Felix Mackebrandt


About ME

I am a postdoctoral researcher at the Max Planck Institute for Solar System Research, interested in extrasolar planet detection and stellar oscillations. In preparation for the PLATO mission, I am investigating the identification of stellar pulsations using machine learning techniques. With these pulsations, asteroseismic models can provide stellar parameters, which are crucial for an accurate determination of planetary parameters.

During my PhD, I searched for extrasolar planets orbiting pulsating stars. Regular variations in pulsation arrival times indicate the presence of planetary companions. Of special interest are host stars of the subdwarf B (sdB) type. The existence of single sdB stars is difficult to understand by stellar evolution theory so far. Planets can help to form these kinds of stars if they survive the violent red giant phase of the star. Alternatively second generations planets could form from the inflated envelope of the star.

The timing method is particularly sensitive to planets at large distances and complementary to other exoplanet detection methods because they are not efficient for stars with small radii and high gravities. This opens up a new parameter range in terms of the host stars and helps to understand the formation process of single sdBs. In consideration of future photometric space missions like PLATO, it is essential to enhance the diversity of potential exoplanet host stars that can be probed.

Previously, I investigated the atmosphere of the transiting hot Jupiter TrES-3b using transmission spectroscopy at the Leibniz Institute for Astrophysics Potsdam.

My passion for astronomy grew with a 8" Newtonian telescope. Besides that, I am an enthusiastic photographer, graphic designer and musician.



07/2020: Postdoctoral researcher at the Max Planck Institute for Solar System Research (MPS).

10/2016 - 06/2020: Dr. rer. nat., Max Planck Institute for Solar System Research (MPS), University of Göttingen. "Timing of stellar pulsations to search for sub-stellar companions beyond the main sequence".

10/2014 - 09/2016: Master of Science, Leibniz-Institute for Astrophysics Potsdam (AIP), University of Potsdam. "Transmission spectroscopy of exoplanet atmospheres - On the Rayleigh-like feature of TrES-3b".

10/2014 - 11/2014: Research assistant, Leibniz-Institute for Astrophysics Potsdam (AIP). Follow-up employment to write the paper on the bachelor thesis.

10/2011 - 09/2014: Bachelor of Science, Leibniz-Institute for Astrophysics Potsdam (AIP), University of Potsdam. "Detecting planets orbiting the eclipsing polar CSS 081231".


ADS publication list

ORCID iD iconorcid.org/0000-0001-5136-6596

F. Mackebrandt, S. Schuh, R. Silvotti, S.-L. Kim, D. Kilkenny, E. M. Green, R. Lutz, T. Nagel, J. L. Provencal, T. Otani, T. D. Oswalt, S. Benatti, L. Lanteri, A. Bonanno, A. Frasca, R. Janulis, M. Paparó, L. Molnár, R. Claudi, and R. H. Østensen. The EXOTIME project: Signals in the O-C diagrams of the rapidly pulsating subdwarfs DW Lyn, V1636 Ori, QQ Vir and V541 Hya. A&A, Vol. 638, id.A108, 19 pp, June 2020. ADS

K. G. Strassmeier, I. Ilyin, E. Keles, M. Mallonn, A. Järvinen, M. Weber, F. Mackebrandt, J. M. Hill. High-resolution spectroscopy and spectropolarimetry of the total lunar eclipse January 2019. A&A, Vol. 635, id.A156, 19 pp, March 2020. ADS

F. Mackebrandt, M. Mallonn, J. M. Ohlert, T. Granzer, S. Lalitha, A. García Mũnoz, N. P. Gibson, J. W. Lee, A. Sozzetti, J. D. Turner, M. Vaňko, and K. G. Strassmeier. Transmission spectroscopy of the exoplanet TrES-3b: New transits from the near-UV to the near-IR and a reanalysed GTC observation. A&A, Vol. 608, id.A26, 13 pp, December 2017. ADS

M. Mallonn, I. Bernt, E. Herrero, S. Hoyer, J. Kirk, P. J. Wheatley, M. Seeliger, F. Mackebrandt, C. von Essen, K. G. Strassmeier, T. Granzer, A. Künstler, V. S. Dhillon, T. R. Marsh, and J. Gaitan. Broad-band spectrophotometry of HAT-P-32 b: search for a scattering signature in the planetary spectrum. MNRAS, 463: 604–614, November 2016. ADS

A. D. Schwope, F. Mackebrandt, B. D. Thinius, C. Littlefield, P. Garnavich, A. Oksanen, and T. Granzer. Multi-epoch time-resolved photometry of the eclipsing polar CSS081231:071126+440405. Astronomische Nachrichten, 336:115, February 2015. ADS

Successful proposals

05/2019: Large Binocular Telescope, 8.4m, PEPSI. Clouds on a planetary dayside revealed by its wavelength-resolved albedo. PI: M. Mallonn, CoI: C. von Essen

05/2019: LCO, 2m. Planets around V391 Peg b II, CoIs: S. Schuh, H. Perets

05/2018: Large Binocular Telescope, 8.4m, PEPSI. Earth as an extrasolar Planet - Lunar eclipse observation 2019 Jan 21 using LBT & PEPSI. CoIs: Engin Keles, Carolina von Essen, Klaus Strassmeier

05/2017: LCO, 2m. Planets around V391 Peg b, CoIs: S. Schuh, H. Perets

02/2016: Calar Alto Observatory, 2.2m, CAFOS, DDT. Photometric observation of one B-band transit of the exoplanet TrES-3b.

02/2016: Byurakan Astrophysical Observatory (BAO), 2.6m, SCORPIO. Photometric observation of two B-band transit of the exoplanet TrES-3b. CoIs: K. G. Strassmeier, M. Mallonn

02/2016: Telescopio Nazionale Galileo (TNG), 3.58m, DOLORES, DDT. Photometric observation of one U-band transit of the exoplanet TrES-3b. CoIs: K. G. Strassmeier, M. Mallonn

Conferences and Meetings

Annual Meeting of the Astronomische Gesellschaft 2020 (Talk) Website, Abstract

online.tess.science working meeting 2020

2020 Sagan Exoplanet Summer Virtual Workshop - Extreme Precision Radial Velocity Website

XXX IAU General Assembly 2018 (Poster) Website, Abstract

Basics of Astrobiology Summer School Website

Annual Meeting of the Astronomische Gesellschaft 2017 (Talk) Website, Abstract

Rocks & Stars II Conference (Talk) Website, LOC/SOC

The PLATO Mission Conference 2017: Exoplanetary systems in the PLATO era (Poster) Website

2nd Advanced School on Exoplanetary Science (Poster) Website

Planetary Systems Beyond The Main Sequence II (Poster) Website, Poster


Public talk at the Sternfreunde im FEZ e.V., 2021 Website

Max Planck geht in die Schule, 2018 (talks at Theodor-Heuss-Gymnasium and Bonifatiusschule II Göttingen) Website

Public Talk at the Astronomisches Sommerlager, 2018 Website


10/2018 - 02/2019: Tutor "Physikalisches Praktikum" (J. Große-Knetter) at the II. Institute of Physics, Göttingen. Supervision of lab courses.

04/2018 - 08/2018: Teaching assistant "Solar System Science: The Planetary System" (Ulrich Christensen et al.) at the Institute for Astrophysics, Göttingen. Conducting exercises linked to the lectures.

10/2016 - 02/2017: Tutor "Lab Course" (S. Jeffers) at the Institute for Astrophysics, Göttingen. Astronomical data reduction (PyRAF) including a one-week observing run at the Observatory Haute Provence (1.2 m and 1.5 m telescope).