Adrian Bittner

I am a PhD Student at the European Southern Observatory, working on structure and evolution of galaxies

About Me

I am a 2nd-year PhD student at the European Southern Observatory in Garching, Germany. I study the structure and evolution of galaxies, in particular bar-driven secular evolution processes in local disc galaxies. To this end, I mainly use observations obtained with the MUSE spectrograph in the context of the TIMER and Fornax3D surveys.

I conducted my Bachelor and Master studies at the University of Munich. During this time, I already completed research projects at the Max-Planck Institute for Astrophysics (MPA) in Garching, at ESO in Santiago de Chile, the Instituto de Astrofisica de Canarias (IAC) in Tenerife, and the University Observatory Munich (USM).

In addition, I do enjoy doing public outreach. In the moment, I give weekly planetarium shows at the ESO-Supernova and recently gave an outreach talk during the European Researchers night. I also contribute to the scientific life at ESO by co-organising the Journal Club and the weekly social gathering.


The GIST Pipeline: A Multi-Purpose Tool for the Analysis of Spectroscopic Data

The GIST pipeline is a convenient, all-in-one framework for the analysis of spectroscopic data. It extracts stellar and gaseous kinematics, non-parametric star-formation-histories as well as line strength indices and stellar population properties from spectroscopic observations by exploiting the pPXF and GandALF routines. The software is not specific to any instrument or analysis technique, provides easy means of modification, and includes an elaborate parallelisation. It further features a dedicated visualization routine with a graphical user interface. This allows easy access of all measurements, spectra and fits in fully-interactive plots. The GIST pipeline is being used by the TIMER, Fornax3D and PHANGS surveys and has successfully been applied to both low and high-redshift data from MUSE, CALIFA, SINFONI, as well as to simulated data for HARMONI and WEAVE.

The TIMER survey: Time Inference with MUSE in Extragalactic Rings

The TIMER project is a survey of 24 barred galaxies with a large variety of presumably bar-built central structures, such as nuclear rings, inner discs, and inner bars. To date, 21 galaxies have been observed with MUSE on the Very Large Telescope. The main goal of the survey is to reconstruct the star formation histories of the inner discs in order to constrain the formation time of the bars and establish when the main discs of these galaxies became dynamically mature. The viability of this approach has been shown in a pilot study of NGC4371. In addition, we investigate the nature of inner discs and nuclear rings by combining information on their stellar kinematics as well as population properties. Other studies involve, for instance, the nature of bars, inner bars, and stellar feedback.

How do spiral arm contrasts relate to bars, disc breaks and other fundamental galaxy properties?

We investigate how the properties of spiral arms relate to other fundamental galaxy properties. To this end, we use previously published measurements of those properties, and our own measurements of arm-interarm luminosity contrasts for a large sample of galaxies, using 3.6μm images from the Spitzer Survey of Stellar Structure in Galaxies. Flocculent galaxies are clearly distinguished from other spiral arm classes, especially by their lower stellar mass and surface density. Multi-armed and grand-design galaxies are similar in most of their fundamental parameters, excluding some bar properties and the bulge-to-total luminosity ratio. Based on these results, we discuss dense, classical bulges as a necessary condition for standing spiral wave modes in grand-design galaxies. We further find a strong correlation between bulge-to-total ratio and bar contrast, and a weaker correlation between arm and bar contrasts.


“Stellar populations in inner discs, nuclear rings, and (inner) bars, as seen within the MUSE TIMER project”
A. Bittner, P. Sánchez-Blázquez, D. A. Gadotti, et al.
in prep.

“Kinematical signatures of disc instabilities and bar-driven secular evolution in the MUSE TIMER project”
D. A. Gadotti, A. Bittner, J. Falcón-Barroso, J. Mendez-Abreu, et al.
in prep.

“The GIST pipeline: A multi-purpose tool for the analysis and visualisation of (integral-field) spectroscopic data”
A. Bittner, J. Falcón-Barroso, B. Nedelchev, A. Dorta, D. A. Gadotti, M. Sarzi, A. Molaeinezhad, et al.
A&A (2019), 628: A117

“The Fornax3D project: Tracing the assembly history of the cluster from the kinematic and line-strength maps”
E. Iodice, M. Sarzi, A. Bittner, L. Coccato, L. Costantin, E. M. Corsini, G. van de Ven, et al.
A&A (2019), 627: A136

“How do spiral arm contrasts relate to bars, disc breaks and other fundamental galaxy properties?”
A. Bittner, D. Gadotti, B. Elmegreen, E. Athanassoula, D. Elmegreen, A. Bosma, J. Munoz-Mateos
MNRAS (2017), 471: 1070


  • Adrian Bittner
    European Southern Observatory
    Karl-Schwarzschild-Straße 2
    85748 Garching bei München

  • @AstronomyAdrian