Department of Theoretical Physics and Astrophysics
Faculty of Science
Masaryk University

Illustration The Astrophysics Division supports the Physics - Astrophysics bachelor's degree programme and it offers complete general undergraduate and graduate courses in astronomy, astrophysics and cosmology as well as advanced courses due to research fields of our staff members as follows:

  • Hot Stars
  • Variable Stars
  • Practical Astrophysics
  • Physics of Stellar Atmospheres
  • Physics of Cool Stars

We focus on particular problems in physics of hot stars and systems of stars with hot components. Research of our division also remarkably contributes to general understading of stellar magnetic field geometry and its connection to formation of spectroscopic and photometric spots and zones respectively observed on surface of so-called chemically peculiar (CP) stars. We perform detailed observational and theoretical study of hot stars without assumption of local thermodynamic equilibrium and involving models of stellar winds.

The division operates the Masaryk University Observatory in Brno (at Kraví hora), equipped with an 0.6m reflector and modern CCD camera.

Research Fields

prof. Mgr. Jiří Krtička, Ph.D.

Prof. Krtička deals with the application of fluid dynamics, statistical physics and radiation transfer equation in the atmosphere, stellar winds and hot environments of stars. He studied numerous hot objects, among others for example, hot main sequence stars, supergiants, chemically peculiar stars, central stars of planetary nebulae or first stars in the universe. He created his own programs for modeling stellar winds of hot stars, draining disks of rapidly rotating stars and variability of chemically peculiar stars.

List of publications

prof. RNDr. Zdeněk Mikulášek, CSc.

Prof. Mikulášek deals with variable stars of all kinds, but mainly he specializes in so-called chemically peculiar (CP) stars. CP star is a hot star with extensive surface stains with a very unusual representation of chemical elements. The causes of this behavior are still unclear. Important role probably plays slow rotation and strong global magnetic field, which are stabilized by photospheres of these stars, so that they can be held and processes which can be in normal stars neglected. Prof. Mikulášek also deals with eclipsing binaries - recently he developed a series of phenomenological models that dramatically facilitate the processing of light curves. Currently, he also devotes to studying optical properties of the Earth's atmosphere and didactics of astronomy and astrophysics.

List of publications

doc. Mgr. Ernst Paunzen, Dr.

Doc. Paunzen is doing classical stellar astrophysics, trying to tie together observations and models on solid statistical grounds. Besides the study of variable and chemically peculiar stars as well as star clusters, he has done a lot of spectral classification work including the UV and NIR region. Since 20 years, he is using the three narrow-band Delta photometric system to search for peculiar stars. He extended its original intention to study field stars and open clusters in the solar neighbourhood to globular clusters, the Magellanic Clouds, and Galaxy clusters. Another important part of his work is dedicated to data bases, data mining, pipeline software, and virtual observatory. Several data base, for example, are already established at our institute and being very frequently used by the community. Furthermore, doc. Paunzen is also involved in several space based satellite missions like BRITE, CoRoT, and MOST.

List of publications

doc. RNDr. Vladimír Štefl, CSc.

Doc. Štefl has expertise in several fields of astrophysics. First, it is the study physical and chemical properties of K giants. Furthermore, he studies didactics and astronomy physics, diagnostic knowledge and skills of students, finding best practices interpretation, removing misconception. Recently, the subject of his interest is detecting patterns of historical development based on the study of astronomy original historical practices. Doc. Štefl transmits his knowledge to students of history astronomy and physics. In addition, he teaches subjects relating to stellar atmospheres, structure and evolution of stars, the physics of cold stars.

List of publications

doc. RNDr. Miloslav Zejda, Ph.D.

Doc. Zejda focuses in his work on several areas of stellar astronomy, especially variable stars and particularly on eclipsing binaries. With them, he tries, on the basis of photometric and possibly spectroscopic data, compute parameters of binary components and determine their evolution status. For a group of nearly touched systems he then validates the hypothesis of relaxation oscillations. Besides binaries, doc. Zejda deals with chemically peculiar stars and RR Lyrae stars, while studying the representation of variable stars in open clusters. For all types of variable stars he acquires own original photometric and possibly spectroscopic data.

List of publications

RNDr. Jan Janík, Ph.D.

Dr. Janík is dedicated to astronomy not only as scientists and data analyzer, but also from the position of active observer (photometry and spectroscopy). He often go to observe in Chile, South Africa, Russia or neighboring Poland. He smainly studies variable stars, especially chemically peculiar stars and eclipsing binaries, his scientific activity was directed at the (in many respects for Statistics interesting) open clusters. His vast experience in optical astronomer he passes to students inteaching General Astronomy and Astronomical observations, moreover, he leads and undergraduate seminars.

List of publications

Mgr. Filip Hroch, Ph.D.

The scope of dr. Hroch is high energy astrophysics and photometry. He deals with the optical counterparts of gamma-ray bursts, properties of galaxies and mainly active galactic nuclei. For a long-term he deals with astronomical photometry, for which he created package Munipack. For students he carefully prepares astronomical practice and variety of tasks to be processed, which prepare students for future careers of astronomers.

List of publications

doc. Mgr. Norbert Werner, Ph.D.

Doc. Werner is particularly concerned with the research of galaxies, in particular the physics and the chemical composition of the hot gas, which fills the space between the galaxies. He is also interested in the interaction of this hot gas with giant black holes, which are located in the center of each galaxy. His interests include the search for hot gas in the cosmic web connecting the clusters the galaxies. In particular, he uses space-based observation satellites in the X-ray spectrum, as well as radio, infrared and optical telescopes. He was a member of the Japanese team of Hitomi and is currently a member of the team of the European satellite program Athena.

List of publications