21-24 January 2019

Max Planck Institute for Astronomy, Heidelberg

Astronomical Time Series 2019

A workshop on time variable phenomena in astronomy


The theme of the workshop is astronomical time series, focusing in particular on flux variability of all types and timescales (stellar pulsations, explosions, transits, microlensing, transients, etc.). The goal of the workshop is to learn from each other, not only about science results achieved so far, but also about detection and analysis techniques - finding the needle in the haystack, dealing with systematics and false positives, characterizing light curves - as well as future observational initiatives. We hope that this workshop could lead to some new collaborations, or some initial joint studies in that direction. In addition to 30-minute talks, there will be time for unconferenced sessions and informal discussions.


Participation is by invitation

Rene Andrae, MPIA Heidelberg
Iair Arcavi, Tel Aviv University
Coryn Bailer-Jones, MPIA Heidelberg
Dalya Baron, Tel Aviv University
Eric Bellm, University of Washington
Jeroen Bouwman, MPIA Heidelberg
Subo Dong, Kavli Institute Beijing
Nestor Espinoza, MPIA Heidelberg
Simchon Faigler, Tel Aviv University
Morgan Fouesneau, MPIA Heidelberg
Nikos Gianniotis, HITS Heidelberg
Andy Gould, MPIA Heidelberg
Matthew Graham, Caltech
Leanne Guy, LSST
Na'ama Hallakoun, Tel Aviv University
Saskia Hekker, MPS Göttingen
Simon Hodgkin, IoA Cambridge
Assaf Horesh, Hebrew University
Markus Hundertmark, ZAH Heidelberg
Laura Inno, MPIA Heidelberg
Chris Kochanek, Ohio State University
Szymon Kozłowski, Warsaw University
Natalie Lubelchick, Tel Aviv University
Dan Maoz, Tel Aviv University
Tsevi Mazeh, Tel Aviv University
Karri Muinonen, Helsinki University
Hagai Netzer, Tel Aviv University
Eran Ofek, Weizmann Institute of Science
Aviad Panahi, Tel Aviv University
Dovi Poznanski, Tel Aviv University
Sandra Raimundo, Copenhagen University
Betina Reyna, Weizmann Institute of Science
Joris De Ridder, Leuven University
Hans-Walter Rix, MPIA Heidelberg
Matthias Samland, MPIA Heidelberg
Paula Sarkis, MPIA Heidelberg
Sarah Schmidt, AIP Potsdam
Maria Süveges, MPIA Heidelberg
Yiannis Tsapras, ZAH Heidelberg
Joachim Wambsganss, ZAH Heidelberg
Barak Zackay, IAS Princeton
Shay Zucker, Tel Aviv University

Left to right, back to front:
4th row: Samland, Sarkis, Hundertmark, Baron, Hallakoun, Espinoza, Zucker, Bouwman, Gianniotis, Bailer-Jones
3rd row: Zackay, Ofek, Arcavi, Netzer, Süveges, Kozłowski, Lubelchick, Panahi, Tsapras, Muinonen
2nd row: Raimundo, Dong, Poznanski, Graham, Andrae, Gould, Hekker, Bellm, Guy, Fouesneau
1st row: Faigler, Mazeh, Maoz, Kochanek, Reyna, De Ridder, Schmidt, Inno, Hodgkin
Missing: Horesh, Rix, Wambsganss


Each talk is 30min total (≤25min talk + ≥5min discussion).
Uncoferenced sessions are parallel discussion sessions which will be organized during the meeting.
Presentations can be downloaded here (collection not yet complete).


08:30 - 09:00 boot-up
09:00 - 10:30 Session 1a: Welcome; participant introductions ("elevator pitches") (Chair: Coryn Bailer-Jones)
10:30 - 11:00 Coffee break
11:00 - 12:30 Session 1b: Gaia (Chair: Morgan Fouesneau)
Characterisation and classification of Gaia time series. Maria Süveges, MPIA
Astroseismology and Gaia. Joris De Ridder, Leuven
Gaia photometric alerts. Simon Hodgkin, IoA
13:00 - 14:00 Lunch break
14:00 - 15:30 Session 1c: Unconferenced
15:30 - 16:00 Coffee break
16:00 - 17:30 Session 1d: AGN (Chair: Saskia Hekker)
Flaring AGN. Benny Trakhtenbrot, TAU (given by Iair Arcavi)
AGN that show extreme variability. Sandra Raimundo, Copenhagen
How to disentangle accretion disk and emission line variations in AGN. Hagai Netzer, TAU
Reception and planetarium show (at the workshop venue)


