Frank Eisenhauer


            Max Planck Institute for Extraterrestrial Physics

            Giessenbachstr., 85748 Garching, Germany, +49 89 300003563


Kohlroeschenstr. 53, 80995 Munich, Germany


9. June 1968 in Augsburg

married, three children


Professional Accomplishments


Scientific member of the Max Planck Society and Director at the Max Planck Institute for Extraterrestrial Physics (MPE). Leading the development and science exploration of large astronomical instruments and experiments, two of them are part of the instrument suite employed in the discovery and characterization of the Galactic Center Black Hole


            Principal Investigator of GRAVITYPlus to upgrade the ESO                        since 2020
            VLT Interferometer with wide-field fringe tracking and laser guide star
            adaptive optics to open up the extragalactic sky for milli-arcsec resolution
            imaging and to precisely measure exoplanet spectra and orbits


Leading or co-leading discoveries with the GRAVITY instrument,               since 2017

including the detection of the gravitational redshift in the orbit of a star

around the Galactic Center black hole and the orbital motion of

matter close to the last stable orbit around this black hole


Principal Investigator of GRAVITY – the infrared interferometer for            since 2005

exploring physics close to the Galactic Center black hole. GRAVITY

is a multi-national project led by MPE with more than a hundred

scientists and engineers from all over Europe contributing to its



Principal Investigator of SPIFFI/SINFONI – the world’s first                        since 2003

adaptive optics integral field spectrometer on a 10m class telescope.

The instrument was key to measure the mass and distance of the

Galactic Center black hole, thereby demonstrating its extreme nature


Major contributions to other MPE near infrared and high angular resolution instruments for ground and space based observatories, e.g. the European Southern Observatory, Large Binocular Telescope and European Space Agency


Awards and Honors


Instrument Development Award of the German Astronomical Society                2023

for the development of innovative complex infrared instruments


Gruber Cosmology Prize for designing instruments that collected                      2022

evidence for a black hole at the center of our galaxy


Stern-Gerlach Medal of the German Physical Society                                          2022

for the pioneering work in high-resolution infrared astronomy


Jackson-Gwilt Medal of the Royal Astronomical Society                                    2022

for the development of astronomical instrumentation


Foreign Associate to the Academie des Sciences                                                  2022


Michelson Investigator Achievement Award 2020 for the                                    2022

groundbreaking results of VLTI-GRAVITY


Tycho Brahe Medal of the European Astronomical Society                                 2021

for the leadership of the SINFONI and  GRAVITY instruments 




Adjunct Professor (apl. Professor) at Technical University of Munich            since 2023

(regular lectures on “Introduction to Astrophysics” and

“High Angular Resolution Astronomy”, supervision of bachelor

and master theses)


Adjunct Teaching Professor (Privatdozent) at Technical University                since 2011

of Munich


Supervisor at the International Max Planck Research School on          

Astrophysics (supervision of PhD theses)


Participation in European Research Council and National Excellence Initiative Funded Programs


Member of the MPG, TUM and LMU “ORIGINS Excellence Cluster”           since 2019


Member of the ERC Synergy Grant “Black Hole Cam”                                    2014 - 2021


Member of the MPG, TUM and LMU “Universe Excellence Cluster”            2006 - 2018




Scientific member of the Max Planck Society and Director at the                     2023 - present

Max Planck Institute for Extraterrestrial Physics (MPE)


Senior Staff Scientist at MPE                                                                              2003 - 2023


Postdoc / Research Associate at MPE                                                                 1998 - 2003 


PhD Student at MPE                                                                                            1995 - 1998




Technical University of Munich, Habilitation in Experimental Physics            2011

 “The Galactic Center at High Angular Resolution –

Techniques and Observations”


            Ludwig-Maximilians-University Munich, Doctorate in Physics                        1998

           „Bau einer Nahinfrarot-Kamera fuer adaptive Optik und

 Beobachtungen der Sternentstehungsregion NGC 3603“


Technical University of Munich, Diploma in Physics                                        1995


            Justus-von-Liebig Gymnasium Neusaess,                                                          1987

            General Qualification for University Entrance


Military Service


             Gebirgsfernmeldebatallion 8 in Murnau                                                           1987 – 1988




397 scientific publications with more than 21.900 citations (h-index of 75), in particular 54 publications with more than 100 citations each, and more than a dozen of them as first or co-leading author, for example


            Gravity Collaboration et al. 2020: "Detection of the Schwarzschild precession in the orbit of the star S2 near the Galactic centre massive black hole", Astronomy and Astrophysics, 636, L5 (339 citations)

            Gravity Collaboration et al. 2018: "Detection of orbital motions near the last stable circular orbit of the massive black hole SgrA*", Astronomy and Astrophysics, 618, L10 (265 citations)


            Gravity Collaboration et al. 2018: "Detection of the gravitational redshift in the orbit of the star S2 near the Galactic centre massive black hole", Astronomy and Astrophysics, 615, L15 (633 citations)

            Eisenhauer, F., Genzel, R., et al. 2005: "SINFONI in the Galactic Center: Young Stars and Infrared Flares in the Central Light-Month", ApJ, 628, 246 (596 citations)

            Genzel, R., Eisenhauer, F., & Gillessen, S. 2010: "The Galactic Center massive black hole and nuclear star cluster", Reviews of Modern Physics, 82, 3121 (898 citations)

            Gillessen, S., Eisenhauer, F., et al. 2009: "Monitoring Stellar Orbits Around the Massive Black Hole in the Galactic Center", ApJ, 692, 1075 (1296 citations)


Press Releases and Press Conferences


More than a dozen press releases, for example


            Star dancing around supermassive black hole confirms Einstein                            2020


            First Detailed Observations of Material Orbiting close to a Black Hole                 2018


            First Successful Test of Einstein’s General Relativity Near Supermassive             2018

            Black Hole” (key speaker at press conference)


Invited Talks and Colloquia


Numerous invited talks and colloquia, for example


            Astronomy at Highest Angular Resolution - Adaptive Optics, Interferometry       2023

            and Black Holes, Tel Aviv University, Israel


            Infrared Interferometry of the Galactic Center Black Hole, Plenary Talk               2022

            23rd Conference on General Relativity and Gravitation, Bejing, China


            The Universe in 3D Motion - from SINFONI to GRAVITY towards the Future    2021

            Tycho Brahe Prize Talk, EAS Annual Meeting, Leiden, The Netherlands


            A New Era of Interferometry with GRAVITY, SPIE Astronomical                        2020

            Telescopes + Instrumentation Plenary Talk, Los Angles, USA


            The Galactic Center Black Hole with GRAVITY: Orbital Motion Close                2019
            to the Last Stable Orbit during a Flare, and General Relativistic Effects

            in the Orbit of Stars, Harvard and Smithsonian CfA Colloquium, USA

            The S2 peri-passage - general relativistic effects in stellar orbits around the          2018
            Galactic Center black hole”, Munich Joint Astronomical Colloquium, Germany


Imprint and Data protection information, last update: 2023-11-12, editor of this page: Frank Eisenhauer