Main research focus
How do stellar flares impact habitability?
How can flares impact the habitability on our own Earth and on exoplanets - and why might they be related to the origin of life? Read more.
Small exoplanets around small stars
Why is the TOI-270 system a true Disneyland for exoplanet scientists, and what can we learn from it about our own Earth? Read more.
Ø-scillation: oscillating chemistry in zero gravity and beyond
Why should we go into space if we want to understand where we came from? Read more.
Allesfitter: one code to fit them all
I developed an extensive tool set that I bundled up in this public code, with the hope that it can be useful to fellow exoplaneteers and stellar astronomers. Read more.
Click here to read more about some of my other studies, including discoveries like:
TESS' very first exoplanet, Pi Men (Cnet, ScienceNews, ScienceAlert)
TESS' first Earth-sized planet, HD 21749 (New York Times)
Unmasking hidden exoplanets with novel techniques
Measuring stellar light to 1/4000th image pixel precision
Optimizing the yield of exoplanet surveys
Teams & collaborations
Our Transiting Exoplanet Survey Satellite (TESS) is set to discover thousands of new exoplanets. Since its launch in April 2018, I guided exoplanet and stellar activity studies in the TESS core team, maximised the science output, trained team members, and increased public engagement. TESS monitors millions of stars for temporary drops in brightness, which are caused by planetary transits. With it, we will identify planets ranging from Earth-sized to gas giants, around a wide range of stellar types and orbital distances - and maybe even Earth 2.0.
With the SPECULOOS mission (Search for habitable Planets EClipsing ULtra-cOOl Stars), I study planets around the coolest of all stars, aiming to find more systems like the famous TRAPPIST-1 - which was discovered by SPECULOOS' prototype. I am leading a working group, implementing strategies, and supporting this transnational telescope collaboration. SPECULOOS consists of four Ritchey–Chrétien telescopes of 1-meter primary aperture, and is based in Paranal, Chile.
The Antarctic Search for Transiting ExoPlanets (ASTEP) is one-of-a-kind in the world. I am leading the collaboration between ESA and this European telescope consortium operating a 40 cm duo-colour telescope in the Antarctic. With it, we leverage uninterrupted nights for unique photometric observation campaigns.
Our Next Generation Transit Survey (NGTS) is an exoplanet hunter based in Paranal, Chile. With its 12 fully robotized 20 cm telescopes, we cover a total field of view of almost 100 sq. deg. on the sky at once. What's more, by combining all telescopes we can achieve space-based precision. My main goal with NGTS is to find transiting sub-Neptunes that will be suitable for RV follow-up and mass measurements using current and future instruments.
Space Exploration Initiative
With humanity at the cusp of interplanetary civilization, my work with the Space Exploration Initiative (SEI) is actively building the technologies, tools, and human experiences of our Sci-Fi Space Future. In doing so, we build on the spirit of the Media Lab, uniting artists, scientists, engineers, and designers, supporting parabolic flights, suborbital and orbital launch research deployments, and a team of 50+ students, staff, and faculty.
ContactEuropean Space Agency (ESA)European Space Research and Technology Centre (ESTEC)Keplerlaan 1, 2201 AZ Noordwijk, The NetherlandsEmail: maximilian.guenther [at] esa.int Twitter: @m_n_guenther
Image CreditsZero G: Steve Boxall/ZERO-GStellar Flares: NASA's Goddard Space Flight CenterTOI-270: NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center/Scott WiessingerTESS: NASA's Goddard Space Flight CenterSPECULOOS: D. PadronASTEP: Marco Buttu PNRA/IPEV
NGTS: ESO/Gregory LambertSpace Exploration Initiative: Steve Boxall, Zero G