Markus Böttcher studies the physics of astronomical objects which emit high-energy (X-ray and gamma-ray) radiation. These include black holes in our Galaxy an in the centers of other galaxies, called active galactic nuclei; gamma-ray bursts, which are the violent explosions of very massive stars at the end of their lives.
His group is very actively involved in the High Energy Stereoscopic System (H.E.S.S.) near Windhoek, Namibia, which is the world’s most sensitive gamma-ray observatory.
He is the chair person of the South African Gamma-Ray Astronomy Programme, which co-ordinates the South African involvement in H.E.S.S. and the next-generation ground-based gamma-ray observatory, the Cherenkov Telescope Array (CTA), whose construction is envisioned to be start in 2015 or 2016, possibly in southern Namibia, where a site near Aus has been identified as one of the leading contenders to host the southern CTA.