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Archive
(News and Press Releases before 2010)
 
 


Please be aware that this is an archive - some links may have expired.

link to News : News       link to press releases : Press Releases

2009-12-14 see below Herschel Space Telescope uncovers the sources of the Cosmic Infrared Background
2009-11-05 see below Testing Einstein's Special Relativity with Gamma-Ray Burst Photons
2009-10-14 see below Herschel views deep-space pearls on a cosmic string
2009-08-18 see below DLR and Roscosmos sign technical agreement for X-ray telescope eROSITA
2009-07-10 see below Looking deep into the Cat's Eye with Herschel/PACS
2009-07-10 see below Living Fossils Hold Record of "Supermassive" Kick -
   Star clusters point to black holes ejected from host galaxies
2009-06-30 see below MPE Research Result as Title Page of the Journal Physical Review Letters
2009-06-19 see below Herschel's first glimpse of the Universe
2009-06-08 see below MPE Astronomer Finds Most Massive Black Hole in the Nearby Galaxy M87
2009-05-20 see below M 87: The End of a Giant Galaxy's Light and the Transition to Intergalactic Stars
2009-05-08 see below Herschel Space Observatory successfully launched
2009-05-04 see below Looking into the Nursery of Stars
2009-04-28 see below Gamma-Ray Burst 090423 detected at a record distance
2009-03-16 see below Formation of S0 galaxies as common in groups as in clusters
2009-03-11 see below PACS is ready for Launch
2009-03-02 see below A candidate tidal disruption event in the Galaxy cluster Abell 3571
2009-02-19 see below NASA'S FERMI TELESCOPE SEES MOST EXTREME GAMMA-RAY BLAST YET
2009-02-17 see below Parable Flights in Bordeaux
2009-02-02 see below Astronomers Discover Link Between Supermassive Black Holes and Galaxy Formation
2009-01-27 see below 10th Mission PK-3 Plus successfully completed
2008-12-22 see below Successful Dry Run for Herschel
2008-12-10 see below Unprecedented 16-Year Long Study Tracks Stars Orbiting Milky Way Black Hole
2008-11-24 see below The Universe, Yours to Discover
2008-11-14 see below 10 years German-Russian plasma crystal cooperation on the ISS
2008-10-16 see below Young pulsar shines in the gamma-ray sky
2008-10-16 see below Klaus Tschira Preis awarded to Felicitas Mokler
2008-09-24 see below Surprising Flashes from a possible Magnetar
2008-09-18 see below GROND confirms farthest-ever Gamma-Ray Burst
2008-09-08 see below Hints at the presence of planets in young gas discs
2008-08-26 see below GLAST First Light - GLAST Burst Monitor detects 31 Gamma Bursts
2008-06-30 see below Visions for outer Space
2008-06-11 see below NASA's GLAST Space Telescope takes off
2008-06-10 see below Shaw Prize awarded to Reinhard Genzel
2008-05-30 see below Maarten Schmidt receives Kavli Prize
2008-05-06 see below Missing piece of cosmological puzzle found
2008-04-29 see below Superkick: Black hole expelled from its parent galaxy
2008-04-17 see below Black hole sheds light on a galaxy
2008-04-07 see below Black hole found in enigmatic Omega Centauri
2008-04-03 see below Turbulent Disk
2008-03-25 see below Reimar Lüst at 85
2008-03-12 see below Sandra Savaglio receives Pythagoras Award 2008
2008-03-07 see below Large Binocular Telescope Achieves First Binocular Light
2008-02-13 see below Possible Progenitor of Special Supernova Type Detected
2008-01-30 see below Distortions in galaxy clustering yield clues for understanding
   the accelerated expansion of the universe
2008-01-10 see below Antimatter from X-ray Binaries?
2007-10-18 see below Most massive stellar black hole found
2007-09-21 see below Galaxy 'Hunting' Made Easy -
   Galaxies found under the Glare of Cosmic Flashlights
2007-09-07 see below XMM-Newton releases the largest catalogue of X-ray sources
2007-07-07 see below GROND Takes Off - First Light for Gamma-Ray Burst Chaser at La Silla
2007-06-26 see below Radioactive iron, a window to the stars
2007-06-13 see below The Laser Guide Star System on ESO's VLT Starts Regular Science Operations
2007-05-09 see below X-rays provide a new way to investigate exploding stars
2007-03-30 see below eRosita Approved - The Search for Dark Energy Can Start
2007-02-24 see below XMM-Newton's anniversary view of supernova SN 1987A
2007-01-08 see below First 3D map of the Universe's Dark Matter scaffolding
2006-10-06 see below PPan-STARRS - First "Movie" of the Heavens
2006-08-17 see below Far Away Galaxy Under The Microscope
2006-07-26 see below Old pulsars still have new tricks to teach us
2006-07-24 see below Marcel Grossmann Award to Prof. Joachim Trümper
2006-06-13 see below XMM-Newton spots the greatest ball of fire
2006-04-19 see below XMM-Newton reveals a tumbling neutron star
2006-02-23 see below Man-made star shines in the Southern Sky -
   First Light for the VLT Laser Guide Star Facility
2006-01-04 see below Determining the Galactic Supernova Rate through Radioactivity
2005-10-26 see below The Large Binocular Telescope achieves "first light"
2005-09-20 see below Hubble finds mysterious disk of blue stars around a black hole in M 31
2005-08-31 see below XMM-Newton probes the formation of galaxy clusters
2005-03-02 see below Surprise Discovery of Highly Developed Structure in the Early Universe
2005-02-23 see below Black Holes in a radar trap
2005-02-18 see below Astrophysicists at MPE measure the strongest so far observed
   Gamma-Ray Burst of a Magnetar
2004-12-03 see below Günther Hasinger wins the prestigious Gottfried Wilhelm Leibniz Prize 2005
2004-09-28 see below Most powerful massive merger of galaxies
2004-05-24 see below First complete mapping of the "backbone" of the Universe
2004-03-18 see below Compact sources are the origin of soft Gamma-ray emission of the Milky Way
2004-02-18 see below First strong evidence of a giant supermassive black hole ripping apart
   a star at the center of a distant galaxy
2003-11-13 see below Gamma-ray Bursts are originating from jets in supernova events
2003-10-30 see below Flaring infrared radiation directly from the supermassive black hole
   at the center of the milky way detected
2003-09-12 see below Balzan Prize 2003 for Reinhard Genzel
2003-07-07 see below 40 Years MPE
2003-04-10 see below A new X-ray map of the sky: "1XMM"
2002-11-19 see below Two Supermassive Black Holes in Same Galaxy
2002-10-16 see below A star in a close orbit around the supermassive black hole
   at the center of the milky way observed
2002-07-26 see below Planet Mars is glowing in X-rays
2002-07-08 see below Mysterious iron factory in the Early Universe
2001-12-07 see below Sharpest Ever VLT Images at NAOS-CONICA "First Light"
2001-11-26 see below Observations of the planet Venus in X-rays
1999-10-27 see below The universe on stamps: two stamps (out of five) with MPE results!



  MPE Highlight and Press Release:
PACS image
Herschel-PACS images of the 'GOODS-N' field in the constellation of Ursa Major at far-infrared wavelengths of 100 and 160 µm.
Image: MPE

Herschel Space Telescope uncovers the sources of the Cosmic Infrared Background

A weak cosmic infrared radiation field that reaches Earth from all directions contains not yet deciphered messages about the evolution of galaxies. Using first observations with the PACS Instrument on board ESA's Herschel Space Telescope, scientists from the Max Planck Institute for Extraterrestrial Physics and other institutions have for the first time resolved more than half of this radiation into its constituting sources. Observations with Herschel open the road towards understanding the properties of these galaxies, and trace the dusty side of galaxy evolution.
[ internal link more ]
(December 16, 2009)
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photon arrival times
Photon arrival times
(for details see Nature paper)
Image: Nature
Testing Einstein's Special Relativity with
Gamma-Ray Burst Photons


Einstein’s special relativity postulates that observers see the same speed of light in vacuum, independent of photon-energy. At a fundamental scale (the Planck scale), quantum effects are expected to affect the nature of space–time, and Lorentz invariance might become violated. MPE scientists have been involved in a key test of such violation, namely the possible variation of photon speed with energy over cosmological light-travel times. This became possible by the detection of emission from keV up to 31 GeV energies with the Fermi satellite's instruments (GBM, LAT) from the distant and short gamma-ray burst GRB090510. No violation of Lorentz invariance was found to 1 part in 1017, placing the tightest limits so far and eliminating some quantum-gravity theories.
(Abdo et al., Nature 462, Oct 2009)

Links:
external link Stanford University News
external link Nature original publication
Contact:
    linkJ. Greiner
    linkA. von Kienlin
(November 05, 2009)
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  MPE Highlight:
milkyway in IR
Part of the milkyway in IR
Image: MPE
(Hi-Res high resolution)

Herschel views deep-space pearls on a cosmic string

Europe's new space observatory Herschel has delivered marvellous vistas of cold gas clouds lying near the plane of the Milky Way.
The dark, cool region is dotted with stellar factories, like pearls on a cosmic string, unveiling unexpected activity in spectacular details as we have never seen it before! These infrared pictures prove that Herschel is on par with the Hubble Space Telescope, complementing Hubble's view of the universe in visible light with the missing "other half" in the infrared.

