develop an integrated reduction and analysis software suite that is capable of reducing corresponding data and reconstructing the image with speckle holography.

Spectroastrometry of quasar broad emission line regions

We study the structure and extent of the broad emission line regions (BLRs) in active galactic nuclei (AGN). This information is crucial for estimating the masses of central super-massive black holes (SMBHs) of galaxies. Traditionally, this quantity is estimated using methods such as kinematic models of galaxies, which underlies significant uncertainties. Another method for measuring the extent of BLRs is reverberation mapping, where one compares the NIR echo of the BLR gas to increases in X-ray to optical luminosity. This technique is, however, restricted to AGN with a spatial extent of the BLR up to a few tens of light days due to monitoring schedule constraints of such sources. Now, the luminosity-size relation restricts the applicability to low-luminosity AGN and for detectability reasons this restricts the method to targets at low redshift.

Stern et al. (2015) suggest to extent BLR radius measurements to higher redshifts by applying the method of spectroastrometry to AGN. This technique has been used in studies of protoplanetary disks around young stellar objects and theory predicts that this technique is capable of directly measuring black hole masses of high-luminosity and high-redshift quasars. Therefore, we now study the application of this method to AGN BLRs with data obtained with the echelle spectrograph Gemini/GNIRS.

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 published in A&A, see PUBLICATIONS.

Publications and other scientific contributions


A complete list can be found at ADSABS.

Subm. Multiwavelength dust reverberation mapping of nearby Active Galactic Nuclei
J. Esser, J.-U. Pott, K. Schnülle, H.-W. Rix, H. Landt, F. Bosco, F. Pozo Nuñez, J. Greiner, and R. Lachaume
Submitted to A&A
2020 SOWAT: High-resolution imaging with only partial AO correction
F. Bosco, J.-U. Pott & R. Schödel
Published in the Proceedings of the IAU Symposium 351
2019 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, A. Ahmadi, J.C. Mottram, Th. Henning, M. Beltran, L.T. Maud, F. Bosco, S. Leurini, T. Peters, P. Klaassen, R. Kuiper, S. Feng, J.S. Urquhart, L. Moscadelli,T. Csengeri, S. Lumsden, J.M. Winters, S. Suri, Q. Zhang, R. Pudritz, A. Palau, K.M. Menten, R. Galvan-Madrid, F. Wyrowski, P. Schilke, Á. Sánchez-Monge, H. Linz, K.G. Johnston, I. Jiménez-Serra, S. Longmore, and T. Möller
Published in A&A
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, A. Ahmadi, J. C. Mottram, R. Kuiper, H. Linz, L. Maud, J. M. Winters, T. Henning, S. Feng, T. Peters, D. Semenov, P. D. Klaassen, P. Schilke, J. S. Urquhart, M. T. Beltrán, S. L. Lumsden, S. Leurini, L. Moscadelli, R. Cesaroni, Á. Sánchez-Monge, A. Palau, R. Pudritz, F. Wyrowski, S. Longmore
Published in A&A
SOWAT: Speckle Observations with Alleviated Turbulence
F. Bosco, J.-U. Pott & R. Schödel
Published in PASP
2018 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, H. Linz, Th. Henning, J. M. Winters, R. Kuiper, R. Pudritz, Á. Sánchez-Monge, E. Keto, M. Beltran, S. Bontemps, R. Cesaroni, T. Csengeri, S. Feng, R. Galvan-Madrid, K. G. Johnston, P. Klaassen, S. Leurini, S. N. Longmore, S. Lumsden, L. T. Maud, K. M. Menten, L. Moscadelli, F. Motte, A. Palau, T. Peters, S. E. Ragan, P. Schilke, J. S. Urquhart, F. Wyrowski, H. Zinnecker
Published in A&A
Fragmentation and disk formation during high-mass star formation. IRAM NOEMA (Northern Extended Millimeter Array) large program CORE
H. Beuther, J.C. Mottram, A. Ahmadi, F. Bosco, H. Linz, Th. Henning, P. Klaassen, J.M. Winters, L.T. Maud, R. Kuiper, D. Semenov, C. Gieser, T. Peters, J.S. Urquhart, R. Pudritz, S.E. Ragan, S. Feng, E. Keto, S. Leurini, R. Cesaroni, M. Beltran, A. Palau, A. Sanchez-Monge, R. Galvan-Madrid, Q. Zhang, P. Schilke, F. Wyrowski, K.G. Johnston, S.N. Longmore, S. Lumsden, M. Hoare, K.M. Menten, T. Csengeri
Published in A&A


