Maximilian N. Günther

Exoplanet Project Scientist (CHEOPS mission).


Main Research Fields

Astrophysicist hunting for (non-)habitable exoplanets, stellar flares, and life.
Hi! I am an astrophysicist hunting for potentially habitable worlds around other stars (exoplanets). I am the Exoplanet Project Scientist for the CHEOPS mission since 2022, and also the Chair of the ESA Exoplanet Team. What fascinates and drives me is the quest to find Earth-sized exoplanets around small stars - and the big question of how their habitability is shaped by stellar outbursts (flares) from their stars. To this end, my research vision combines exoplanet observations with stellar physics and laboratory astrobiology.

My multidisciplinary career allowed me to explore a breadth of research fields before joining ESA: I started by studying physics in Würzburg, Germany, from 2009-2012, writing my bachelor's thesis on intense radiation sources near black holes (mega-masers). Broadening my horizons, I then moved continents for my Master's and researched genetic diseases in a biophysics lab in Austin, TX, USA from 2012-2013. I finally joined the exoplanet field, obtaining my PhD working with Nobel-laureate Didier Queloz in Cambridge, UK from 2014-2018. From there, I continued and expanded this research autonomously as a Torres Fellow at MIT, MA, USA, from 2018-2021, and latest as a Research Fellow at ESA from 2021-2022.

Email  •  Personal Website    ​​​​​​Personal Twitter    Personal GitHub  •  Personal LinkedIn


  • Exoplanets and Habitability
  • Stellar Flares and Cool Stars
  • Machine Learning and Bayesian Statistics

Ongoing collaborations

  • CHaracterising ExOPlanet Satellite (CHEOPS)
  • Transiting Exoplanet Survey Satellite (TESS)
  • Search for habitable Planets EClipsing ULtra-cOOl Stars (SPECULOOS)
  • Antarctic Search for Transiting ExoPlanets (ASTEP)
  • Next Generation Transit Survey (NGTS)


       1 as supervisor ⋅ 8 as lead ⋅ 15 as co-lead ⋅ 67 as co-author ⋅ 91 total ⋅ h-index≥25 ⋅ citations≥2,000

Full list
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ESTEC Office BA117