Links:

external link ESA web release
external link ESA's Herschel web page
Further MPE/PACS milestones:
internal link Looking deep into the Cat's Eye with Herschel/PACS
internal link Herschel’s first glimpse into space
Contact:   linkE. Sturm
(October 14, 2009)
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  MPE Highlight:
contract signing
Signing of contract
from left: Reichle, Wörner, Perminov

eROSITA
eROSITA

Images: MPE

DLR and Roscosmos sign technical agreement for X-ray telescope eROSITA

With seven X-ray eyes the eROSITA telescope will scan the Universe for black holes and dark matter. Today board members of the German Aerospace Center (DLR) and the Russian Federal Space agency Roscosmos signed an agreement which defines all organisational and technical conditions.

This contract gives the go-ahead to the Max Planck Institute for extraterrestrial Physics in Garching, which is responsible for the development and building of eROSITA.

external link MPG press release (in German language)

external link DLR press release (in German language)

internal link MPE project description

Contact person at MPE:

    linkP. Predehl
(August 18, 2009)
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  MPE Highlight:
PACS First Light

The Cat's Eye nebula NGC6543 as seen by PACS

Looking deep into the Cat's Eye with Herschel/PACS

After the surprising success of the earlier “sneak preview” of the PACS photometer – a spectacular far-infrared colour image of the Whirlpool Galaxy M51 – the first light observation of the spectrometer part of the instrument was carried out on June 23.
Already, these very first data fulfill the expectations of the PACS-Team at MPE at this point and are of unprecedented sensitivity. "A lot of excitement is ahead of us"!   [  internal linkmore ]

(July 10, 2009)
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PRL102
Image Credit: Space Telescope Science Institute

Living Fossils Hold Record of "Supermassive" Kick -
Star clusters point to black holes ejected from host galaxies

When two galaxies and the supermassive black holes in their centres merge, the resulting recoil can catapult the black hole from the galaxy. Scientists of the Rochester Institute of Technology (RIT), MPE and Johns Hopkins University have now found that the stellar clusters around these black holes show very unusual properties and so open up a new possibility to study the event in detail. The stars around evicted black holes orbit at a very high velocity, because only stars orbiting faster than the kick velocity remain attached to the black hole after the kick. As a kind of living fossils of a distant epoch they can shed light on the turbulent past of merging galaxies in nearby clusters.

external link RIT Press Release

external link Original paper
(July 10, 2009)
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PRL102
Title of the journal Physical Review Letters of 26 June 2009

MPE Research Result as Title Page of the Journal
Physical Review Letters

The title of the journal Physical Review Letters of 26 June 2009 shows an experiment which was conducted in the Complex Plasma Group of the Max Planck Institute for extraterrestrial Physics: A microparticle drop is shown which forms in a complex plasma - an ionised gas into which small charged plastic particles are introduced. Under specific conditions new phenomena occur in these systems: Blobs like the one shown on the title form, and also bubbles form and explode upwards into the void. Another phenomenon are peaks which form on the lower brink in the particle cloud and face upwards. These cones remind of so-called Taylor cones, which form in fluids under the influence of an electrical field and surface tension.

internal link News page of the MPE Theory group
    

external link "On the Cover" - Physical Review Letters
(June 30, 2009)
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M51
Far-infrared colour image of the "Whirlpool Galaxy" M51.

Herschel's first glimpse of the Universe

The PACS team at MPE is all excited: After the successful opening of the satellite's cryostat lid on Sunday, June 14, the instruments on board had their first view of the Universe. Against all odds, the Photodetector Array Camera and Spectrometer (PACS) was immediately able to capture some images, which far exceeded all our expectations. They already demonstrated - at this early phase of the mission - the superiority of Herschel, the largest infrared space telescope. [  internal linkmore ]

external link MPG Press Release
    

external link ESA's Herschel web site
(June 19, 2009)
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Correlation
Correlation between black hole mass and bulge mass.

Image: Tim Jones/UT-Austin nach K. Cordes & S. Brown (STScI)

MPE Astronomer Finds Most Massive Black Hole in the Nearby Galaxy M87

Astronomers Jens Thomas (MPE) and Karl Gebhardt (University of Texas) use new computer modeling techniques to discover that the black hole at the heart of M87, one the largest nearby giant galaxies, is two to three times more massive than previously thought. Weighing in at 6.4 billion times the Sun's mass, it is the most massive black hole yet measured with a robust technique, and suggests that the accepted black hole masses in nearby large galaxies may be off by similar amounts. This has consequences for theories of how galaxies form and grow, and might even solve a long-standing astronomical paradox. [  internal linkmore (in German language) ]

external link Press Release of the McDonald Observatory of the University of Texas (Austin)

external link Preprint in astro-ph (#0906.1492)
(June 8, 2009)
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Halos
Outer halos and intra-cluster light in the Virgo Cluster of galaxies.

Image: Chris Mihos, Case Western Reserve University / ESO

M 87: The End of a Giant Galaxy's Light and the Transition to Intergalactic Stars

Astronomers of MPE and ESO have probed the edge of the giant galaxy Messier 87 for the first time, and found that the stars beyond its edge are all intergalactic. The scientists believe that the outer parts of M 87 are missing because of still-not-understood effects during the formation of the Virgo Cluster of galaxies. [  internal linkmore (in German language) ]

external link Original paper in astro-ph

external link ESO press release
(May 20, 2009)
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PACS FPU integration
PACS photometer detector unit during integration into the PACS focal plane unit (FPU).

Copyright: MPE, Garching, Germany; CEA, Saclay, France

Herschel Space Observatory successfully launched

On 14 May Herschel, the largest space telescope ever, has been sent into space aboard an Ariane 5 launcher. For the Max Planck Institute for extraterrestrial Physics (MPE) in Garching, Germany, this event crowns more than ten years spent designing and building one of the three instruments aboard the satellite: PACS (Photodetector Array Camera and Spectrometer) was built by the MPE in cooperation with partners from six European countries. Including the operation of the Instrument Control Centre during the mission, the PACS project has cost the countries nearly 100 million euros.

interneral link MPE pre-launch release, 4 May 2009
(May 15, 2009)
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  MPE Highlight:
Herschel sattelite

Herschel satellite in orbit

Artist's view by D. Ducros, ESA, 2009

Looking into the Nursery of Stars

After ten years of developing and building Herschel, the ESA mission will start into space on the 14th of May. In 1.5 million kilometres distance from earth the space probe will orbit the sun for 3½ years. With its three instruments it will especially detect and analyse infrared radiation, which contains information on a wide range of phenomena like the evolution of distant galaxies and the existence of water in our solar system. Two of the three instruments on board have been developed or co-developed by the Max Planck Institutes for extraterrestrial Physics, Astronomy, Radio Astronomy and Solar System Research. [  internal linkmore ]

external link MPG press release
(May 04, 2009)
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GRB090423

In this picture the afterglow of GRB090423 is the red object shining only in some of the used color channels.

