Welcome to the MPE

MPE Research News

The Pan-STARRS project, including astronomers at the Max Planck Institutes for Astronomy in Heidelberg and for Extraterrestrial Physics in Garching, is publicly releasing the world’s largest digital sky survey today. The catalogue is based on 4 years of observations of 3/4 of the night sky and provides extensive information on more than 3 billion stars, galaxies and other sources.

Pan-STARRS releases catalogue

December 19, 2016

The Pan-STARRS project, including astronomers at the Max Planck Institutes for Astronomy in Heidelberg and for Extraterrestrial Physics in Garching, is publicly releasing the world’s largest digital sky survey today. The catalogue is based on 4 years of observations of 3/4 of the night sky and provides extensive information on more than 3 billion stars, galaxies and other sources. [more]
An international team of astronomers has discovered a previously unknown major concentration of galaxies in the constellation Vela, which they have dubbed the Vela supercluster. Its gravitational attraction  may have an important effect on the motion of our Local Group of galaxies including the Milky Way.

New supercluster of galaxies

November 16, 2016

An international team of astronomers has discovered a previously unknown major concentration of galaxies in the constellation Vela, which they have dubbed the Vela supercluster. Its gravitational attraction  may have an important effect on the motion of our Local Group of galaxies including the Milky Way.
Recent high-resolution images of the giant elliptical galaxy NGC 5419 clearly show a double nucleus. The nature of this structure remained unclear until scientists of the MPE measured the velocities of the stars. A detailed analysis of the images and kinematic data suggests that this galaxy hosts two supermassive black holes at its centre, with a total mass of at least 7 billion solar masses and a separation of only some 200 lightyears.

A galaxy with a double heart

October 14, 2016

Recent high-resolution images of the giant elliptical galaxy NGC 5419 clearly show a double nucleus. The nature of this structure remained unclear until scientists of the MPE measured the velocities of the stars. A detailed analysis of the images and kinematic data suggests that this galaxy hosts two supermassive black holes at its centre, with a total mass of at least 7 billion solar masses and a separation of only some 200 lightyears.
For the past couple of years, there has been a heated debate between astronomers: Some authors claim to have seen an unidentified emission line in the spectra of galaxy clusters that could be linked to so-called sterile neutrinos, one of the particle candidates for dark matter. A recent analysis of archive Chandra X-ray data on 33 galaxy clusters, however, shows no sign of this line and presents tight upper limits on the properties of such dark matter.

No sterile neutrinos in galaxy clusters

September 05, 2016

For the past couple of years, there has been a heated debate between astronomers: Some authors claim to have seen an unidentified emission line in the spectra of galaxy clusters that could be linked to so-called sterile neutrinos, one of the particle candidates for dark matter. A recent analysis of archive Chandra X-ray data on 33 galaxy clusters, however, shows no sign of this line and presents tight upper limits on the properties of such dark matter.
What are the properties of Dark Energy? Scientists are one step closer in answering this question with the largest three-dimensional map of the universe so far: This map contains 1.2 million galaxies in a volume spanning 650 cubic billion light years. Hundreds of scientists from the Sloan Digital Sky Survey III (SDSS-III) – including researchers at MPE and MPA - used this map to make one of the most precise measurements yet of dark energy. They found excellent agreement with the standard cosmological model and confirmed that dark energy is highly consistent with a cosmological constant.

1.2 Million Galaxies in 3D

July 14, 2016

What are the properties of Dark Energy? Scientists are one step closer in answering this question with the largest three-dimensional map of the universe so far: This map contains 1.2 million galaxies in a volume spanning 650 cubic billion light years. Hundreds of scientists from the Sloan Digital Sky Survey III (SDSS-III) – including researchers at MPE and MPA - used this map to make one of the most precise measurements yet of dark energy. They found excellent agreement with the standard cosmological model and confirmed that dark energy is highly consistent with a cosmological constant.

[more]
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.

Protostellar disk formation

July 11, 2016

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.

[more]