Welcome to my Homepage.

Here you will find out about my scientific projects on
Galactic & Stellar Dynamics.

(Photo: Cordillera de Los Andes)

Research Interests & Projects

◉ Barred galaxies ◉ Stellar dynamics
◉ Dwarf spheroidal galaxies ◉ N-body simulations
◉ Star clusters ◉ Made-to-measure modelling

The following research projects embrace several topics in Stellar Dynamics. The approach for the research is with N-body simulations, using tree codes, particle-mesh codes and Made-to-Measure models. I also like to experiment with gas-dynamic simulations.

The Andromeda Galaxy (M31) (Part II)
Sculpting Andromeda from the box – made-to-measure models for M31: bulge and inner dark matter halo (Link Paper)
Description: in this project we use the made-to-measure technique to find constraints for the stellar and dark matter mass within the region of the bulge and the bar of M31.

The Andromeda Galaxy (M31) (Part I)
Andromeda chained to the box -- dynamical models for M31: bulge and bar (Link Paper)
Description: we used barred galaxy N-body models to reproduce M31's triaxial bulge, finding a massive box/peanut bulge entangled to a concentrated classical bulge.

Dwarf Spheroidal Galaxy Hercules
Life and death of a hero - lessons learned from modeling the dwarf spheroidal Hercules: an incorrect orbit? (Link Paper)
Description: we reproduced the tidal disruption of the dwarf spheroidal galaxy Hercules by the Milky Way with N-body models.

The Leo IV and Leo V Dwarf Spheroidal Galaxies
Leo IV and V - A possible dwarf galaxy pair? (Link Paper)

Description: we used simulations to constraint the dynamical masses of the dwarf spheroidal galaxies Leo V and Leo IV, in a gravitationally bound binary scenario.


An updated list of my publications and collaborations can be found in ADS (link)

First Author Publications

11. Andromeda chained to the Box - Dynamical Models for M31: Bulge & Bar (Link Paper)
Blaña, M.; Wegg, C.; Gerhard, O.; Erwin, P.; Portail, M.; Opitsch, M.; Saglia R.; Bender R., 2017. MNRAS.466.4279B
10. Life and death of a hero - lessons learned from modelling the dwarf spheroidal Hercules: an incorrect orbit? (Link Paper)
Blaña, M.; Fellhauer, M.; Smith, R.; Candlish, G. N.; Cohen, R.; Farias, J. P., 2015 MNRAS.446..144B
9. Leo IV and V - A possible dwarf galaxy pair? (Link Paper)
Blaña, M.; Fellhauer, M.; Smith, R., 2012 A&A...542A..61B
8. Leo IV and V - A possible dwarf galaxy pair? (Part II: a binary star clusters scenario). (Link Paper)
Blaña, M.; Fellhauer, M.; Smith, R., 2011 BAAA...54..397B
7. Sculpting Andromeda -- made-to-measure models for M31's bar and composite bulge: dynamics, stellar and dark matter mass (Link Paper (soon))
Blaña et al. (submitted)


6. Evidence for non-axisymmetry in M31 from wide-field kinematics of stars and gas (Link Paper)
Opitsch, M.; Fabricus, M.; Saglia R.; Bender R.; Blaña, M.; Gerhard, O., 2017 A&A.611A.38O
5. How fast is mass-segregation happening in hierarchical formed embedded star clusters? (Link Paper)
Domínguez, R.; Fellhauer, M.; Blaña, M.; Farias, J. P.; Dabringhausen, J., 2017 MNRAS.472..465D
4. Could Segue 1 be a destroyed star cluster? – a dynamical perspective (Link Paper)
Domínguez, R.; Fellhauer, M.; Blaña, M.; Farias, J. P.; Dabringhausen, J.; Candlish, G. N.; Smith, R.; Choque, N., 2016 MNRAS.461.3630D
3. The difficult early stages of embedded star clusters and the importance of the pre-gas expulsion virial ratio (Link Paper)
Farias, J. P.; Smith, R.; Fellhauer, M.; Goodwin, S.; Candlish, G. N.; Blaña, M.; Dominguez, R., 2015 MNRAS.450.2451
2. Ursa Major II - reproducing the observed properties through tidal disruption (Link Paper)
Smith, R.; Fellhauer, M.; Candlish, G. N.; Wojtak, R.; Farias, J. P.; Blaña, M., 2013 MNRAS.433.2529S
1. A possible formation scenario for dwarf spheroidal galaxies - II. A parameter study (Link Paper)
Assmann, P.; Fellhauer, M.; Wilkinson, M. I.; Smith, R.; Blaña, M., 2013 MNRAS.435.2391A

My Thesis

III. Dynamics of the bar and the bulge of the Andromeda galaxy (M31) (Doctoral Thesis) (Link PDF [English])
II. Effects of the Initial Mass Function on the Infant Mortality of Embedded Star Clusters (Master Thesis) (Link PDF [English])
I. Life of a Hero –Hercules, Stream or Dwarf Galaxy? (Thesis Professional Astronomer Degree) (Link PDF [English])

About Me

I was born in the wonderful country of Chile, growing up in Osorno, and studying Physics and Astronomy at the Universidad de Concepcion in the Astronomy Department in the Theory Group (Bachelor, Titulo and Master). I obtained my doctoral degree at the Ludwig-Maximilians-Universität in München, Germany, working at the Max Planck Institute for Extraterrestrial Physics (MPE) in the Dynamics Group.

My research background consists on using N-body simulations to study diverse stellar dynamical systems, such as disc galaxies, dwarf galaxies and star clusters, using different codes written in Fortran 90 and 77, C for the simulation, and performing the data analysis with Python, Supermongo, IDL, Mathematica, MATLAB, among others.
You can download my CV here, and the extended version here.


Thanks for visiting my Homepage, and please feel free to contact me for any question writing me to mblana@mpe.mpg.de or using the form below.

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