Maximilian N. Günther

European Space Agency (ESA) Fellow

 

Main Research Fields

Advancing our understanding of the link between stellar flares and exoplanet habitability
 
Maximilian is an astrophysicist hunting for potentially habitable worlds around other stars (exoplanets). His multidisciplinary career let him explore a breadth of research fields before joining ESA: He started by studying physics in Würzburg, Germany, writing his bachelor's thesis on intense radiation sources near black holes (mega-masers). Broadening his horizons, he then moved continents for his Master's and researched genetic diseases in a biophysics lab in Austin, TX, USA. Maximilian finally joined the exoplanet field, obtaining his PhD working with Nobel-laureate Didier Queloz in Cambridge, UK. He continued and expanded this research autonomously as a Torres Fellow at MIT, MA, USA.
 
Throughout, Maximilian became fascinated by the quest to find Earth-sized exoplanets around small stars - and the big question of how stellar outbursts (flares) from these stars impact the habitability of their planets. To this end, his research vision combines exoplanet observations with stellar physics and laboratory astrobiology. Maximilian first will leverage optical data from space- and ground-based observatories to identify the best candidates using machine learning. He then aims to use simultaneous coverage with ESA's XMM-Newton and NASA/ESA Hubble space telescopes to add X-ray/UV insights. With this, he ultimately seeks to identify which exoplanets might receive the right X-ray/UV flare energy to trigger and sustain life.

Keywords

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

Ongoing collaborations

  • 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)

Publications

Overview
       1 as supervisor ⋅ 8 as lead ⋅ 14 as co-lead ⋅ 58 as co-author ⋅ 81 total ⋅ h-index≥21 ⋅ citations≥1,500

Peer-reviewed, as a supervisor

  • Badenas-Agusti, M., Günther, M.N., et al., 2020, HD 191939: Three Sub-Neptunes Transiting a Sun-like Star Only 54 pc Away, AJ, 160, 113

Peer-reviewed, lead author

  1. Günther, M.N. et al., 2021b, Complex Modulation of Rapidly Rotating Young M Dwarfs: Adding Pieces to the Puzzle, AAS journals, in review (arXiv:2008.11681)
  2. Günther, M.N. & Daylan, T., 2021a, Allesfitter: Flexible Star and Exoplanet Inference From Photometry and Radial Velocity, ApJS, 254, 13
  3. Günther, M.N. et al., 2020, Stellar Flares from the First Tess Data Release: Exploring a New Sample of M Dwarfs, AJ, 159 (2): 60
  4. Günther, M.N. et al., 2019, A Super-Earth and two sub-Neptunes transiting the bright, nearby, and quiet M-dwarf TOI-270, Nature Astronomy, 409
  5. Günther, M.N. et al., 2018, Unmasking the hidden NGTS-3Ab: a hot Jupiter in an unresolved binary system, MNRAS, 478 (4): 4720–4737
  6. Günther, M.N. et al., 2017b, Centroid vetting of transiting planet candidates from the Next Generation Transit Survey, MNRAS, 472 (1): 295-307
  7. Günther, M.N. et al., 2017a, A New Yield Simulator for Transiting Planets and False Positives: Application to the Next Generation Transit Survey, MNRAS, 465 (3): 3379-3389
  8. Günther, M.N. et al., 2016, Quantifying and predicting Drosophila larvae crawling phenotypes, Nature Scientific Reports, 6: 27972