Image: GROND/MPE

Gamma-Ray Burst 090423 detected at a record distance

Following a Gamma-Ray burst alarm of the NASA Swift Satellite on April 23, several groups world-wide started searching for the afterglow emission. The MPE built  linkGROND instrument mounted at the MPI/ESO telesope at La Silla Observatory (Chile) observed this afterglow simultaneously in the spectral bands g'r'i'z'JHK about 15 hours after the burst. The simultaneous measurements in the seven spectral bands enabled scientists at MPE led by Jochen Greiner, to rapidly estimate the redshift of the burst to be around z = 8 which puts it into a new record distance. [  internal linkmore ]

(April 28, 2009)
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S0 Galaxy


Image: MPE



Formation of S0 galaxies as common in groups as in clusters

MPE astrophysicist Dave Wilman has gained new insight into the formation of a special category of galaxies, the so-called S0 galaxies, which will influence studies of galaxies in general.
[  internal linkmore ]



(March 11, 2009)
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PACS is ready

Image: MPE



PACS is ready for Launch

Engineers and scientists of the MPE, together with other colleagues from the PACS consortium, have thoroughly checked our instrument for the Herschel satellite one last time at the ESA spaceport in Kourou (French Guiana) and now signal to their colleagues in Garching:

green light - PACS is ready for launch!



internal link Web pages of the PACS group at MPE

internal link Herschel web pages at ESA
(March 11, 2009)
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Abell 3571

ROSAT colour coded image of the field of A3571. The X-ray transient is indicated with the pointer.

Image: MPE

A candidate tidal disruption event in the Galaxy cluster Abell 3571

The authors of the paper, several from MPE, serendipitously detected with ROSAT an X-ray source that is strongly declining in luminosity, in the galaxy cluster A3571. The period of decay is of about 13 years, and the source was identified as a member of the cluster. This event is consistent with a tidal disruption of a star by a black hole of 107 solar masses. Since the black hole only accretes a small amount of mass, the observed event must correspond to a partial or explosive disruption of the star.

This paper was selected as an external link A&A Highlight by the Editors of Astronomy & Astrophysics, who are trying to attract the readers' attention to some works in the current issue that they find particularly exciting and/or intriguing for those outside the speciality.

Original article in
external link Astron. & Astrophys. 495, 523-535 (2009)

Nico Cappelluti More information can be provided by the author link Nico Cappelluti
(March 02, 2009)
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GRB 080916C

31.7 hours after GRB 080916C exploded, the MPE Gamma-Ray Burst Optical/Near-Infrared Detector (GROND), began acquiring images of the blast's fading afterglow (circled).

Image: MPE / GROND

NASA'S FERMI TELESCOPE SEES MOST EXTREME GAMMA-RAY BLAST YET

The first gamma-ray burst to be seen with substantial GeV emission from NASA's Fermi Gamma-ray Space Telescope is one for the record books. The blast had the greatest total energy, the fastest motions and the highest-energy initial emissions ever seen. [  internal linkmore ]

external link Fermi / NASA press release

The Fermi team's results were first published on February 19, 2009 in the online edition of the journal Science.
external link Original article in Science Express

The GROND results will be published in Astronomy & Astrophysics.
external link GROND results preprint
(February 19, 2009)
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Parable Flight

The MPE parable flight team.

Image: MPE

Parable Flights in Bordeaux

At a three-day parable flight campaign in Bordeaux, the MPE group Theory and Complex Plasmas carried out the experiment "Fast PK-3 Plus", which is supposed to complement the tests on the International Space Station (ISS): With the aid of a new data entry system, which is able to record up to 1000 pictures per second, very fast effects in complex plasmas can be studied. [  internal linkmore ]

internal link Web pages of the theory group at MPE

external link Blog on parable flight (in German language)
(February 17, 2009)
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  MPE Highlight and Press Release:
Galaxies in Virgo

The elliptical galaxies NGC 4649 (left) and NGC 4621 (right) in the Virgo galaxy cluster. These two galaxies belong to the sample of galaxies that Kormendy and Bender investigated.

Image: courtesy of Sloan Digital Sky Survey/WIKISKY

Astronomers Discover Link Between Supermassive Black Holes and Galaxy Formation

A pair of astronomers from Texas and Germany have used a telescope at The University of Texas at Austin's McDonald Observatory together with the Hubble Space Telescope and many other telescopes around the world to uncover new evidence that the largest, most massive galaxies in the universe and the supermassive black holes at their hearts grew together over time.

internal link MPE press release

internal link MPE Highlights

(February 02, 2009)
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10. PKS Mission
Logo of the 10. Mission.

Image: MPE
PKS Mitarbeiter
Celebration after the successful ending of the experiment.

Picture: MPE

10th Mission PK-3 Plus successfully completed

Exactly three years after the start of the operational phase of PK-3 Plus aboard the International Space Station (ISS) the 10th mission was successfully completed with another three experiments. The plasma laboratory PK-3 Plus, operated by the Max Planck Institute for extraterrestrial Physics and Russian institutions, is the second facility of this kind aboard the ISS. It continues the successful story of the previous plasma laboratory PKE-Nefedov, the first science experiment aboard ISS and the most successful one in the history of the space station. Just as its predecessor it provides an insight into complex plasma. In complex plasma the properties of so-called plasma crystals and fluids can be studied on the most fundamental level, the kinetic one. This time experiments (each of 90 minutes) of crystallisation, "string fluids" and "bubbles" inside a thermophoretic complex plasma were on the list.
On the occasion of the 10th mission a logo was designed, for use on stickers, T-shirts and cups, which after successful completion of the experiments were inaugurated immediately at a party in Korolyov (Moscow) near the Russian control centre.
At the end of the year the operational phase of PK-3 Plus was supposed to end, however the facility still works perfectly. That is why the Russians strive for continuation, and MPE totally agrees. So many other exciting missions can be expected.

internal link Plasma Crystal pages at MPE
external link Blog on Plasmakristall (in German language)
(January 27, 2009)
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Herschel
Upper image: the Herschel satellite above the environmental chamber at ESA.
Lower images: the team during tests (Poglitsch, Lutz, Contursi, Feuchtgruber, Müller, and Nielbock (MPIA Heidelberg); left to right).

Image: ESA/MPE

Successful Dry Run for Herschel

Herschel, the largest space telescope of its kind, has successfully passed the final system tests and is now ready to explore some of the coolest and most distant objects in the Universe. From December 13 to 18, five full days of spacecraft operations were simulated in the so-called SOVT (System Operational Validation Test), to tackle any problems before launch, scheduled for April 12, 2009. MPE has developed the instrument PACS for Herschel, a combination of camera and spectrometer, which will allow Herschel to take pictures in six different "colours" in the far-infrared. In combination with the two other instruments of the telescope PACS will be used to study the formation and evolution of galaxies and stars.

interner Verweis PACS pages at MPE

(December 22, 2008)
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MPE Highlight:

Galactic Center

The central 25 arcseconds of our Milky Way.

Image: ESO

Unprecedented 16-Year Long Study Tracks Stars Orbiting Milky Way Black Hole

In a 16-year long study, using several of ESO's flagship telescopes, a team of German astronomers has produced the most detailed view ever of the surroundings of the monster lurking at our Galaxy's heart — a supermassive black hole. The research has unravelled the hidden secrets of this tumultuous region by mapping the orbits of almost 30 stars, a five-fold increase over previous studies. One of the stars has now completed a full orbit around the black hole.

interner Verweis MPE press release (in German language)

externer Verweis MPG press release (in German language)

externer Verweis ESO press release
externer Verweis Pictures and videos of the ESO press release
(December 10, 2008)
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IYA 2009

International Year of Astronomy (IYA2009)

The Universe, Yours to Discover

The International Astronomical Union (IAU) launched 2009 as the International Year of Astronomy (IYA2009) under the theme, The Universe, Yours to Discover. IYA2009 marks the 400th anniversary of the first astronomical observation through a telescope by Galileo Galilei. It will be a global celebration of astronomy and its contributions to society and culture, with a strong emphasis on education, public engagement and the involvement of young people, with events at national, regional and global levels throughout the whole of 2009. UNESCO has endorsed the IYA2009 and the United Nations proclaimed the year 2009 as the International Year of Astronomy on 20 December 2007.

MPA, MPE and other institutes of the Garching campus participate in the planned events for IYA 2009.

internal link MPA/MPE press release (pdf; in German language)
external link National home page of the IYA 2009
external link Home page of the IYA 2009
(November 24, 2008)
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PK3 on board the ISS

Cosmonaut Malenchenko on board the ISS conducting a plasma crystal experiment in March 2008.

Image credit: RKK-Energia

10 years German-Russian plasma crystal cooperation on the ISS

On November 17-18, 2008, representatives from the Joint Institute for High Temperatures JIHT in Moskau and MPE are conducting a plasma crystal symposium at MPE to discuss achieved results both in scientific as well as technical fields and to utilize them in future projects.
The Russion delegation is accompanied by four cosmonauts, engineers and officials from RKK-Energia (space industry), the cosmonaut training center, and the ISS control center.

external link MPG press release (in German language)
internal link Plasma crystal web pages at MPE
(November 14, 2008)
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CTA-1 pulsar

Radio map of the supernova remnant CTA-1. The position of the pulsar and it's light curve are indicated.