08:30 - 09:00 boot-up
09:00 - 10:30 Session 2a: Analysis methods (Chair: Eran Ofek)
Finding simple structures in complex datasets. Dalya Baron, TAU
Using causal connections in datasets to distinguish between noise and signal. Jeroen Bouwman, MPIA
Anomaly detection - from spectra to time series. Dovi Poznanski, TAU
10:30 - 11:00 Coffee break
11:00 - 12:30 Session 2b: Exoplanets and asteroids (Chair: Hans-Walter Rix)
Searching for planets around white dwarfs: the curious case of WD1145+017. Na'ama Hallakoun, TAU
Asteroid lightcurve inversion using Bayesian inference. Karri Muinonen, Helsinki
13:00 - 14:00 Lunch break
14:00 - 15:30 Session 2c: Exoplanets (Chair: Sarah Schmidt)
Planet detection pipeline for Kepler and TESS. Jon Jenkins, NASA/Ames
Using deep learning to detect transits in the presence of stellar activity. Shay Zucker, TAU
Sniffing exoplanet atmospheres through systematic noise. Nestor Espinoza, MPIA
15:30 - 16:00 Coffee break
16:00 - 17:30 Session 2d: Unconferenced
Workshop dinner (in Heidelberg Altstadt. Start 18:30)
19:30 - 20:30 Time series challenges. Coryn Bailer-Jones and Hans-Walter Rix


08:30 - 09:00 boot-up
09:00 - 10:30 Session 3a: ZTF and LSST (Chair: Dovi Poznanski)
The Zwicky Transient Facility. Matthew Graham, Caltech
Science use of the LSST alert stream. Eric Bellm, Washington
LSST plans for the treatment of time series. Leanne Guy, LSST
10:30 - 11:00 Coffee break
11:00 - 12:30 Session 3b: Unconferenced
13:00 - 14:00 Lunch break
14:00 - 15:30 Session 3c: Supernovae (Chair: Dan Maoz)
The ASAS-SN survey. Chris Kochanek, OSU
"Organized Luck" with ASAS-SN. Subo Dong, Kavli Beijing
15:30 - 16:00 Coffee break
16:00 - 17:30 Session 3d: Stellar variability (Chair: Na'ama Hallakoun)
Time series data of stars with solar-like oscillations. Saskia Hekker, Göttingen
Stellar flares. Sarah Schmidt, AIP
The use of templates to characterise variable stars from sparsely sampled light-curves in all-skytime-domain surveys. Laura Inno, MPIA
Self-organized evening


08:30 - 09:00 boot-up
09:00 - 10:30 Session 4a: Methodology (Chair: Sandra Raimundo)
Time-domain modeling of direct imaging systematics. Matthias Samland, MPIA
Astrometric time series. Eran Ofek, Weizmann
Gaia time series? Just give me a moment! Hans-Walter Rix, MPIA
10:30 - 11:00 Coffee break
11:00 - 12:30 Session 4b: Gravitational waves and eclipsing binaries (Chair: Laura Inno)
Analyzing gravitational wave data - searching for gravitational wave mergers and parameter estimation.Barak Zackay, Princeton IAS
How do we efficiently follow up gravitational wave triggers? Iair Arcavi, TAU
Autoencoding eclipsing binaries. Nikos Gianniotis, HITS
13:00 - 14:00 Lunch break
14:00 - 15:30 Session 4c: Microlensing and wrap-up (Chair: Coryn Bailer-Jones)
Microlensing. Andy Gould, MPIA
Gravitational Microlensing: How photometric and astrometric time series help us determine the exoplanetabundance and measure the masses of isolated stars. Yiannis Tsapras, ZAH
Wrap up
15:30 - 16:00 wind-down

End of workshop


The workshop will be held at the Haus der Astronomie (HdA) at MPIA in Heidelberg. HdA is the Center for Astronomy Education and Outreach in Heidelberg; more information about the center and its facilities and resources can be found here.


HdA itself is disabled accessible, and dedicated parking spaces are available. Unfortunately, the bus for the workshop is not disabled accessible, although there are taxi services in Heidelberg that are. Do please contact us in advance if you need assistance. Note that mobile phone connectivity at/around the HdA is at best poor, but usually non-existent.


Max Planck Institute for Astronomy
Königstuhl 17
69117 Heidelberg


The workshop will start at 09:00 on Monday 21 January 2019 and finish at 16:00 on Thursday 24 January.

