All News (2011 - ...)

The SRG (Spektrum-Roentgen-Gamma) Orbital Observatory has recently started one of its many tests by looking at a small patch of the extragalactic sky with one of the seven eROSITA telescope modules. The results are consistent with preflight expectations. The work on commissioning other modules is still underway and will be completed in the coming weeks before starting a 4-year long all-sky survey later this year. more

How do stars and planets form? Scientists are now one step closer to pinning down the conditions for the formation of proto-stellar disks. Observations of three systems in the early stages of star formation in the Perseus cloud revealed that the profile of the angular momentum in these systems is between that expected for a solid body and pure turbulence, indicating that the influence of the core extends further out than previously thought. These findings could lead to more realistic initial conditions for numerical simulations of disk formation. more

MPE telescope will revolutionize our view of the evolving hot Universe more

MPE astronomer Natascha Förster Schreiber will receive the honorary degree of Doctor of Science from the University of Bath. With this most prestigious accolade of Bath University, Förster Schreiber is recognized not only for her distinguished career and for the breadth of her research but also for her support of the Bath Astrophysics Group since it was established. The award ceremony will take place in early July at the University of Bath. more

Star formation within interstellar gas clouds proceeds very rapidly, yet highly inefficiently. Most of the gas is quickly dispersed by stellar radiation, leading to a violent cycling in which star-forming regions are flickering as sparkles in fireworks. A team of scientists including researchers at the Max Planck Institute for Extraterrestrial Physics has come to these conclusions based on new observations of the spiral galaxy NGC300. more

On 25 April 2019, the Spektr-RG Space Observatory was transported to the Baikonur Cosmodrome - the final stage in preparation for its launch on 21 June. Spektr-RG carries the X-ray telescope eROSITA, which was developed and built at MPE. Its aim is to perform a highly sensitive survey of the entire sky in X-ray light, once it arrives at its observation point L2. more

The GRAVITY instrument on ESO’s Very Large Telescope Interferometer (VLTI) has made the first direct observation of an exoplanet using optical interferometry. This method revealed a complex exoplanetary atmosphere with clouds of iron and silicates swirling in a planet-wide storm. The technique presents unique possibilities for characterising many of the exoplanets known today. more

Outflows of matter and energy from a galaxy’s centre are considered key players in the formation and evolution of galaxies and other structures in the Universe. Astronomers led by the Max Planck Institute for Extraterrestrial Physics have now created the  most extensive X-ray map of the central degrees of the Milky Way, thereby discovering a channel of X-ray emitting gas connecting the Milky Way centre to structures much further out. more

On Friday 11 January, the Royal Astronomical Society announced that MPE Director Ralf Bender is awarded an RAS Honorary Fellowship in Astronomy for the unique combination of research leadership and institutional service. more

Last week at LAM Marseille, the optical assembly consisting of the camera lens assembly “CaLA” and the corrector lens assembly “CoLA” have been fully integrated on the near-infrared optics NISP for the Euclid satellite. Euclid is an ESA mission, planned to launch in 2022 to study the “Dark Universe”. Scientists at the Max Planck Institute for Extraterrestrial Physics are responsible for the overall optical design of the near-infrared instrument NISP NI-OA. more

Professor Amiel Sternberg, of the Raymond and Beverly Sackler School of Physics & Astronomy, Tel Aviv University, has been appointed External Scientific Member at the Max-Planck Institute for Extraterrestrial Physics (MPE). His fields of research are the interstellar medium, star formation, galaxy evolution, and theoretical astrophysics. In particular, he will be working closely with the Infrared and Submm-Group at MPE. more

Detailed observations of the quasar 3C 273 with the GRAVITY instrument reveal the structure of rapidly moving gas around the central super-massive black hole, the first time that the so-called “broad line region” could be resolved. The international team of astronomers was thus able to measure the mass of the black hole with unprecedented precision. This measurement confirms the fundamental assumptions of the most commonly used method to measure the mass of central black holes in distant quasars. Studying these black holes and determining their masses is an essential ingredient to understanding galaxy evolution in general. more

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