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Division of Astrophysics and Solar System physics

The astrophysics division studies physical processes in stars, galaxies, planets, the Solar System and the universe as a whole, as well as doing research and development of instrumentation that can be used to observe these objects.

The astrophysics division studies physical processes in stars, galaxies, galaxy clusters and the universe as a whole, as well as doing research and development of instrumentation that can be used to observe these objects.

 Research is concentrated in a handful of main areas:

  •  Large-scale structure of the universe, including  the creation of galaxies and galaxy clusters.     
  • Physical conditions and processes in and around  neutron stars and black holes.    
  • Mapping the Cosmic Microwave Background to understand the Big Bang and early evolution of the Universe
  • Electrical Discharges in the Upper Atmosphere
  • Cosmic rays and their effect on the Earth's weather and climate
  • Space weather and monitoring solar activity
  • Technological development of x-ray and gamma-ray detectors and instruments, as well as mechanical structures for use in space-based observatories.  


A selection of our current research projects


INTEGRAL: X-ray images of the universe

Integral (C) NASA

DTU Space led the team that designed and built two x-ray telescopes on the European INTEGRAL satellite. These instruments detect x-rays from deep space including supernova explosions, black hole environments and neutron stars. Investigation of this high-energy radiation gives researchers a glimpse into the universe that can't be seen with the naked eye. The two telescopes can also pinpoint the position of gamma-ray bursts, extremely violent cosmic explosions, the origins of which are still hotly debated. Read more here ...


Planck: Light from the creation of the universe


Since August 2009 the European Planck Surveyor Satellite has been mapping the cosmic microwave background (CMB) in unprecedented details. This radiation originated from a time 380,000 years after the Big Bang and contains the answers to many of the fundamental questions we have about the universe, for example, its age, its size and its eventual fate. DTU Space has designed the big mirror-system that capture and focus the first light of Universe. Read more here ...


NuSTAR: The first satellite with focussing high-energy x-ray optics

 Kunstners forestilling af NuSTAR satellitten i rummet

In June 2012 NASA launched the first ever satellite observatory with a focussing mirror system designed for high-energy x-rays. DTU Space has developed the high-energy focussing technique that will be used during this mission to make images of selected areas of the sky, e.g. near black holes, powerful sources in active galaxies and supernova remnants. Read more here ...

ASIM: Studying huge lightning strikes from space


ASIM instrument mounted on the International Space Station 

In the upper layers of the Earth's atmosphere the sky is occasionally illuminated by huge lightning strikes called sprites. Researchers at DTU Space are uncovering the mechanisms behind these strange events. It is quite difficult to observe sprites from the Earth, and so the NSI team is planning to study them from above the atmosphere, with an advanced instrument that includes and X-ray camera. This instrument, called ASIM (Atmosphere-Space Interactions Monitor) will be mounted on the Earth-facing side of the International Space Station to monitor the Earth for sprites and related phenomena.

 ASIM homepage in English


Contact person


Head of division Allan Hornstrup 


Allan Hornstrup
Head of Astrophysics
DTU Space
+45 45 25 97 22