There will be a dedicated bus to bring participants from the town to the workshop venue (see details under travel below). The MPIA will cover the cost of lunches at the workshop and the workshop dinner. There is no conference fee. Participants are responsible for organizing their travel to Heidelberg, and should make their own accommodation arrangements (see below).

If you need help with child care arrangements, please contact us.


Lunch and coffee breaks will be provided at the workshop venue on all days of the workshop. Vegetarian options will be available (no need to pre-order). If you have any additional dietary requirements, please email Carola Jordan well in advance.

Workshop dinner

We will hold a workshop dinner on the Tuesday evening at the Palais Prinz Carl on the Kornmarkt. Exact times and menu choices will be provided nearer the time. We will travel together directly from the workshop to the restaurant by bus (leaving MIPA around 18:00). If you don't wish to attend, please email Carola Jordan so we can provide the restaurant with the correct numbers.


Participants are responsible for making their own accommodation arrangements. Heidelberg has plenty of hotel and airbnb options; the following hotels are some suggestions (but we don't endorse any particular hotel).

Hotel Vier Jahreszeiten, Haspelgasse 2, Heidelberg
Hotel Goldene Rose, St. Anna Gasse 7, Heidelberg
Hotel Monpti, Friedrich-Ebert-Anlage 57, Heidelberg
Denner Hotel, Bergheimer Straße 8, Heidelberg
GuestHouse Heidelberg, Bergheimer Straße 24, Heidelberg
Bergheim 41, Bergheimer Straße 41, Heidelberg
Leonardo Hotel, Bergheimer Straße 63, Heidelberg
Qube Hotel, Bergheimer Straße 74, Heidelberg
Hotel NH, Bergheimer Straße 91, Heidelberg


Visa & Flight Information

You may need to apply for a visa to enter Germany. For information by country, see this overview of visa requirements.

We recommend that you fly into Frankfurt Airport (FRA), as this is the nearest international airport to Heidelberg. The following directions to Heidelberg assume that you are starting from Frankfurt.

Getting to Heidelberg


Deutsche Bahn (DB) has connections from Frankfurt Airport (station: Frankfurt(M) Flughafen Fernbahnhof) to various train stations around Heidelberg (likely either Hauptbanhof or Altstadt, depending on where your hotel is). Typically you will take a train to Mannheim and then change platforms there to the S-bahn to Heidelberg. The total travel time is of order one hour. Tickets cost about 25 € each way. The time table is available here. You can buy a ticket in advance, but we don't recommend the cheaper "saver" tickets, as these are tied to a particular train, so won't be valid if your flight is delayed.


A cheaper but slower alternative is the "Flixbus" from the airport to Heidelberg. Prices range from 5-15 € each way, but depending on the time of day the trip could take up to three hours due to stops and traffic. To investigate time tables and book tickets, you can check out the Flixbus website or app.


The two best shuttle options are Transfer & Limousine Service (TLS) (40 € each way) and Lufthansa Express Shuttle (25 € each way).

Driving directions

If you decide to rent a car and drive, you can follow these directions (to MPIA).

Getting to HdA

There will be a shuttle to transport participants from the town centre up the hill to MPIA/HdA every morning. It will leave at or near the Lufthansa bus stop on the west side of the Crowne Plaza Hotel (check this map) on Bahnhofstrasse at 08:15 (bus/company name "discipulus"). It will then stop briefly to pick up at Peterskirche (the stop on the south side of road, i.e. the one closest to the hill) at 08:20 (the bus might only arrive five minutes later here, but be there no later than 08:20 as the bus cannot wait). A local participant will be at each of the pick up points and will travel with the bus. A bus will bring participants back into town (the same two stops) after the workshop each day (except Tuesday, when we have the dinner).

At other times of the day you can take Bus 30 - the "Science Bus" - up to MPIA (the bus will drop you off right outside HdA) or back down the hill (you probably want to get off at Peterskirche). A map of the entire bus/tram network is here (the MPIA is slightly below and right of the centre). You can buy tickets online or at ticket machines or (if that fails) from the driver on the bus (the cost is approximately 2.50 € each way). Note that where the Science Bus departs - Universitätsplatz - to go up to MPIA is not far from Peterskirche. There is a also a taxi stand near there if all else fails.

Exploring Heidelberg

The easiest way to explore Heidelberg is by foot. Public transportation in Heidelberg is provided by the Rhein-Neckar-Verkehr (RNV) in the form of buses and trams; these can take you more or less anywhere you want to go within the city. The timetables can be found online; you can also download various apps to help you plan, e.g. the official RNV app (in german) or the VRN Ticket app (in english).