Image credit: NASA / S. Pineault, DRAO / G. Kanbach, MPE.

Young pulsar shines in the gamma-ray sky

Neutron star discovered in the centre of the nearby supernova relict CTA 1

For the first time scientists have discovered a rotating neutron star - a pulsar - by means of its gamma radiation. The international team led by Gottfried Kanbach from the MPE used the Fermi Gamma-Ray Space Telescope for their observations. The neutron star is one of only ten high-energy pulsars discovered so far.

external link MPG press release (in German language)
external link NASA press release
external link Fermi News

external link Original paper:
A. A. Abdo et.al.
Discovery of a gamma-ray pulsar in the young galactic supernova-remnant CTA 1 with the Fermi Gamma-Ray Space Telescope

Science Express of 16 October 2008;
(alphabetical author list)
(October 16, 2008)
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Tschira Preis 2008

Klaus Tschira Preis awarded to Felicitas Mokler

Felicitas Mokler, postdoc at the MPE, has been awarded the Klaus Tschira Prize "KlarText!" bearing a monetary award of 5000 euros. The prize is awarded to scientists from biology, chemistry, informatics, mathematics, physics and neuroscience, who communicate the results of their outstanding dissertation in an article in a descriptive way. The subject of Mokler's text was an experiment on the space station ISS on the formation of planets.

external link Klaus Tschira Preis (in German language)
external link Prize winners 2008 (in German language)
(October 16, 2008)
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Magnetar

Artist's impression of the observed object

Image Credit: A. Stefanescu, MPE

Surprising Flashes from a possible Magnetar
Observations of optical flares reveal limits of established theories on magnetars

By means of the high-speed photometer OPTIMA of the Max Planck Institute for Extraterrestrial Physics (MPE), a team of MPE scientists might have detected an unexpected new sub-category of astronomical objects. It appears to be a magnetar with bursts in the visible part of the spectrum, in contrast to the X-ray and gamma flashes, which are considered to be characteristic for magnetars.

internal link MPE press release (in German language)
external link Original paper:
Nature 455, 503-505 (25 September 2008)
external link "Editor's Summary" of the Nature issue that contains the paper

internal link OPTIMA web pages at MPE
(September 24, 2008)
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Grond Logo

Image Credit: MPE

GROND confirms farthest-ever Gamma-Ray Burst

GROND, the Gamma-Ray Burst Optical Near-IR Detector, has found the most distant gamma-ray burst ever detected. The observation demonstrates the excellent performance of GROND, which was developed at the MPE. The burst occurred less than 825 million years after the Universe began. The star that popped off this shot seen across the cosmos died when the Universe was less than one-sixteenth its present age.

internal link MPE press release (in German language)
external link NASA press release
external link Paper published in March 2009:
ApJ 693, 1610-1620 (2009)

internal link GROND pages at MPE
(September 18, 2008)
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Van Dishoeck

Artist's impression of a planet-forming disc

Image Credit: ESO

Hints at the presence of planets in young gas discs

Astronomers have been able to study planet-forming discs around young Sun-like stars in unsurpassed detail, clearly revealing the motion and distribution of the gas in the inner parts of the disc. The result possibly implies the presence of giant planets. Principal Investigator of the observing programme at the Very Large Telescope was MPE scientist Ewine van Dishoeck. Because planets could be home to other forms of life, the study of exoplanets ranks very high in contemporary astronomy.

external link ESO press release
(September 08, 2008)
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FERMI first light

First all-sky image taken by the Large Area Telescope of the Fermi Gamma-ray Space Telescope.

Image Credit:
NASA/DOE/International LAT Team

GLAST First Light
GLAST Burst Monitor detects 31 Gamma Bursts


GLAST, the Gamma-Ray Large Area Space Telescope, has begun its mission of exploring the universe in high-energy gamma rays. The spacecraft and its revolutionary instruments passed their orbital checkout with flying colors. GBM, the GLAST Burst Monitor, spotted 31 gamma-ray bursts in its first month of operations.
NASA announced today that GLAST has been renamed the Fermi Gamma-ray Space Telescope.

internal link MPE press release (in German language)
external link NASA press release

internal link GLAST Burst Monitor at MPE
(August 26, 2008)
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LISA

Example: Project LISA - three identical satellites flying in a formation resembling a triangle.

Image Credit: General Dynamics C4 Systems

Visions for outer Space

Participants of a symposium on basic research in space call for a strategic paper on national space exploration

Which areas are to be studied in space? Which projects are being planned? Which means of funding are there? About 120 participants from science, industry and politics discussed these questions on a symposium organized by the Max Planck Institute for extraterrestrial Physics. The purpose of the congress in the Bavarian Ministry for Economic Affairs was the preparation of a strategic paper on national space exploration.

external link MPG press release
internal link web page of the symposium (in German language)
(July 09, 2008)
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GLAST

Artist's concept: GLAST in orbit

Image Credit: General Dynamics C4 Systems

NASA's GLAST Space Telescope takes off

Max Planck Institute for extraterrestrial Physics developed detectors of GLAST Burst Monitor

The Gamma-Ray Large Area Space Telescope GLAST was launched on June 11, 2008 aboard a Delta II from Cape Canaveral Air Force Station in Florida, USA. In collaboration with other institutes the MPE was involved in the development of the secondary instrument GLAST Burst Monitor (GBM). The new space telescope will detect gamma-ray bursts and so open the high-energy Universe to exploration. Because of problems with the Delta II rocket the launch had been rescheduled several times during the past months.

internal link MPE press release (in German language)
internal link GLAST Burst Monitor at MPE
internal link MPG press release (MS-Word document; about GLAST, Phoenix, and the new MPI in Florida)
external link GLAST at NASA
external link DLR news

(June 11, 2008)
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Reinhard Genzel

Reinhard Genzel

Shaw Prize awarded to Reinhard Genzel

Reinhard Genzel, director of the Max Planck Institute for extraterrestrial Physics (MPE) in Garching, Germany, has been awarded this year's Shaw Prize for Astronomy for his outstanding contribution in demonstrating that the Milky Way contains a supermassive black hole at its centre. The Shaw Prize is awarded annually by the Shaw Prize Foundation in Hong Kong in the Life Sciences, Mathematical Sciences and Astronomy, each of the three prizes bearing a monetary award of one million US dollars.

interner Verweis Shaw Prize: Official Web Page
interner Verweis MPE press release
interner Verweis PDF Print Version
(June 10, 2008)
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Maarten Schmidt

Maarten Schmidt

Maarten Schmidt receives Kavli Prize

Maarten Schmidt from the California Institute of Technology, external scientific member of the MPE, together with Donald Lynden-Bell from the University of Cambridge received the first Kavli Prize for Astrophysics by the Norwegian Academy of Science and Letters, The Kavli Foundation, and the Norwegian Ministry of Education and Research. The Kavli Prizes, established as a complement to the Nobel Prizes, this year were given for special achievements in astrophysics, nanoscience and neuroscience. Maarten Schmidt and Donald Lynden-Bell were awarded for their scientific results on quasars.

interner Verweis Kavli Prize: Official Web Page
(May 30, 2008)
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Abell 222 and 223

A bridge of hot gas is connecting two clusters of galaxies. Composite optical and X-ray image of the cluster pair Abell 222 and Abell 223.

