Karina Voggel is a 2-nd year PhD student at ESO (European Southern Observatory) headquarter in Garching (Germany) and the LMU München as home institute. In addition she is part of the International Max Planck
Research School (IMPRS) which is the joint PhD school of all 4 astronomy institutes in Munich. Previously, Karina did her Masters thesis at the Astronomisches Rechenzentrum (ARI) in Heidelberg and her Bachelor thesis at the MPIA in Heidelberg. When she was offered the amazing opportunity to be a PhD student at one of the largest observatories in the world @ESO, she left the beautiful Heidelberg after her Masters and went to
Munich. During her first year in Bavaria she learned to like beer and tried to master the art of finding vegetarian food in a city full of sausages and meat! Her favourite way to discover new cities and especially the green parks is running through them to train for the next half-marathon.
Karina currently studies ultra compact dwarf galaxies (UCDs) in nearby clusters (Fornax, Virgo). These UCDs have been discovered only 15 years ago in the Fornax Cluster. With their sizes (10-100pc) and Luminosities
they fall right into the previously empty gap between the population of globular clusters and dwarf galaxies and until today their origins are not clear. The two main theories are that they are either high mass
globular clusters or the remnant nuclei of stripped dwarf Elliptical galaxies. To constrain the formation channel she uses observations mainly from the ESO VLT to determine their structural properties,
analyze their spatial distribution and searching for tidal features around these UCDs.
In another part of her work she also studies the newly discovered ultra faint dwarf galaxies in the outskirts of our own Milky Way in more detail. She has just obtained the first data on one dwarf these objects
with the new VLT instrument MUSE and hopes this will help to uncover the nature of ultra faint dwarfs. For more on all these peculiar dwarfs, follow the discussions on astrotweeps this week!