VEGAPyA Virtual Exposure Generator for Astronomy in Python
KeplerFitA small piece of code to fit a Keplerian velocity distribution model to position-velocity data (Python)

Contributed talks

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

Poster contributions

2019SOWAT: Speckle Observations With Alleviated Turbulence
IAU Symposium 351 - MODEST 19
Bologna, Italy
2016Fragmentation, rotation and disk formation in the high-mass star-forming region IRAS 23033+5951
Heidelberg-Harvard workshop on star formation
HdA Heidelberg, Germany
Fragmentation, rotation and disk formation in the high-mass star-forming region IRAS 23033+5951
9th IRAM interferometry school
IRAM Grenoble, France

Schools and Workshops

2019AO4ASTRO workshop on adaptive optics systems and PSF reconstruction
Laboratoire d'Astrophysique de Marseille (LAM), France
2018NYRIA workshop on astronomical instrumentation
Sterrewacht Leiden, The Netherlands
2017Adaptive optics summer school
CFAO Santa Cruz, USA
20169th IRAM interferometry school
IRAM Grenoble, France



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

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


Outreach fellow at the House of Astronomy

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 volunteering Outreach Fellows, of which I am one. As part of these tours, we present highlights of the astronomical research of the six institutes in Heidelberg that are actively involved in astronomical research. We invite our guests to a flight through the Universe in the Zeiss-Planetarium of the HdA and guide through the facilities on campus, such as the 70cm KING telescope, the Model of the Hundred Closest Stars or the infrared space astronomy lab.

Other outreach activities are for instance the representation of the MPIA at the Explore Science fair in Mannheim (2018 and 2019), or the astronomical exhibition at the DAI, in Heidelberg during the Max Planck week in 2018.

Astronomy workshops for beginners

Besides the official outreach activities related to the MPIA or HdA, I developed a workshop on the formation of stars where participants are invited to a journey to the stars. In an interactive simulation, the participants mimic the key steps of the formation of stars, such as fragmentation of the parental molecular clouds and the formation of planetary systems around the stars.



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

Working experience

10/2017 - 09/2020Predoctoral researcher at the Max Planck Institute for Astronomy: see the RESEARCH section
01/2017 - 08/2017Student assistant at the Max Planck Institute for Astronomy: SNR computations for MICADO speckle PSFs
03/2016 - 04/2016Student assistant at the Max Planck Institute for Astronomy: Editorial assistance for the annual report
03/2015 - 09/2015Teaching assistant at Heidelberg University: Tutorials on Mathematics and Physics for students of Medicine
05/2013 - 10/2014Student assistant at Kerntech GmbH: Software development for automated rotor balancing measurements
09/2010 - 05/2011Civil service at Hannover Medical School (MHH): Children Day Care Center

Software experience

OfficeMS Powerpoint, MS Word, MS Excel
ProgrammingPython (NumPy, AstroPy, PyPlot), NI Labview, C++, Yorick
Astronomical SoftwareGILDAS, XCLASS, YAO, SAO ds9
WebdesignHTML, CSS, wordpress


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


Already at the age of 5, I started playing Handball, which is still my favorite sport. I began playing in the youth teams of the VfL Uetze and continued in the senior teams afterwards. At the age of 18 I volunteered to obtain a referee's license and spend even more time on the field and continued, until I left the region for studies. In my last active year, I also volunteered as an interim coach of a youth team.

After starting my Master's studies in Heidelberg, I joined at first the PSV Heidelberg and later on the TSV Wieblingen. There, I'm currently playing in a senior team and I obtained a new license for refereeing matches. Furthermore, I enjoyed sharing my interest in the sport by training a youth team (7-10 years) in the past season.