Image Credit: ESA/XMM-Newton/ EPIC/ ESO (J. Dietrich)/ SRON (N. Werner)/ MPE (A. Finoguenov)

Missing piece of cosmological puzzle found

Astronomers detect a part of long-searched baryonic matter in a filament connecting two clusters of galaxies

The composition of the Universe still puzzles the astronomers: About 96 percent consist of unknown matter. Just four percent are composed of the normal material of which we ourselves are made, the so-called baryonic matter. Even this minor part however has not yet been comprehended completely: all discovered stars, galaxies and gases in the Universe amount to less than a half of these four percent. Now a team of astrophysicists from MPE, ESO and two institutes in the Netherlands has found evidence of a part of the missing baryons in a bridge-like filament connecting two clusters of galaxies (Astronomy & Astrophysics Letters, May 2008).

internal link MPE press release
external link ESA News
external link Spiegel Online web page with video (in German language)

Original paper:
external link Astron. & Astrophys., 482, L29-L33, 2008
(May 6, 2008)
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artist's conception

Artist's conception of a black hole ejected from a galaxy

Image Credit: Illustration: MPE, optical image: HST

Superkick: Black hole expelled from its parent galaxy

Gravitational rocket propelled the monster at a speed of thousands of kilometres per second

By an enormous burst of gravitational waves that accompanies the merger of two black holes the newly formed black hole was ejected from its galaxy. This extreme ejection event, which had been predicted by theorists, has now been observed in nature for the first time. The team led by Stefanie Komossa from the Max Planck Institute for extraterrestrial Physics (MPE) thereby opened a new window into observational astrophysics. The discovery will have far-reaching consequences for our understanding of galaxy formation and evolution in the early Universe, and also provides observational confirmation of a key prediction from the General Theory of Relativity.

internal link MPE press release

Original paper:
external link ApJ Letters, 678, L81, 2008
external link preprint in astro-ph: 0804.4585
(April 29, 2008)
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light echo

The artistic view shows the light echo of a high-energy flash from a black hole

Credit: MPE/ESA

Black hole sheds light on a galaxy

Light echo of a high-energy flash from a black hole first observed in detail

For the first time, the light echo of a stellar tidal disruption could be observed in great detail. In doing so, an international team led by Stefanie Komossa from the MPE noticed the strongest iron emission ever observed in a galaxy and interpreted it as an evidence for a molecular torus. The light echo not only revealed the stellar disruption process, but it also provides a powerful new method for mapping galactic nuclei.

internal link MPE press release

Original paper:
external link ApJ Letters, 678, L13, 2008
external link Preprint: arXiv:0804.2670v1 [astro-ph]
(April 17, 2008)
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X-ray Binary

The artistic view shows a cataclysmic variable, the kind of close binary systems that host classical novae

Credit: Mark A. Garlick

Turbulent Disk

Asymmetric accretion disk causes X-ray flux variations in bright supersoft nova

A team led by Gloria Sala from the Max Planck Institute for extraterrestrial Physics has studied the Nova V5116 Sagittarii with the ESA X-ray observatory XMM-Newton and found abrupt decreases and increases of the flux, but an unchanged white dwarf atmosphere temperature both in the low- and the high-flux periods. A partial eclipse caused by an asymmetric accretion disk might explain the results.

internal link MPE press release
external link ESA news release

Original paper:
external link Astrophys. Journ. Letters, 675, L93 - L96, 2008
(April 3, 2008)
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Black Hole in Omega Cen

This artist’s concept shows the intermediate-mass black hole that may exist at the center of Omega Centauri.

Credit: Gemini Observatory/AURA

Black hole found in enigmatic Omega Centauri

The well-known naked-eye star cluster Omega Centauri may be home to an elusive intermediate-mass black hole. Observations made by Eva Noyola from MPE and international colleagues using the Gemini Observatory and the Hubble Space Telescope provide convincing evidence that such black holes do exist and could even lead to an understanding of how they might evolve into larger supermassive black holes like the ones found at the cores of many galaxies.

external link Gemini Observatory press release
external link ESA / Hubble Space Telescope news release
external link NASA / Hubble Space Telescope news release
external link Article in astronews (in German language)

Original paper:
external link Astrophys. Journ., 676, 1008 - 1015, 2008
(April 7, 2008)
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MPE directors

Reimar Lüst (l.) along with all MPE directors at the occasion of the opening of the new MPE building in 2000

Reimar Lüst at 85

Reimar Lüst, born on the 25th of March 1923, was from 1963 to 1972 Director of the sub-institute for extraterrestrial physics within the Max Planck Institute for Physics and Astrophysics, which later was transformed into an autonomous MPI for extraterrestrial Physics. After his time as MPE Director Lüst was president of the Max Planck Society for 12 years.
MPG and MPE wish Reimar Lüst a happy birthday and many happy returns.

external link Das ereignisreiche Leben des Reimar Lüst - ein Porträt zum 85. Geburtstag des ehemaligen MPE-Direktors
(MPG press release in German language)
internal link History of the MPE
(March 25, 2008)
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Award awarded

Sandra Savaglio receiving the award

Sandra Savaglio receives Pythagoras Award 2008

This year's Pythagoras Award goes to Sandra Savaglio, astrophysicist at the MPE. The prize is awarded since 2004 by the City of Crotone on behalf of the University of Calabria. Sandra Savaglio is honoured for her overall performance in different fields of astrophysics.

internal link MPE press release
(March 12, 2008)
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NGC 2770

Using both LBT mirrors, this First Binocular Light image shows the spiral galaxy, NGC 2770. The galaxy lies 102 million light years from our Milky Way, and has a flat disk of stars and glowing gas, tipped slightly toward our line of sight.

Image: LBT

Large Binocular Telescope Achieves First Binocular Light

After more than a decade of preparation, the world’s most powerful telescope is now looking skyward with both of its massive eyes wide open. The Large Binocular Telescope (LBT) partners in the U.S.A., Italy and Germany are pleased to announce that the LBT has successfully achieved first binocular light. With this latest milestone, the LBT will provide new and more powerful views of deep space, including potentially answering fundamental questions about the origins of the universe and mysterious worlds in other planetary systems.
The MPE makes a significant contribution to the LBT near infrared instrument LUCIFER and will use the LBT to study the evolution of galaxies in the early universe.

external link LBT press release
external link University of Arizona press release
external link MPIA press release (in German language)
link LUCIFER pages at MPE
(March 07, 2008)
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progenitor

On the trace of a supernova progenitor: the image shows a strong X-ray source detected by the Chandra observatory four years ago. The source is at the position of the Type Ia supernova SN 2007on.

Image: Chandra / Rasmus Voss, MPE

Possible Progenitor of Special Supernova Type Detected

Using data from NASA's Chandra X-ray Observatory, scientists have reported the possible detection of a binary star system that was later destroyed in a supernova explosion. The new method they used provides great future promise for finding the detailed origin of these important cosmic events.
In an article appearing in the February 14th issue of the journal Nature, Rasmus Voss of the MPE and Gijs Nelemans of Radboud University searched Chandra images for evidence of a much sought after, but as yet unobserved binary system - one that was about to go supernova. Near the position of a recently detected supernova, they discovered an object in Chandra images taken more than four years before the explosion. The supernova, known as SN 2007on, was identified as a Type Ia supernova. Astronomers generally agree that Type Ia supernovas are produced by the explosion of a white dwarf star in a binary star system. However, the exact configuration and trigger for the explosion is unclear.


external link MPG Press Release (in German language)
external link Chandra Press release
and
NASA / Chandra press release
Original Publication:
external link Nature 451, 802 - 804 (2008)
More articles:
external link Welt der Physik (in German language)
(February 13, 2008)
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super galaxy

Simulation of the formation of a super galaxy

Image: Klaus Dolag, MPA

Distortions in galaxy clustering yield clues for understanding the accelerated expansion of the universe

Observations of distant Type Ia supernovae and of cosmic background radiation give evidence that the universe’s expansion is faster now than it was in the past. The expansion of spacetime itself causes the moving apart of the galaxies.
The physical cause of this accelerated expansion is not known yet. Guzzo et al, Max Planck Institute for Extraterrestrial Physics and Max Planck Institute for Astrophysics, Garching, propose a new method to study the cause of the accelerated expansion and demonstrate that it works. This method bases on galaxy redshift distortions, caused by proper motions of the galaxies (Nature, January 31, 2008). [moremore]


link MPE Press Release
external link MPG Press Release   (in German language)
external link ESO Press Release  
Original Publication:
external link Nature 451, 541 - 544 (2008)
(January 30, 2008)
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positron emission X-ray binary distribution

Antimatter (above) and X-ray binaries (below) show a similar distribution in the central region of the Milky Way.

Images: G. Weidenspointner, MPE

Antimatter from X-ray Binaries?

A first hint at the production of positrons by X-ray binaries in the Galaxy

Observations with the European INTEGRAL satellite give scientists a first clue to the possible origin of the mysterious antimatter in our Galaxy. Antimatter is distributed non-symmetric in the central region of the Milky Way much similar to the distribution of X-ray binaries in the Galaxy.
As reported in Nature on Jan. 10, 2008, an international team of astronomers led by Georg Weidenspointner of MPE interprets this unexpected discovery as a first hint at the production of antimatter by X-ray binaries in the Galaxy.


external link ESA press release
external link NASA press release
external link MPG press release   (in German)
Original publication:
external link Nature 451, 159 - 162 (2008)

(January 10, 2008)
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object

The massive stellar black hole in M 33.

