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I am professor for theoretical astrophysics at Heidelberg University. My research activities focus on the formation of stars at present days and in the early universe, on the dynamics of the interstellar medium, on astrophysical turbulence, and on the development of numerical methods for computational astrophysics.

For an overview of my curriculum vitae follow this LINK.

For my website at the Center for Astronomy at Heidelberg University follow this LINK.

I recently received an ERC synergy grant together with Patrick Hennebelle (CEA, Saclay), Sergio Molinari (INAF, Rome), and Leonardo Testi (ESO, Garching). More information is found on this LINK.

Current Research Highlight

October 2020: Jeans modelling of the Milky Way’s nuclear stellar disc

Sormani, Mattia C.; Magorrian, John; Nogueras-Lara, Francisco; Neumayer, Nadine; Schönrich, Ralph; Klessen, Ralf S.; Mastrobuono-Battisti, Alessandra: MNRAS, in press (2020) [ADS link]

Enclosed mass as function of distance from the Galactic Center.
Enclosed mass as function of distance from the central black hole in the Milky Way.

The nuclear stellar disc (NSD) is a flattened stellar structure that dominates the gravitational potential of the Milky Way at Galactocentric radii 30 ≲ R ≲ 300 pc. In this paper, we construct axisymmetric Jeans dynamical models of the NSD based on previous photometric studies and we fit them to line-of-sight kinematic data of APOGEE and SiO maser stars. We find that (i) the NSD mass is lower but consistent with the mass independently determined from photometry by Launhardt et al. (2002). Our fiducial model has a mass contained within spherical radius r = 100 pc of M(r < 100pc) = 3.9 ± 1 × 108M and a total mass of MNSD = 6.9 ± 2 × 108 M . (ii) The NSD might be the first example of a vertically biased disc, i.e. with ratio between the vertical and radial velocity dispersion σzR > 1. Observations and theoretical models of the star-forming molecular gas in the central molecular zone suggest that large vertical oscillations may be already imprinted at stellar birth. However, the finding σzR > 1 depends on a drop in the velocity dispersion in the innermost few tens of parsecs, on our assumption that the NSD is axisymmetric, and that the available (extinction corrected) stellar samples broadly trace the underlying light and mass distributions, all of which need to be established by future observations and/or modelling. (iii) We provide the most accurate rotation curve to date for the innermost 500 pc of our Galaxy.

Earlier Research Highlights

For the all monthly research highlights follow this LINK.

Funding Sources