Image credit: ESO/A. Roquette

Gamma-ray bursts are related to the explosive deaths of some massive stars. Therefore they trace star-formation and as such they will be used as crucial probes of the newborn galaxies that host such explosions and possibly also to constrain the nature of dark energy.


Image credit: ESO/L. Calçada/M. Kornmesser

Neutron stars, supernovae, black hole mass accretion and AGNs, many of the DARK research topics fall under high energy astrophysics. Gravitational waves and neutrinos open up new opportunities to observer the most energetic phenomena of the universe.


Image credit: ESO

Dark matter has been observed in a wide range of scales, from the smallest dwarf galaxies, over galaxy clusters, to the entire Universe. These observations show that dark matter is about a factor 5 more abundant than normal matter. One of the key quests of astrophysics is to unravel the nature of the dark matter particle.


Image credit: ESO, ESA/Hubble, M. Kornmesser

Black holes are extreme concentrations of matter with a gravitational pull that not even light escapes. Supermassive black holes, millions to billions of times the solar mass, formed in the early Universe at the focal points of coalescing matter that evolved into galaxies.


Image credit: ESO/WFI (Optical); MPIfR/ESO/APEX/A.Weiss et al. (Submillimetre); NASA/CXC/CfA/R.Kraft et al. (X-ray)

Understanding galaxies and their evolution is a key to understanding the whole universe. Metal enrichment, stellar feedback, in- and outflows, star formation regulation: the overall complexity of the evolution keeps on puzzling still after many years of research in this field.


Image credit: ESO/M. Kornmesser

Cosmic dust, the smoke-like, sub-micron particles, is an indispensable ingredient in the cosmic inventory as it constitutes the seeds for planet, star and galaxy formation and is thus ultimately important for the formation of life. However, the origin and evolution of cosmic dust remains a mystery. Astrophysical transients, such as massive stars exploding as supernovae (SNe) may be the key sources of this dust.


Neutrinos, the most elusive particles of with mass are opening up a new observational window in astronomy. Neutrinos play a key role in multi-messenger astronomy and DARK scientists work actively in this field.