Peer-reviewed, co-lead author

  1. Kaye, L., Vissapragada, S., Günther, M.N., et al., 2021, Transit Timings Variations in the Three-planet System: TOI-270, MNRAS, in print
  2. Schanche N., Pozuelos F.J., Günther, M.N., et al., 2021, TOI-2257 b: A Highly Eccentric Long-Period sub-Neptune Transiting a Nearby M dwarf, A&A, in print
  3. Pope, B.J.S., Callingham, J.R., Feinstein, A., Günther, M.N., et al., 2021, The TESS View of LOFAR Radio-Emitting Stars, ApJ, 919, L10
  4. Feinstein, A., Seligman, D.Z., Günther, M.N., et al., 2021, Testing Self-Organized Criticality Across the Main Sequence using Stellar Flares from TESS, in print (arxiv:2109.07011)
  5. Seager, S., Petkowski J.J., Günther, M.N., et al., 2021, Possibilities for an Aerial Biosphere in Temperate Sub Neptune-Sized Exoplanet Atmospheres, Universe, 7(6), 172
  6. Krishnamutri, A., Knapp, M., Günther, M.N., et al., 2021, Transit Search for Exoplanets around Alpha Centauri A and B with ASTERIA, AJ, 161, 275
  7. Daylan, T., Günther, M. N., et al., 2021, TESS observations of the WASP-121 b phase curve, AJ, 161, 131
  8. Daylan, T., Pingle, K., Wright, J., Günther, M.N., et al., 2021, TESS discovery of a super-Earth and three sub-Neptunes hosted by the bright, Sun-like star HD 108236, AJ, 161, 85
  9. Oláh, K., Kővári, Zs., Günther, M.N. et al., 2021, The true number of flaring giant stars in the Kepler field - Are there flaring specialties associated with the giant nature?, A&A, 647, A62
  10. Kővári, Zs., Oláh, K., Günther, M.N. et al., 2020, Superflares on the late-type giant KIC 2852961 - Scaling effect behind flaring at different energy levels, A&A, 641, A83
  11. Zhan, Z., Günther, M.N., et al., 2019, Complex Rotational Modulation of Rapidly Rotating M-Stars Observed with TESS, ApJ, 876: 127
  12. Dragomir, D., Teske, J., Günther, M.N., et al. 2018, TESS delivers its first Earth-sized planet and a warm sub-Neptune, ApJ, 875: L7
  13. Huang, C.X., Burt, J., Vanderburg, A., Günther, M.N., et al. 2018, TESS Discovery of a Transiting Super-Earth in the Pi Mensae System, ApJ, 868 (2): L39
  14. Armstrong, D.J., Günther, M.N., et al., 2018, Automatic vetting of planet candidates from ground-based surveys: machine learning with NGTS, MNRAS, 478 (3): 4225–4237

