All News (2011 - ....)

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Mierk Schwabe receives PhD Research Prize from the European Physical Society

March 24, 2011
The Plasma Physics Division of the European Physical Society (EPS) awards its PhD Research Prize this year to Mierk Schwabe and two other physicists. With this award, the EPS honours the exceptional quality of the work carried out by young physicists as part of their PhD research in any area of plasma physics. The MPE scientist Schwabe receives the prize for her thesis on Complex Plasmas. [more]
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An old galaxy cluster discovered in the young Universe

March 15, 2011
Astronomers working with data from several observatories, including the VLT and XMM-Newton, have discovered the most distant, mature galaxy cluster yet. The cluster is seen as it was when the Universe was only about a quarter of its current age. In contrast to other structures observed in the young Universe, this object is already in its prime, as is evident from its diffuse X-ray emission and evolved population of galaxies. This shows that fully-grown galaxy clusters were already in place this early in cosmic history. [more]
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First Light for VIRUS-W spectrograph

January 25, 2011
The new observing instrument VIRUS-W, built by the Max Planck Institute for Extraterrestrial Physics and the University Observatory Munich, saw "first light" on 10th November at the Harlan J. Smith Telescope of the McDonald observatory in Texas. Its first images of a spiral galaxy about 30 million light-years away where an impressive confirmation of the capabilities of the instrument, which can determine the motion of stars in near-by galaxies to a precision of a few kilometres per second. [more]
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No direct link between black holes and Dark Matter

January 20, 2011
Massive black holes have been found at the centres of almost all galaxies, where the largest galaxies - who are also the ones embedded in the largest halos of Dark Matter - harbour the most massive black holes. This led to the speculation that there is a direct link between Dark Matter and black holes, i.e. that exotic physics controls the growth of a black hole. Scientists at the Max Planck Institute of Extraterrestrial Physics, the University Observatory Munich and the University of Texas in Austin have now conducted an extensive study of galaxies to prove that black hole mass is not directly related to the mass of the Dark Matter halo but rather seems to be determined by the formation of the galaxy bulge. Their findings are published in a Letter to the journal Nature on 20th January. [more]
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All around the plasma crystal

January 14, 2011
MPE welcomes cosmonauts and physicists to the PK-3 Plus Symposium [more]
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Space telescope catches antimatter from terrestrial thunderstorms

January 10, 2011
Normally astronomers look deep into space, but in the latest finding from the NASA Fermi Gamma-ray Space Telescope presented on Monday, Jan. 10, during a news briefing at the American Astronomical Society meeting, they detected an antimatter signal from Earth. Created in energetic processes above thunderstorms, when such an antimatter beam strikes the spacecraft, it actually becomes a source of the gamma-ray light it was designed to observe. Scientists at the Max Planck Institute for Extraterrestrial Physics (MPE) were responsible for the development of the detectors and the power supplies of the Fermi Gamma-ray Burst Monitor (GBM), which led to this discovery, and contributed to the calibration and data analysis for this particular result. [more]
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Successful hunt for asteroids in the classroom

January 05, 2011
For the past few months, the Pan-STARRS 1 telescope, designed to become the world's most powerful asteroid hunter, teamed up with school children from the USA and Germany to discover and study asteroids - clumps of rock, between several and a few hundred kilometers in size, that cruise through our Solar System. At the close of the campaign, which was coordinated by the International Astronomical Search Collaboration, the students can look back on exciting eight weeks of asteroid search, which included the confirmation of four "Near-Earth Objects" (asteroids passing relatively close to Earth) and the discovery of what could turn out to be more than 170 previously undiscovered asteroids. [more]