A rotationally supported disk can only form in a dense, collapsing cloud of gas and dust with a magnetic field, if the tiny grains are removed from the cloud by growing or coagulating into bigger grains. This is the result from a new study published by researchers at the MPE and other institutions. The more realistic simulations now take into account non-ideal magneto-hydrodynamics and ionization chemistry to form a rotationally supported protostellar disk.
A team of European astronomers has achieved a crucial milestone for testing Einstein's theory of general relativity with the closest supermassive black hole in the centre of our own galaxy. For the first time, the newly installed GRAVITY instrument has been used together with ESO's Very Large 8m Telescopes to observe a star orbiting the black hole on a period as short as 16 years. Both the target star and a reference star nearby show no signs of being binaries – making future measurements much less complex.
An international team of astronomers have found that there are far more planets of the hot Jupiter type than expected in a cluster of stars called Messier 67. This surprising result was obtained after long-term observations using a number of telescopes and instruments, which led to the discovery of three giant planets.
An international group of scientists has detected for the first time the prebiotic molecule PO in star-forming regions. This molecule plays a key role in the double helix structure of DNA, and is therefore directly linked to the origin of life in the Universe.
The most massive black holes are not confined to the highest density regions in the universe as a new discovery in a galaxy close to our Milky Way shows. An international team of astronomers found that the black hole at the centre of the group galaxy NGC 1600 has a mass 17 billion times larger than our Sun, one of the most massive black holes found to date.
Scientists at the MPE have revisited the all-sky survey carried out by the ROSAT satellite, to create a new image of the sky at X-ray wavelengths. Along with this the revised and extended version of the catalogue of bright and faint point-like sources will be released, the “2RXS catalogue”.
ESA’s INTEGRAL observatory saw the microquasar V404 Cygni flaring in June last year, which helped a team of astronomers led by MPE to discover electron-positron pair plasma from the black hole’s immediate surrounding.
Zooming in on black holes is the main mission for the new GRAVITYinstrument, built by a large team of European astronomers and engineers led by the MPE, and now installed at ESO’s Very Large Telescope in Chile. During its first observations, GRAVITY successfully combined starlight using all four Auxiliary Telescopes.