Peer-reviewed, co-author

  1. Seligman, D.Z. et al. incl. Günther, M.N., 2021, Theoretical and Observational Evidence for Coriolis Effects in Coronal Magnetic Fields Via Direct Current Driven Flaring Events, AAS Journals, in review (arXiv:2201.03697)
  2. Gill, S. et al. incl. Günther, M.N., 2021, TIC-320687387 B: a long-period eclipsing M-dwarf close to the hydrogen burning limit, MNRAS, in review (arXiv:2201.01713)
  3. Addison, B. et al. incl. Günther, M.N., 2021, TOI-1431b/MASCARA-5b: A Highly Irradiated Ultra-Hot Jupiter Orbiting One of the Hottest & Brightest Known Exoplanet Host Stars, AJ, 162, 292
  4. Vach S., et al. incl. Günther, M.N., 2021, TOI-712: A System of Adolescent mini-Neptunes Extending to the Habitable Zone, AAS Journals, in review (arXiv:2111.02416)
  5. Smith G.D. et al. incl. Günther, M.N., 2021, NGTS clusters survey - III. A low-mass eclipsing binary in the Blanco 1 open cluster spanning the fully convective boundary, MNRAS, 507, 5991
  6. Osborn A. et al. incl. Günther, M.N., 2021, TOI-431/HIP 26013: a super-Earth and a sub-Neptune transiting a bright, early K dwarf, with a third RV planet, MNRAS, 507, 2782
  7. Addison, B. et al. incl. Günther, M.N., 2021, The Youngest Planet to Have a Spin-Orbit Alignment Measurement AU Mic b, AJ, 162, 137
  8. Wells R.D., et al. incl. Günther, M.N., 2021, A large sub-Neptune transiting the thick-disk M4V TOI-2406, A&A, 653, A97
  9. Huber D. et al. incl. Günther, M.N., 2021, A 20-Second Cadence View of Solar-Type Stars and Their Planets with TESS: Asteroseismology of Solar Analogs and a Re-characterization of pi Men c, AAS Journals, in review (arXiv:2108.09109)
  10. Acton J.S., et al. incl. Günther, M.N., 2021, NGTS-19b: a high-mass transiting brown dwarf in a 17-d eccentric orbit, MNRAS, 505, 2741
  11. Costes, J. et al. incl. Günther, M.N., 2021, Long-term stellar activity variations and their effect on radial-velocity measurements, MNRAS, 505, 830
  12. Tilbrook R.H., et al. incl. Günther, M.N., 2021, NGTS 15b, 16b, 17b and 18b: four hot Jupiters from the Next Generation Transit Survey, MNRAS, 504, 6018
  13. Jackman, J. et al. incl. Günther, M.N., 2021, Stellar flares detected with the Next Generation Transit Survey, MNRAS, 504, 3246
  14. Bryant, E.M. et al. incl. Günther, M.N., 2021, A transit timing variation observed for the long-period extremely low-density exoplanet HIP 41378 f, MNRAS, 504, L45
  15. Leleu, A. et al. incl. Günther, M.N., 2021, Six transiting planets and a chain of Laplace resonances in TOI-178, A&A, 649, A26
  16. Guerrero, N. et al. incl. Günther, M.N., 2021, The TESS Objects of Interest Catalog from the TESS Prime Mission, APJS, in print (arXiv:2103.12538)
  17. Grieves, N. et al. incl. Günther, M.N., 2021, NGTS-13b: A hot 4.8 Jupiter-mass planet transiting a subgiant star, A&A, 647, A180
  18. Smith, A. et al. incl. Günther, M.N., 2021, NGTS-14Ab: a Neptune-sized transiting planet in the desert, A&A, 646, A183
  19. Sebstian, D. et al. incl. Günther, M.N., 2021, SPECULOOS: Ultracool Dwarf Transit Survey: Target List and Strategy, A&A, 645, A100
  20. Bryant, E. et al. incl. Günther, M.N., 2020, NGTS-12b: A sub-Saturn mass transiting exoplanet in a 7.53 day orbit, MNRAS, 499, 3139
  21. Acton, J. et al. incl. Günther, M.N., 2020, An eclipsing M-dwarf close to the hydrogen burning limit from NGTS, MNRAS, 498, 3115
  22. Davis, A. B. et al. incl. Günther, M.N., 2020, TOI 564 b and TOI 905 b: Grazing and Fully Transiting Hot Jupiters Discovered by TESS, AJ, 160, 229
  23. Feinstein, A. et al. incl. Günther, M.N., 2020, Flare Statistics for Young Stars from a Convolutional Neural Network Analysis of TESS Data, AJ, 160, 219
  24. Ikwut-Ukwa, M., et al. incl. Günther, M.N., 2020, The K2&TESS Synergy I: Updated Ephemerides and Parameters for K2-114, K2-167, K2-237, & K2-261, AAS journals, AJ, 160, 209
  25. Dei, F. et al. incl. Günther, M.N., 2020, The TESS-Keck Survey III: A Stellar Obliquity Measurement of TOI-1726 c, AJ, 160, 193
  26. Niraula, P., et al. incl. Günther, M.N., 2020, Pi Earth: a 3.14 days Earth-sized Planet from K2's Kitchen served warm by the SPECULOOS Team, AJ, 160, 172
  27. Burt, J. et al. incl. Günther, M.N., 2020, TOI-824 b: A New Planet on the Lower Edge of the Hot Neptune Desert, AJ 160, 153
  28. Mireles, I., et al. incl. Günther, M.N., 2021, TOI 694 b and TIC 220568520 b: Two Low-Mass Companions Near the Hydrogen Burning Mass Limit Orbiting Sun-like Stars, AJ, 160, 133
  29. Rodriguez, J.E. et al. incl. Günther, M.N., 2020, The First Habitable Zone Earth-Sized Planet From TESS II: Spitzer Confirms TOI-700 d, AJ, 160, 117
