All News (2011 - ....)

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One long Milky Way bar and bulge

May 21, 2015
The Milky Way’s bar is longer, thinner, and ends closer to the Sun than previously thought. Combining several large stellar surveys, scientists at the Max Planck Institute for Extraterrestrial Physics have now mapped the complete inner region of our Galaxy, containing the majority of its stars. Because the bar is also oriented more towards the Sun, it ends much closer to us, and therefore has a greater influence on the motion of stars near the Sun.The Milky Way’s bar also gets thinner away from the centre of the galaxy. Near the end of the bar it becomes so thin that the scientists have termed the bar super-thin, and believe that the thinness of this new component is probably related to younger stars that were born with low velocities about one billion years ago. [more]
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Stijn Wuyts receives Beatrice Tinsley Research Scholar Award

April 29, 2015
The Galaxies Research Group in the Department of Astronomy at UT Austin has elected MPE researcher Stijn Wuyts to receive the 2014-15 Beatrice Tinsley Research Scholar Award. This competitive award includes an invitation for a stay in Texas and to give a special talk at the University of Texas, Austin. [more]
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Harvey Prize for Reinhard Genzel

April 22, 2015
On 29 April, Reinhard Genzel will receive the „2014 Harvey Prize in the field of Science & Technology” from the Technion, the Israel Institute of Technology, in Haifa. The Harvey Prize rewards excellence by recognizing breakthroughs in science and technology and this year is awarded jointly to the director of the Max Planck Institute for Extraterrestrial Physics, Prof Reinhard Genzel, and the cancer researcher, Prof James P. Allison. Genzel is honoured for developing novel astronomical detectors and using them to prove that there resides a supermassive black hole at the centre of our Milky Way. [more]
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Interview with Jason Dexter

March 24, 2015
Sofja Kovalevskaja awardee at MPE [more]
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Inconspicuous, tiny particles deform the large-scale structure of the Universe

March 10, 2015
A systematic study of all massive galaxy clusters in the local universe provides information on the lightest elementary particles: Scientists at the Max Planck Institute for Extraterrestrial Physics analysed an X-ray catalogue to show that there is less structure in the universe today than what is expected from the cosmic microwave background observations of the very early universe. This discrepancy can be explained, if the three neutrino families have an overall mass of about half an electron-volt. [more]
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Birth of a star quartet

February 10, 2015
An international team of researchers has discovered something extraordinary in space: a new star system forming from parts of a filamentary gas cloud. [more]
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Prof. Charles Townes, MPE external scientific member, dies at 99

January 27, 2015
Charles Hard Townes, professor emeritus of physics at the University of California, Berkeley, and external scientific member of the Max Planck Institute for Extraterrestrial Physics, who shared the 1964 Nobel Prize in Physics for the invention of the laser and subsequently pioneered the use of lasers in astronomy, died early Tuesday, 27 Jan. 2015. [more]
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Caught in the act: collision of two galaxy clusters ends almost deadly

January 15, 2015
Recent observations of the galaxy cluster RXCJ2359.5-6042 with the XMM-Newton space observatory reveal evidence for an ongoing merger that strips the smaller system of much of its gas. The analysis of the data by scientists at the Max Planck Institute for Extraterrestrial Physics (MPE), however, also shows that the compact core of the infalling cluster has survived this encounter so far. This bullet-like cluster goes right through the central region of the main cluster without being disrupted, but is stripped of its layers outside the core. [more]
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First corrected images with ARGOS GLAO

December 11, 2014
The ARGOS Ground Layer Adaptive Optics (GLAO) system for the Large Binocular Telescope (LBT) in Arizona reached another important milestone at the end of November: using all three laser guide stars, the astronomers were able to achieve an impressively good correction on the whole field of LUCI2. [more]
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Distinctions for Reinhard Genzel

November 25, 2014
For the excellence of his work in several areas of astrophysics, Reinhard Genzel was honoured with two distinctions: mid November, the Observatiore de Paris awarded him the title of Doctor Honoris Causa. Already one month earlier, at the beginning of October, he received the Grand Order of Merit with Star of the Federal Republic of Germany. [more]
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Gas cloud in the galactic centre is part of a larger gas streamer

November 24, 2014
In November, astronomers at the Max Planck Institute for Extraterrestrial Physics presented new observations of the gas cloud G2 in the galactic centre originally discovered in 2011. These data are in remarkably good agreement with an on-going tidal disruption. As a complete surprise came the discovery that the orbit of G2 matches that of another gas cloud detected a decade ago, suggesting that G2 might actually be part of a much more extensive gas streamer. This would also match some of the proposed scenarios that try to explain the presence of G2. One such model is that G2 is originating from the wind from a massive star. [more]
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Astrochemical dating of a stellar nursery

November 17, 2014
An international research team led by scientists from the Coordinated Research Center (CRC) 956 “Conditions and Impact of Star Formation” at the University of Cologne has used observations made with the GREAT instrument on board the SOFIA aircraft observatory and the APEX telescope to date the core of an interstellar cloud that is forming a group of Sun-like stars. This work, to which scientists from the University of Helsinki as well as from the Max-Planck-Institutes for Radio Astronomy (MPIfR) and Extraterrestrial Physics (MPE) contributed, is published in this week’s Nature journal. [more]