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Dr. Hannelore Hämmerle
Press Officer
Phone:+49 89 30000-3980Fax:+49 89 30000-3569
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All News (2011 - ....)

A journey of a million miles begins with a single step: eROSITA travels to Russia for launch into deep space in 2018

January 20, 2017
On 20 January 2017, the completed eROSITA X-ray telescope boarded a cargo plane and was transported from Munich, where it had been built at the Max Planck Institute for Extraterrestrial Physics, to Moscow. Like any other passenger, it had to pass customs before journeying onwards towards the premises of Lavochkin Association, in the Moscow suburb of Khimki, where it is expected to arrive on 25 January. There it will be further tested and integrated with the ‘SRG’ spacecraft in preparation for launch in spring 2018. It will then take another three months to arrive at its final destination, about 1.5 million kilometres from Earth. From there, eROSITA will produce a new map of the Universe in X-rays, revealing how the largest cosmic structures evolve. [more]
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Pan-STARRS releases catalogue of 3 billion astronomical sources

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]
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International team discovers major supercluster of galaxies hidden by Milky Way

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. The gravitational attraction from this large mass concentration in our cosmic neighbourhood may have an important effect on the motion of our Local Group of galaxies including the Milky Way. It may also help to explain the direction and amplitude of the Local Group’s peculiar velocity with respect to the Cosmic Microwave Background. [more]
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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 Max Planck Institute for Extraterrestrial Physics 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. [more]
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No evidence for 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 – while other galaxy clusters do not feature such a line, but it could not be ruled out either. 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. [more]

"Max Planck Partner Group" in Chile studies the galactic centre

August 25, 2016
Jorge Cuadra at the Astrophysics Institute of the Universidad Católica de Chile now leads one of the forty 'Max Planck Partner Groups' that exist around the world. The award includes a grant to work on research topics about the centre of our Galaxy. [more]
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1.2 Million Galaxies in 3D

July 14, 2016
What are the properties of Dark Energy? This question is one of the most intriguing ones in astronomy and 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 the Max Planck Institutes for Extraterrestrial Physics and for Astrophyics - 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]
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Behind the scenes of protostellar disk formation 

July 11, 2016
For a long time the formation of protostellar disks – a prerequisite to the formation of planetary system around stars – has defied theoretical astrophysicists: In a dense, collapsing cloud of gas and dust, the magnetic field would be dragged to the centre as well resulting in a braking effect. Hardly any rotationally supported disk can form this way, unless 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 Max Planck Institute for Extraterrestrial Physics 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]
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The ideal black hole laboratory

June 21, 2016
Successful observations with GRAVITY and the ESO 8m Very Large Telescopes [more]
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MERAC Prize for Oliver Pfuhl

June 21, 2016
The European Astronomical Society (EAS) awards the 2016 MERAC Prize for the Best Doctoral Thesis in the category “New Technologies” to MPE scientist Oliver Pfuhl for his thesis on an innovative design of two subsystems for the VLTI instrument GRAVITY: the fibre coupler and the guiding system. The MERAC Prize Committee was impressed by the high quality of the nominated candidates for the three MERAC Prizes of 2016. The official ceremony will take place during the European Week of Astronomy and Space Science (EWASS) to be held in Athens, Greece on 4 – 8 July 2016. [more]
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CGRO celebrates 25th anniversary

June 20, 2016
The heaviest astrophysical payload ever flown until then, the Compton Gamma Ray Observatory CGRO was one of the four “great observatories” of NASA with MPE contributing two of the four instruments on board. CGRO was launched on 5 April 1991 aboard the space shuttle Atlantis and on 23 June 2016, NASA will celebrate its discoveries at the highest energies in an official ceremony at the Goddard Visitor Centre. [more]
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Unexpected excess of giant planets in star cluster

June 17, 2016
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. The denser environment in a cluster will cause more frequent interactions between planets and nearby stars, which may explain the excess of hot Jupiters. [more]
 
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