The First eROSITA conference is hosted by the Max-Planck-Institute for extraterrestrial Physics in Garching (Germany).

The Max-Planck Institut für Extraterrestrische Physik (MPE) has been involved in front-line space research since its foundation in 1963. In carrying out such researches, an integrated strategy has always been followed, comprising all steps from experiments to theory. This involves the development and use of state-of-the-art telescopes and instruments, the application of modern computer technology for the data processing and the search for new insight and the gain of new knowledge by interpretation of the data and associated theoretical work. In particular, MPE is a world leading institution for astrophysical research in fields like galaxies, AGN and cosmology, among others.

Recent ground breaking observations of our Galactic Centre with ESO VLT performed by scientists in the Infrared group at MPE have firmly established the black hole nature of the Sgr A* source at the center of our Galaxy. Experiments which have been recently led to completion, or are under development, in the design phase, or under consideration in the IR group include: PACS, a far-infrared imaging photometer and spectrometer instrument for the Herschel Space Observatory; LUCIFER, a facility NIR spectrograph for the Large Binocular Telescope; PARSEC, the laser for the VLT (part of the ESO LGSF); GRAVITY, an adaptive optics assisted, near-infrared VLTI instrument for precision narrow-angle astrometry and interferometric phase referenced imaging of faint objects; EUCLID, a Cosmic Vision Survey Mission.

The Optical and Interpretative Astronomy group at MPE and the Ludwig-Maximilians-University Observatory centers its activity on the structure and evolution of galaxies, focusing on early-type objects, covering the fields of stellar dynamics, stellar populations and galaxy formation from the point of view of optical and near-infrared astronomy. A very active field of research is the use of galaxies and clusters of galaxies to trace the large-scale structure of the Universe. Instrumentation under development in the group includes: OmegaCAM, a 1 square degree wide field optical CCD camera to be mounted on the VLT Survey Telescope (VST); KMOS, a multi integral field spectrograph for VLT; the refurbishment of the Wendelstein Observatory in the Bavarian Alps.

In the High-Energy Group of MPE research is carried out on almost all high energy phenomena in the Universe including solar system objects, stars, X-ray binaries, isolated neutron stars, supernova remnants, and diffuse galactic emission. Current research focuses on extragalactic astronomy, primarily on the physics and evolution of AGN, Clusters of Galaxies, and gamma-ray bursts. For more than 40 years the group has provided major hardware contributions to numerous space missions, among which are ROSAT, GRO, XMM-Newton, Chandra, Integral and Fermi. MPE is also actively involved in planning the next generation of X-ray telescopes, with key roles in the development of ATHENA, an L-class observatory under consideration by ESA for launch in 2022. The X-ray observatory eROSITA (PI: Peter Predehl), scheduled to be launched in 2013 on the Russian SRG mission, is being completely developed and built in house. The group is also operating the GROND optical/near infrared camera on the MPG/ESO 2.2 m telescope in Chile and an optical high time resolution camera (OPTIMA) on various ground-based telescopes. For the development of novel X-ray detectors, MPE operates a semiconductor laboratory (HLL) which supplied the EPIC pnCCD on XMM-Newton and the eROSITA detectors. Optics and/or components of almost all X-ray observatories worldwide had been tested during the last 30 years in our long beam X-ray test facility PANTER.

The Theory and Complex Plasmas group, has been engaged since 1994 in the investigation of strongly coupled complex ('dusty') plasmas (Plasma Crystals). The group has been the first worldwide to investigate plasma crystals in the laboratory and under microgravity conditions, in parabolic flights and sounding rocket experiments, even on the International Space Station ISS, where PKE-Nefedov, a complex plasma experiment facility, was in operation from 2001 to 2005. Since January 2006, PK-3 Plus, the next-generation plasma crystal experiment, is onboard the space station.

At the end of the year 2009 a total of 487 employees were working at the institute, numbering among them 75 scientist, 95 junior scientists (45 IMPRS PhD students included), 97 externally funded positions and 64 visiting scientists and interns.

The MPE is also active in scientific and vocational training. At the end of 2009 6 students were working on their diploma thesis and 9 apprentices worked in the administration (1) and the institute's workshop (8).