Picture: Pietsch, MPE

Most massive stellar black hole found

MPE members were actively involved in the detection of an exceptionally massive black hole. This result has intriguing implications for the evolution and ultimate fate of massive stars. The black hole is part of a binary system in M 33. By combining data from NASA's Chandra X-ray Observatory and the Gemini telescope on Mauna Kea, Hawaii, the mass of the black hole, was determined to be 15.7 times that of the Sun.


exteral link MPG press release
(in German language)
external link Chandra press release


Original publication:
external link Nature 449, 872-875 (2007)

(October 18, 2007)
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new galaxies found

Regions around the 14 quasars where previously hidden galaxies were detected via their hydrogen emission using the SINFONI instrument on ESO's Very Large Telescope.

Image: ESO

Galaxy 'Hunting' Made Easy
-
Galaxies found under the Glare of Cosmic Flashlights

Astronomers using ESO's Very Large Telescope have discovered in a single pass about a dozen otherwise invisible galaxies halfway across the Universe. The discovery, based on a technique that exploits SINFONI, a combination of the SPIFFI instrument built at MPE and the ESO developed Adaptive Optics system for the VLT, represents a major breakthrough in the field of galaxy 'hunting'. The quasars used to find these galaxies are very distant objects of extreme brilliance, which are used as cosmic beacons that reveal galaxies lying between the quasar and us.


external link ESO press/science release   (ESO 40/07)
link Information on SPIFFI at MPE
 
external link ESO press release on the first installation of SINFONI in 2004   (ESO 21/04)
(September 21, 2007)
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2XMM logo

Logo of the new catalogue

Image: ESA

XMM-Newton releases the largest catalogue of X-ray sources

The largest catalogue of X-ray sources ever made has now been released. The catalogue, '2XMM', has been compiled from observations carried out with ESA's XMM-Newton space observatory over 6 years of operation.
The 2XMM Serendipitous EPIC Source Catalogue is the result of several years of development by the XMM-Newton Survey Science Centre (SSC), a consortium of European institutes including the MPE.


external link ESA press release
external link MPG press information   (in German)
link Information on XMM-Newton at MPE
external link Web page of the new catalogue "2XMM"

external link Web page of the previous catalogue "1XMM"
(September 7, 2007)
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GROND at 2.2m telescope

GROND (lower left side) at the 2.2-m MPI/ESO Telescope

Picture: MPE

GROND Takes Off - First Light for Gamma-Ray Burst Chaser at La Silla

A new instrument saw First Light in June 2007 at the ESO La Silla Observatory. Equipping the 2.2-m MPI/ESO telescope, the MPE built GROND (Gamma Ray Burst Optical Near IR-Detector) takes images simultaneously in seven colours in the visible and the infrared. It will be mostly used to determine distances of gamma-ray bursts.
Taking images in different filters simultaneously is important also for the study of many other astrophysical sources, and in particular of variable sources, such as close binaries or active galactic nuclei.


external link ESO Press Release  
exteral link MPG Press Release
(in German language)


(July 7, 2007)
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Fe 60

Traces of the radioactive decay of Fe-60 in the interstellar gas of the Galaxy. The picture shows an overlay of the weak gamma-ray lines at 1173 and 1332 to enhance the signal.

Picture: MPE

Radioactive iron, a window to the stars

Scientist from MPE using ESA's orbiting gamma-ray observatory, Integral, have made a pioneering unequivocal discovery of radioactive iron-60 in our galaxy that provides powerful insight into the workings of massive stars that pervade and shape it.


external link ESA Space Science News  
exteral link MPG Press Release
(in German language)


 
external link
Original article:
Astronomy & Astrophysics 469, 1005-1012 (2007)


exteral link Integral Picture of the Month (June 2007)

(June 26, 2007)
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IRAS 06035-7102

The Ultra Luminous Merger IRAS 06035-7102.
It was formed as two spiral galaxies swung past each other on their first close encounter and multiple bursts of vigorous star formation were ignited. Due to PARSEC, the detail in the image allows these compact star clusters to be easily seen.
The colour-code corresponds to intensity.

Credits: (ESO/MPE/NACO-LGS/VLT)

Free from the Atmosphere!

The Laser Guide Star System on ESO's VLT Starts Regular Science Operations

An artificial, laser-fed star now shines regularly over the sky of Paranal, home of ESO's Very Large Telescope, one of the world's most advanced large ground-based telescopes. This system, called PARSEC, was built at MPE and provides assistance for the adaptive optics instruments on the VLT and so allows astronomers to obtain images free from the blurring effect of the atmosphere, regardless of the brightness and the location on the sky of the observed target. Now that it is routinely offered by the observatory, the skies seem much sharper to astronomers.


exteral link ESO Press Release 27/07

 

Special web pages at MPE:
  link PARSEC - The Laser for the VLT
link Pictures documenting the progress of PARSEC

(June 13, 2007)
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M 31

Optical M 31 H-alpha image overplotted with contours from Chandra observations. The positions of 17 counterparts of optical novae detected in these images are indicated with circles and nova names.

Credits: W. Pietsch (MPE Garching, Germany), P. Massey (Lowell Observatory, USA), NASA/Chandra


X-rays provide a new way to investigate exploding stars

Using the X-ray observatories XMM-Newton (ESA) and Chandra (NASA) as well as optical monitoring observations, astronomers from the MPE have identified a new class of exploding stars where the X-ray emission "lives fast and dies young".

The identification of this particular class of explosions gives astronomers a valuable new constraint to help them model and understand stellar explosions.


link Special web page at MPE:
Optical Novae as X-ray Sources
exteral link Original paper:
Astronomy & Astrophysics, 465, 2007, pp.375-392
exteral link ESA Press Release
exteral link Chandra Press Release

(May 09, 2007)
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eRosita

Artists concept of eRosita

Picture: MPE


eRosita Approved - The Search for Dark Energy Can Start

The German Aerospace Center (Deutsches Zentrum für Luft- und Raumfahrt (DLR)) has approved funding (21 million Euro) to build the eROSITA X-ray telescope for a launch in 2011. ROSKOSMOS and DLR signed a memorandum of understanding for the cooperation for this project.


exteral link MPG Press Release (in German Language)
interal link eRosita pages at MPE

(March 30, 2007)
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XMM: SN 1987A

Recent XMM-Newton view of supernova SN 1987A

Image: ESA


XMM-Newton's anniversary view of supernova SN 1987A

The supernova SN 1987A in the Large Magellanic Cloud is the nearest supernova detected since the invention of the telescope. Almost 20 years after its discovery on 23 February 1987, XMM-Newton observed the stellar remnant in X-rays on 17 January 2007. Continuously brightening since the first detection in X-rays by ROSAT in 1992, it now outshines all other X-ray sources in its immediate neighbourhood and it is more than ten times brighter as compared to the first-light observations of XMM-Newton in January 2000.

Frank Haberl of MPE is XMM-Newton's EPIC Principal Investigator.


external link ESA press release

(February 24, 2007)
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Distribution of the Dark Matter as revealed by the Hubble Space Telescope

Image: NASA, ESA and R. Massey (California Institute of Technology)


First 3D map of the Universe's Dark Matter scaffolding

An international team of scientists generated the yet most accurate map of the distribution of Dark Matter for a certain region of the universe. For details see the links below. MPE scientists contributed to the map of the visible (baryonic) matter, which helped to calibrate the method applied for revealing the distribution of the Dark matter. (Nature, January 7, 2007)


external link MPG press release (in German language)
external link NASA/ESA HST press release

(January 8, 2007)
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PS1 dome

The PS1 telescope on the summit of Haleakala, Maui (Hawaii).

Photograph: Brett Simison


Astronomers Unite to Make Revolutionary Map and First Movie of the Sky

Pan-STARRS
First "Movie" of the Heavens

Astronomers from the Max-Planck-Institutes for Astronomy in Heidelberg and for Extraterrestrial Physics in Garching have joined with colleagues world-wide to form a consortium that will exploit a powerful new survey telescope on Haleakala on the island of Maui (Hawaii). This telescope will map repeatedly much of the entire sky, hence creating a very deep color-map and a first digital »movie« of the heavens, mapping changes in the sky with time.


external link MPIA/MPE press release

(October 6, 2006)
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BzK-15504

H-alpha line emission of the galaxy BzK-15504, at cosmological redshift of 2.38, corresponding to a time of 3 billion years after the Big Bang. The colours show whether the ionised gas is moving away from us (red), toward us (blue) or is stationary (green), relative to the overall rest frame of the galaxy. The galaxy appears to be a disc, like our Milky Way, and rotates at 230 km/s about the yellow axis, which is centred on the nucleus of the galaxy (white cross).

