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)
- NExt Generation Transit Survey (NGTS)

Publications

Overview
1 as supervisor ⋅ 8 as lead ⋅ 11 as co-lead ⋅ 49 as co-author ⋅ h-index≥18 ⋅ citations≥1050

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
- Günther, M.N. et al., 2020c, Complex Modulation of Rapidly Rotating Young M Dwarfs: Adding Pieces to the Puzzle, AAS journals, in review (arXiv:2008.11681)
- Günther, M.N. & Daylan, T., 2020b, Allesfitter: Flexible Star and Exoplanet Inference From Photometry and Radial Velocity, ApJS, 254, 13
- Günther, M.N. et al., 2020a, Stellar Flares from the First Tess Data Release: Exploring a New Sample of M Dwarfs, AJ, 159 (2): 60
- 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
- Günther, M.N. et al., 2018, Unmasking the hidden NGTS-3Ab: a hot Jupiter in an unresolved binary system, MNRAS, 478 (4): 4720–4737
- Günther, M.N. et al., 2017b, Centroid vetting of transiting planet candidates from the Next Generation Transit Survey, MNRAS, 472 (1): 295-307
- 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
- Günther, M.N. et al., 2016, Quantifying and predicting Drosophila larvae crawling phenotypes, Nature Scientific Reports, 6: 27972

Peer-reviewed, co-lead author
- 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
- Kaye, L., Vissapragada, S., Günther, M. N., et al., 2021, Transit Timings Variations in the three-planet system: TOI-270, MNRAS, in review (preprint available)
- 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
- Daylan, T., Günther, M. N., et al., 2021, TESS observations of the WASP-121 b phase curve, AJ, 161, 131
- 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
- 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
- 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
- Zhan, Z., Günther, M. N., et al., 2019, Complex Rotational Modulation of Rapidly Rotating M-Stars Observed with TESS, ApJ, 876: 127
- 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
- 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
- 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
- Jackman, J. et al. incl. Günther, M.N., 2021, Stellar flares detected with the Next Generation Transit Survey, MNRAS, 504, 3246
- 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
- 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
- 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, in review (arXiv:2104.12078)
- Costes, J. et al. incl. Günther, M.N., 2021, Long-term stellar activity variations and their effect on radial-velocity measurements, MNRAS, advance access
- 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)
- 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, advance access
- 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
- Smith, A. et al. incl. Günther, M.N., 2021, NGTS-14Ab: a Neptune-sized transiting planet in the desert, A&A, 646, A183
- Sebstian, D. et al. incl. Günther, M.N., 2021, SPECULOOS: Ultracool Dwarf Transit Survey: Target List and Strategy, A&A, 645, A100
- 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
- Acton, J. et al. incl. Günther, M.N., 2020, An eclipsing M-dwarf close to the hydrogen burning limit from NGTS, MNRAS, 498, 3115
- 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
- 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
- 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
- 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
- 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
- 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
- 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
- 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
- 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)
- 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
- 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
- Armstrong, D.J. et al. incl. Günther, M.N., 2020, A remnant planetary core in the hot Neptunian desert, Nature, 583, 7814: 39
- 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
- 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
- Murray, C.A.. et al. incl. Günther, M.N., 2020, Photometry and Performance of SPECULOOS-South, MNRAS, 495, 2446
- Pepper, J., et al. incl. Günther, M.N., 2020, TESS Reveals HD 118203 b to be a Transiting Planet, AJ, 159, 243
- McCormac, J. et al. incl. Günther, M.N., 2020, NGTS-10b: The shortest period hot Jupiter yet discovered, MNRAS, 493, 126
- Huang, C.X., et al. incl. Günther, M.N., 2020, TESS Spots a Hot Jupiter with an Inner Transiting Neptune , ApJ, 892 (1): L7
- 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
- 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
- Jenkins, J. et a. incl. Günther, M.N., 2020, An ultrahot Neptune in the Neptune desert, Nature Astronomy, 180J
- Costes, J. et al. incl. Günther, M.N., 2020, NGTS-8b and NGTS-9b: Two non-inflated hot-Jupiters, MNRAS, 491: 2834C
- Gill, S. et al. incl. Günther, M.N., 2020, NGTS and WASP photometric recovery of a single-transit candidate from TESS, MNRAS, 491: 1548G
- 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
- West, R.G. et al. incl. Günther, M.N., 2019, NGTS-4b: A sub-Neptune transiting in the desert, MNRAS, 486: 5094
- 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
- 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
- Shporer, A. et al. incl. Günther, M.N., 2019, TESS Full Orbital Phase Curve of the WASP-18b System, AJ, 157: 178
- 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
- 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.
- 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
- Raynard, L., et al. incl. Günther, M.N., 2018, NGTS-2b: An inflated hot-Jupiter transiting a bright F-dwarf, MNRAS, 481, 4960–4970
- 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
- Jackman, J. et al. incl. Günther, M.N., 2018, Ground-based detection of G star superflares with NGTS, MNRAS, 477 (4): 4655–4664
- Wheatley, P. et al. incl. Günther, M.N., 2017, The Next Generation Transit Survey (NGTS), MNRAS, 475 (4): 4476-4493
- Bayliss, D. et al. incl. Günther, M.N., 2017, NGTS-1b: a hot Jupiter transiting an M-dwarf, MNRAS, 475 (4): 4467-4475
- 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