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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 - ....)

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Distant galaxies are dominated by gas and stars - where is the Dark Matter?

March 16, 2017
New observations of rotating galaxies at the peak epoch of galaxy formation, 10 billion years ago, surprisingly show that these massive, star-forming galaxies are completely dominated by baryonic or “normal” mass with dark matter playing a much smaller role in comparable regions of their outer disks than in the local universe. The international group of researchers led by the Max Planck Institute for Extraterrestrial Physics mapped the rotation curves of six galaxies to distances of ~65,000 light years from their centres and found that their rotation velocities are not constant but drop with radius. These findings are supported by observations of more than 200 further galaxies, where different estimates of their dynamical state also indicate a high baryonic mass fraction. In addition, the analysis shows that these early galaxies had a much thicker disk with turbulent motion accounting for part of the dynamical support. These findings are published in a paper in the journal Nature as well as three accompanying papers in the Astrophysical Journal. [more]
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ALMA peers into star-forming gas regions outside our Milky Way

March 13, 2017
An international team of astronomers led by MPE has used the Atacama Large Millimeter/submillimeter Array (ALMA) to zoom into sites of star formation in the nearby galaxy NGC 6822. The new ALMA observations reveal the structure of star-forming gas clouds with a high level of detail making in possible to compare it to similar regions in our home galaxy. They indicate that the physics of star formation may be the same in low mass, pristine galaxies - the building blocks of more massive galaxies - as in our own Galaxy. [more]
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1000 citations for dust scattering halos

February 23, 2017
In 1995, a paper was published about ROSAT observations of dust scattering halos, which has now reached more than 1000 citations. This makes it the top ranking paper under more than 9000 publications that mainly deal with the “hot” topics in astrophysics, such as supernovae, neutron stars, black holes, quasars or galaxy clusters. Why did a side issue such as interstellar dust receive so much attention? [more]
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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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