Picture: SINFONI / VLT


Far Away Galaxy Under The Microscope

SINFONI Discovers Rapidly Forming, Large Proto-Disc Galaxies Three Billion Years After The Big Bang

An international group of astronomers have discovered large disc galaxies akin to our Milky Way that must have formed on a rapid time scale, only 3 billion years after the Big Bang. In one of these systems, the combination of adaptive optics techniques with the new SINFONI spectrograph on ESO's Very Large Telescope (VLT) resulted in a record-breaking resolution of a mere 0.15 arcsecond, giving an unprecedented detailed view of the anatomy of such a distant proto-disc galaxy.


external link MPG press release
(in German language)
external link ESO Press Release
 
Relevant Publications:
external link Genzel et al., Nature 442, p. 786-789 (2006)
external link N.M. Förster Schreiber et al., ApJ 645, 1062 (2006)

(August 17, 2006)
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PSR B1929+10

An artist’s impression of the ‘lumininescent’ magnetosphere surrounding a pulsar.  The pulsar itself is invisible in this view and sits at the very centre of the image. Above the pulsar’s magnetic poles, charged particles are accelerated outwards along the magnetic field lines and produce intense beamed radiation that can be observed by XMM-Newton.

Picture: W. Becker / MPE


Max-Planck-Scientists find new insights in the processes on how old pulsars generate X-rays:

Old pulsars still have new tricks to teach us

The super-sensitivity of ESA’s XMM-Newton X-ray observatory has shown that the prevailing theory of how stellar corpses, known as pulsars, generate their X-rays needs revising. In particular, the energy needed to generate the million-degree polar hotspots seen on cooling neutron stars may come predominately from inside the pulsar, not from outside. This is suggested by the investigation of five, several million years old rotation-powered pulsars using XMM-Newton.


external link ESA's XMM-Newton Science News
external link MPG press release
(in German language)
 
Relevant Publications:
external link Becker et al., ApJ 645, p. 1421 (2006)
external link Becker et al., ApJ 633, p. 367 (2005)
external link Becker et al., ApJ 615, p. 908 (2004)

(July 26, 2006)
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Trümper

Prof. Dr. Joachim Trümper


Marcel Grossmann Award to Prof. Joachim Trümper

At the 11th Marcel Grossmann Meeting (MG11) held in Berlin in July 2006 Joachim Trümper (MPE) received the Marcel Grossmann Award 2006 for his outstanding scientific contributions to the physics of compact astrophysical objects and for leading the highly successful ROSAT mission which discovered more then 200,000 galactic and extragalactic X-ray sources: "a major step in the observational capabilities of X-ray astronomy and in the knowledge of our universe".


external link Information on the Marcel Grossmann Meetings

(July 24, 2006)
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A3266

This X-ray image shows a comet-like blob of gas about 5 million light-years long hurling through a distant galaxy cluster with a velocity of over 500 miles per second (more than 750 km/s). The 'comet' is confined to the orange regions in the middle of this image. The head is to the lower right of center. The scale is 1 million light years.

Picture: ESA/XMM-Newton/Finoguenov et al.


XMM-Newton spots the greatest ball of fire

Using data from ESA's XMM-Newton X-ray observatory, a team of international scientists including members of MPE found a comet-like ball of gas over a thousand million times the mass of the sun hurling through the distant galaxy cluster Abell 3266 with a velocity of over 750 kilometres per second. This colossal 'ball of fire' is by far the largest object of this kind ever identified.


external link ESA press release
link detailed description
(in German language)
external link article in "SPACE.com"
external link article in "Wissenschaft.de"
(in German language)
external link Original article in ApJ (access controlled)

(June 13, 2006)
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neutron star

XMM-Newton image of the neutron star RXJ0720.4-3125

Picture: MPE


XMM-Newton reveals a tumbling neutron star

Using data from ESA's XMM-Newton X-ray observatory, an international group of astrophysicists led by Frank Haberl (MPE) discovered that one spinning neutron star doesn't appear to be the stable rotator scientists would expect. These X-ray observations promise to give new insights into the thermal evolution and finally the interior structure of neutron stars.
Spinning neutron stars, also known as pulsars, are generally known to be highly stable rotators. Thanks to their periodic signals, emitted either in the radio or in the X-ray wavelength, they can serve as very accurate astronomical "clocks".


external link MPG press release
external link ESA news
external link article in Wissenschaft.de (in German language)
link web page at MPE

(April 19, 2006)
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laser guide

28 January 2006: a laser beam of several watts was launched from Yepun, the fourth 8.2m Unit Telescope of the Very Large Telescope, producing an artificial star at a height of 90 km in the atmosphere.

Picture: ESO


Man-made star shines in the Southern Sky -
First Light for the VLT Laser Guide Star Facility

Scientists at MPE, MPiA, and ESO celebrate another major milestone at Cerro Paranal in Chile, home of ESO's Very Large Telescope array. Thanks to their dedicated efforts, they were able to create the first artificial star in the Southern Hemisphere, allowing astronomers to study the Universe in the finest detail. This artificial laser guide star will be used with adaptive optics systems that counteract the blurring effect of the atmosphere. Previously this technique has been limited to the very small regions around bright stars. Now, it is possible to apply it almost anywhere in the sky.


external link MPG press release (in German language)
external link ESO press release
link PARSEC pages at MPE

(February 23, 2006)
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galactic rotation

Precision measurements of the frequency of the gamma-ray line from radioactive decay of 26Al (T1/2~72000 years) shows that this radioactivity reflects the entire population of massive, young stars in the Galaxy.

Picture: MPE


Using the spectrometer on ESA's Gamma-Ray Observatory INTEGRAL, an international team of researchers led by MPE scientists succeeded in

Determining the Galactic Supernova Rate
through Radioactivity

Radioactive 26Al is ejected into interstellar space together with other new elements, when massive stars reach the terminal phases of their evolution and finally explode as supernovae. Now an unpredecented precision measurement of the 26Al decay gamma-ray line was performed. From the otherwise heavily occulted inner region of the Galaxy, the signature of the galactic rotation was found in the data. This led the team to conclude that observed 26Al gamma-rays represent the massive star population over the full extent of the Galaxy. From the total amount of observed 26Al, this corresponds to a rate of supernovae from massive stars of two per century.


external link MPG press release
external link Original paper (Nature)
link special MPE pages
pointer Article in the magazine
external link "MaxPlanckForschung" (in German language), vol. 4/2005
in link to pdf document pdf format (2.6 MB; in German language)

(January 25, 2006)
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LBT

The Large Binocular Telescope at sunset showing the first 8.4m primary mirror. (inset) The first light image of the edge-on spiral galaxies NGC891 taken with the Large Binocular camera.

Picture: LBT


The Large Binocular Telescope achieves "first light"


The Large Binocular Telescope (LBT) achieved "first light" on 12 October 2005. "First light" is an important milestone for reaching our ultimate goal of using the LBT for outstanding astrophysical research. The LBT will have a collecting area larger than any existing or planned single telescope. More importantly, the binocular configuration provides unique capabilities for high resolution near-infrared imaging, exceeding the resolution of the Hubble Space Telescope.


external link Press Release of MPiA (in German language)
external link Press Release of MPG
external link "First light" images
external link LBT pages at MPiA Heidelberg
external link LBT Observatory
 
link Lucifer pages at MPE (Lucifer is an instrument for LBT built with MPE participation)

(October 26, 2005)
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blue stars in M31

Blue stars around the central black hole in M31.

Image credit: ESA


Hubble finds mysterious disk of blue stars around a black hole in M 31


An international team of astronomers using the NASA/ESA Hubble Space Telescope have found two nested disks in Keplerian rotation around the central supermassive black hole in our neighbouring Andromeda Galaxy (M31).


external link ESA Press Release
external link Original article:
Bender R. et al.
Astrophysical Journal 631, 280-300 (2005)

(September 20, 2005)
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galaxy cluster RXCJ0658.5-5556

X-ray image of RXCJ0658.5-5556, a violently merging cluster. The dark blue region near the centre is the core of a sub-cluster flying through the main cluster body at high "supersonic" speed, as indicated by a mach cone in front of this region and a very dramatic entropy enhancement (red arrow) which is the cluster gas heated by the shock front.