  30. Rodríguez Martínez, R. et al. incl. Günther, M.N., 2019, KELT-25b and KELT-26b: A Hot Jupiter and a Substellar Companion Transiting Young A-stars Observed by TESS, AJ, 160, 111 (arXiv:1912.01017)
  31. Pozuelos, F. J., et al. incl. Günther, M.N., 2020, GJ 273: On the formation, dynamical evolution and habitability of a planetary system hosted by an M dwarf at 3.75 parsec, A&A, 641, A23
  32. Ducrot, E., et al. incl. Günther, M.N., 2020, TRAPPIST-1: Global Results of the Spitzer Exploration Science Program Red Worlds, A&A, 640, A112
  33. Armstrong, D.J. et al. incl. Günther, M.N., 2020, A remnant planetary core in the hot Neptunian desert, Nature, 583, 7814: 39
  34. Gill, S. et al. incl. Günther, M.N., 2020, NGTS-11 b (TOI-1847 b): A Transiting Warm Saturn Recovered from a TESS Single-transit Event, ApJL, 898, 1: L11
  35. Gill, S. et al. incl. Günther, M.N., 2020, A long-period (P=61.8-d) M5V dwarf eclipsing a Sun-like star from TESS and NGTS, MNRAS, 495, 2713
  36. Murray, C.A.. et al. incl. Günther, M.N., 2020, Photometry and Performance of SPECULOOS-South, MNRAS, 495, 2446
  37. Pepper, J., et al. incl. Günther, M.N., 2020, TESS Reveals HD 118203 b to be a Transiting Planet, AJ, 159, 243
  38. McCormac, J. et al. incl. Günther, M.N., 2020, NGTS-10b: The shortest period hot Jupiter yet discovered, MNRAS, 493, 126
  39. Huang, C.X., et al. incl. Günther, M.N., 2020, TESS Spots a Hot Jupiter with an Inner Transiting Neptune , ApJ, 892 (1): L7
  40. Lendl, M. et al. incl. Günther, M.N., 2020, TOI-222: a single-transit TESS candidate revealed to be a 34-day eclipsing binary with CORALIE, EulerCam and NGTS, MNRAS, 492: 1761L
  41. Shporer, A. et al. incl. Günther, M.N., 2020, GJ 1252 b: A 1.2 Rearth planet transiting an M-dwarf at 20.4 pc, ApJL, 890, L7
  42. Jenkins, J. et a. incl. Günther, M.N., 2020, An ultrahot Neptune in the Neptune desert, Nature Astronomy, 180J
  43. Costes, J. et al. incl. Günther, M.N., 2020, NGTS-8b and NGTS-9b: Two non-inflated hot-Jupiters, MNRAS, 491: 2834C
  44. Gill, S. et al. incl. Günther, M.N., 2020, NGTS and WASP photometric recovery of a single-transit candidate from TESS, MNRAS, 491: 1548G
  45. Jackman, J. et al. incl. Günther, M.N., 2019, NGTS-7Ab: An ultra-short period brown dwarf transiting a tidally-locked and active M dwarf, MNRAS, 489: 5146
  46. West, R.G. et al. incl. Günther, M.N., 2019, NGTS-4b: A sub-Neptune transiting in the desert, MNRAS, 486: 5094
  47. Osborn, H.P. et al. incl. Günther, M.N., 2019, The PDS 110 observing campaign - photometric and spectroscopic observations reveal eclipses are aperiodic, MNRAS, 485: 1614
  48. Rodriguez, J.E. et al. incl. Günther, M.N., 2019, An Eccentric Massive Jupiter Orbiting a Sub-Giant on a 9.5 Day Period Discovered in the Transiting Exoplanet Survey Satellite Full Frame Images, AJ, 157: 191
  49. Shporer, A. et al. incl. Günther, M.N., 2019, TESS Full Orbital Phase Curve of the WASP-18b System, AJ, 157: 178
  50. Eigmüller, P. et al. incl. Günther, M.N. 2019, NGTS-5b - a highly inflated planet offering insights into the sub-Jovian desert, A&A, 625: A142
  51. Songhu, W. et al. incl. Günther, M.N., 2019, HD 202772A b: A Transiting Hot Jupiter around a Bright, Mildly Evolved Star in a Visual Binary Discovered by TESS, AJ, 157, 51.
  52. Jackman, J. et al. incl. Günther, M.N., 2019, Detection of a giant flare displaying quasi-periodic pulsations from a pre-main-sequence M star by the Next Generation Transit Survey, MNRAS, 482 (4): 5553-5566
  53. Raynard, L., et al. incl. Günther, M.N., 2018, NGTS-2b: An inflated hot-Jupiter transiting a bright F-dwarf, MNRAS, 481, 4960–4970
  54. Casewell, S., et al. incl. Günther, M.N., 2018, A low-mass eclipsing binary within the fully convective zone from the Next Generation Transit Survey, MNRAS, 481 (2): 1897–1907
  55. Jackman, J. et al. incl. Günther, M.N., 2018, Ground-based detection of G star superflares with NGTS, MNRAS, 477 (4): 4655–4664
  56. Wheatley, P. et al. incl. Günther, M.N., 2017, The Next Generation Transit Survey (NGTS), MNRAS, 475 (4): 4476-4493
  57. Bayliss, D. et al. incl. Günther, M.N., 2017, NGTS-1b: a hot Jupiter transiting an M-dwarf, MNRAS, 475 (4): 4467-4475
  58. Demory, B.-O. et al. incl. Günther, M.N., 2015, Hubble Space Telescope search for the transit of the Earth-mass exoplanet Alpha Centauri B b, MNRAS, 450 (2): 2043-2051

Software

  • Günther, M.N. & Daylan, T., 2019, allesfitter: Flexible star and exoplanet inference from photometry and radial velocity, Astrophysics Source Code Library (ascl:1903.003)

PhD Thesis

  • Günther, M.N., 2018, Identifying Exoplanets and Unmasking False Positives with NGTS