Dr. Hannelore Hämmerle
Press Officer
Phone:+49 89 30000-3980Fax:+49 89 30000-3569

All News (2011 - ....)

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Analysis keeps on going as observations with Herschel come to an end

April 29, 2013
After more than three and a half years of observations, the Herschel space observatory has finally exhausted its supply of liquid helium. Herschel’s observations have exceeded expectations, enabling scientists to learn more about how stars form, about the rates of star formation in galaxies across the cosmos, and about the origin and presence of water in different celestial bodies. While observations have come to an end and the spacecraft is to be propelled to a stable parking orbit around the Sun, where it will remain indefinitely, the science mission will continue for several years with many discoveries still to be made in the treasure trove of images and spectra collected by the observatory. [more]
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The turbulent youth of globular clusters

April 11, 2013
The massive stellar clusters accompanying our galaxies as well as other galaxies have passed through a more complex evolution than previously thought. New observations have found evidence for several generations of stars, which can now be explained by a research team from MPE, the observatory of the University of Geneva, and the French science organisation CNRS. In their scenario, some of the first generation stars are much more massive than the left-over stars seen today. Their fast evolution up to violent supernova explosions will have substantial influence on the formation of the following stellar generations. [more]
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The universe revealed by Planck – perfect, but not quite

March 22, 2013
ESA's Planck satellite has delivered its first all-sky image of the Cosmic Microwave Background (CMB), providing the most precise picture of the early Universe so far. For the most part, the data agree extremely well with the 'standard model of cosmology' and allow for a much improved determination of its parameters. At the same time, the extraordinary quality of the Planck data reveals the presence of subtle anomalies. Two fundamental assumptions of the standard model are rigorously tested by the Planck CMB maps: isotropy and Gaussianity. Scientists at the Max Planck Institute for Extraterrestrial Physics and other institutes have now applied their statistical analysis methods to the Planck data and find that the temperature fluctuations seen in the CMB are indeed not a purely random, Gaussian field but that there are phase correlations on large scales. [more]
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Herschel to finish observing soon

March 05, 2013
ESA’s Herschel space observatory is expected to exhaust its supply of liquid helium coolant in the coming weeks after spending more than three exciting years studying the cool Universe. Herschel was launched on 14 May 2009 and, with a main mirror 3.5 metres across, it is the largest, most powerful infrared telescope ever flown in space. Herschel carries three science instruments: a high-resolution spectrometer, HIFI (Heterodyne Instrument for the Far Infrared), and the two cameras and imaging spectrometers, SPIRE (Spectral and Photometric Imaging REceiver) and PACS (Photodetector Array Camera and Spectrometer). MPE has led the development and operation of PACS. [more]
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Protoplanetary disk around TW Hydrae outweighs previous estimates

January 31, 2013
Using the PACS instrument on-board the Herschel Space Telescope, astronomers have used a new method to measure the mass of the protoplanetary disk around the nearby young star TW Hydrae. Focussing on hydrogen’s heavier sibling deuterium, Ewine van Dishoeck from the University of Leiden, The Netherlands, and MPE Garching, in an international collaboration led by Edwin Bergin from the University of Michigan and including Thomas Henning from MPIA Heidelberg, determined that the disk has a mass equivalent to 50 times that of Jupiter, which makes it several times more massive than the primordial disk that gave birth to our Solar System. [more]
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Dr. Manis Chaudhuri receives Parvez Guzdar award for Young Scientists

January 14, 2013
In December 2012, Dr. Manis Chaudhuri from the Max Planck Institute for Extraterrestrial Physics received the Parvez Guzdar Young Scientist Award during the Annual Conference of the Indian Plasma Science Society in Pondicherry. With the prize, the Institute for Plasma Research recognises Chaudhuri’s outstanding contributions in the field of the physics of complex plasmas. [more]
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Brilliant X-ray source in Andromeda galaxy identified as stellar mass microquasar

December 13, 2012
The Nova monitoring campaign in our neighbouring Andromeda galaxy yielded an extremely bright X-ray source, XMMU J004243.6+412519. Follow-up observations at radio wavelengths point at the existence of an energetic jet of particles ejected by the massive central object. This indicates that this source is indeed powered by a stellar-mass black hole gaining mass at a high rate, close to the theoretical maximum. By monitoring and analysing both the emission from the accretion disk and the material ejected in the jet, the astronomers can learn more about the processes around a stellar mass black hole. [more]
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24-armed Giant to Probe Early Lives of Galaxies

December 12, 2012
First light for KMOS instrument [more]
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No global atmosphere on Makemake

November 29, 2012
New observations of the dwarf planet Makemake reveal that this chilly world does not have a global atmosphere – contrary to what astronomers expected. Makemake has an orbit lying in the outer Solar System and the astronomers observed the dwarf planet as it drifted in front of a distant star and blocked its light for about one minute. The observations also allowed the scientists to measure Makemake’s density for the first time. While previous observations with the Herschel space telescope already revealed a patchy surface, this object turns out to be even more exotic than previously thought. [more]
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SAMPEX Re-Entry into the Atmosphere

November 15, 2012
The End of a Twenty-Year Mission [more]
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ERC Starting Grant for Stefan Gillessen

November 05, 2012
End of October, the European Research Council announced that Stefan Gillessen from the Max Planck Institute for Extraterrestrial Physics will receive an ERC Starting Grant. Awarded purely on scientific excellence, this grant will allow MPE to establish a research group that will focus on interpreting the novel interferometric data of the galactic centre, which will soon be available. With the new GRAVITY instrument, currently being developed at MPE, relativistic effects close to the black hole in the heart of Milky Way should be detectable. [more]
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More than 1000 citations for plasma crystal paper

October 26, 2012
Complex (dusty) plasmas exist in space, such as in the interstellar medium, the rings of Saturn or the dusty tail of comets. This is why scientists at the Max Planck Institute for Extraterrestrial Physics originally started to investigate complex (dusty) plasmas in the laboratory in detail – but this is not where it ended. The first paper about crystallisation in a dusty plasma has now passed the milestone of 1000 citations, impressively demonstrating how active this new field of basic physics research has become. [more]
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