Image credit: ESA


XMM-Newton
probes the
formation of galaxy clusters


An international team of astronomers,
including members of the MPE,
detected the first direct X-ray evidence of shock heating in merging clusters.



external link ESA Press Release
external link Astronomy & Astrophysics (in press)
preprint in astro-ph

(September 06, 2005)
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massive, distant galaxy cluster

The massive galaxy cluster XMMU J2235.3-2557 in the record distance of 9000 million light-years (redshift z = 1.4). The optical image (ESO, star like images) is overlayed with the X-ray emission observed with XMM (orange, diffuse).

Image: C.R. Mullis


An international team of astronomers,
including members of the MPE,
has made a

Surprise Discovery
of
Highly Developed Structure
in the Early Universe


external link Press Release of the Max Planck Society (in German)
external link ESO Press Release
external link ESA Press Release
external link NASA Press Release
external link University of Michigan Press Release
external link Astrophysikalisches Institut Potsdam Highlight (in German)
external link Special page by lead author Christopher R. Mullis

(March 02, 2005)
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rotating Black Hole

Artist's concept of the relativistic flow of matter around a fast rotating Black Hole in the centre on an accretion disk.

Image: MPE

Black Holes in a radar trap

Using the X-ray Satellite XMM-Newton researchers measure velocities near the speed of light in the vicinity of cosmic mass monsters


external link Press Release of the Max Planck Society
external link A&A article for Press Release (pdf)
link Web pages of the X-ray Astronomy group at MPE

(February 23, 2005)
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Magnetar

Magnetar with an extreme magnetic field.
Such an object is proposed to be the source of the intense Gamma-Ray Burst.

Image: R. Mallozzi/NASA


Astrophysicists at MPE

measure

the strongest

so far observed

Gamma-Ray Burst of a Magnetar




external link Press Release of the Max Planck Society (in German)
external link NASA Science Update
external link Article in Nature (News)
link Link to Gamma-Ray Astronomy group at MPE
Verweis detailed information

(February 18, 2005)
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Prof. Dr. Günther Hasinger

Prof. Dr. Günther Hasinger
Leibniz Prize winner


Günther Hasinger

Direktor at MPE

wins the prestigious

Gottfried Wilhelm Leibniz Prize 2005


Congratulation!


external link Press release of the DFG. (English version not yet available)
external link Description of the prize.

(December 3, 2004)
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projected pressure map of Abell 754

Projected pressure map of Abell 754.

(Image credit: Alexis Finoguenov, MPE)


An international team of astronomers including members of the MPE detected the

most powerful massive merger of galaxies

on record.

external link Massive merger of galaxies is the most powerful on record
(ESA Space Science News)
external link Massive merger of galaxies is the most powerful on record
(Goddard Space Flight Center Top Story)
external link Massive Merger of Galaxies is the Most Powerful on Record
(NASA News)
external link Titanic merger of galaxy clusters revealed
(New Scientist)

(September 28, 2004)
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REFLEX-map

Three-dimensional distribution of galaxy clusters which have been identified using the ROSAT All-Sky Survey. The gap in the middle is caused by the absorbing band of the Milky Way.

(Image credit: MPE)

Led by H. Böhringer from MPE, an international team of astronomers conducted the

first complete mapping of the "backbone" of the Universe.

The project is known under the acronym REFLEX (Rosat-ESO-Flux-Limited X-ray Cluster Survey).

external link MPG press release
(in German)
external link ESO press release
link Web page of the REFLEX project at MPE
external link Astronomy & Astrophysics accepted publication (in press)
(link to astro-ph)
(May 24, 2004)
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soft gamma-ray sources

INTEGRAL view of the Galactic Center region (±35° galactic latitude; ±50° galactic longitude) revealing discrete soft gamma-ray sources that are now thought to emit almost all of the Milky Way's emission in that wavelength region.
(Image credit: ESA)

Using data of the satellite INTEGRAL, a team of European researchers including members of the MPE determined that

"Compact sources are the origin of
soft Gamma-ray emission of the Milky Way".

external link MPG Pressemitteilung
(in German)
external link ESA Science News Release
link INTEGRAL
link MPE INTEGRAL pages

(March 18, 2004)
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Black Hole disrupts star

A star is ripped apart by the tidal forces of a massive black hole. Part of the stellar debris is then accreted by the black hole. This causes a luminous flare of radiation which fades away as more and more of the matter disappears into the black hole.

(Credit: Illustration: NASA/CXC/M.Weiss)

Combining data from the X-ray satellites Chandra and XMM-Newton, the Hubble Space telescope and earlier data from the X-ray mission ROSAT, an international group of astronomers lead by Stefanie Komossa from MPE now have found

the first strong evidence of a giant supermassive black hole ripping apart a star at the center of a distant galaxy,

a process long predicted by theory.

link MPE background information
external link Chandra Press Release (04-061)
external link Chandra photo album
external link ESA Press Release (PR 12-2004)
external link MPG Pressemitteilung
(in German)
external link The full article:
Astrophysical Journal Letters, 603, L17 (2004).

(February 18, 2004)
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Gamma Burst

GRBs originate in narrow-beamed emission ejected from a collapsing massive star. The width of the beam can be measured via the polarisation of the optical/infrared emission.

An international group of scientists led by
J. Greiner from MPE
found, that

Gamma-ray Bursts
are originating from jets in supernova events
.


link Special page from Jochen Greiner
(in German)
external link MPG Pressemitteilung
(in German)
external link ESO Press Release

(November 24, 2003)
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Galactic Center
Light curve of the infrared flare of SgrA*, showing quasi-oscillation.
This oscillation helps determining the spin of the Black Hole.

A team led by scientists of the MPI für extraterrestrische Physik

recorded

flaring infrared radiation

directly from the

supermassive black hole at the center of the milky way.

link Recent results of the MPE IR group
link Galactic Center pages at MPE
external link MPG Press release (in German)
external link ESO press release
external link Nature paper

(October 30, 2003)
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Balzan
International Balzan Foundation
Reinhard Genzel, MPE Director, was awarded the

Balzan Prize 2003

in recognition of his "fundamental contributions to Infrared Astronomy".
The prize amounts to one million Swiss francs.


(September 12, 2003)
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40 Years MPE

History of MPE

(July 7, 2003)
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XMM-picture
XMM


A
new X-ray map of the sky

"1XMM"

derived from observations of XMM-Newton,
has been constructed with the help of MPE
and is now released on behalf of ESA.

external link MPG press information
(in German)
link Information on XMM-Newton at MPE
external link Article in SpaceRef.com
external link Web page of catalogue

(April 10, 2003)
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NGC6240


Using the Chandra X-ray satellite,
scientists from the MPE find

Two Supermassive Black Holes in Same Galaxy.

link Detailed Information (MPE)
 
external link Paper in Astrophysical Journal Letters 582, L15-L19, 2003.
external link MPG Research News
external link Chandra Press Releases from Harvard
external link NASA News Release

(November 19, 2002)
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The orbit of the star S2 around the supermassive black hole at the center of the milky way

A team led by scientists of the MPI für extraterrestrische Physik observed for the first time a star in a close orbit around the supermassive black hole at the center of the milky way.

Recent results of the IR group

MPE Galactic Center pages

external link MPG Press release (in German)

external link ESO press release


(October 17, 2002)
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Analyzing data from the X-ray satellite Chandra
Konrad Dennerl from MPE finds:

Planet Mars is glowing in X-rays
(text in German)


pdf-File of the MPG press information (in German)

article in the journal "Sky and Telescope"


(July 26, 2002)
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Analyzing data from the X-ray satellite XMM-Newton
scientists from MPE and ESA find a

Mysterious iron factory in the Early Universe .

Paper in ApJ 573
(link to ADS)
Cosmos could be much older than thought
(CNN.com - report: July 10)


(July 8, 2002)
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Sharpest Ever VLT Images at NAOS-CONICA "First Light"

Adaptive optics and the infrared camera CONICA, which was built in a collaboration including MPE, saw first light at VLT resulting in images as sharp as images from the Hubble Space Telescope.

CONICA at MPE

(Dezember 7 , 2001)
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A team from the MPI für extraterrestrische Physik made the first

observations of the planet Venus in X-rays

using the NASA satellite Chandra.

MPG press information (in German)

article in astronews (in German)

(November 26, 2001)
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The universe on stamps: two stamps (out of five) with MPE results!
(article in German)


   

(October 27, 1999)
 
 
 
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