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

All News (2011 - ....)

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The inside of our Milky Way in 3D

September 12, 2013
Scientists at the Max Planck Institute for Extraterrestrial Physics have produced the first detailed three-dimensional map of the stars that form the inner regions of our Milky Way, using publicly available VVV survey data from the science archive facility at ESO. They find a box/peanut shaped bulge with an elongated bar and a prominent X-structure, which had been hinted at in previous studies. This indicates that the Milky Way was originally a pure disk of stars, which then formed a thin bar, before buckling into the box/peanut shape seen today. The new map can be used for more detailed studies of the dynamics and evolution of our Milky Way. [more]
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Primary mission for Fermi complete, much more to come

August 23, 2013
During its five-year primary mission, NASA's Fermi Gamma-ray Space Telescope has given astronomers an increasingly detailed portrait of the universe's most extraordinary phenomena, from giant black holes in the hearts of distant galaxies to thunderstorms on Earth. But its job is not done yet. On Aug. 11, Fermi entered an extended phase of its mission -- a deeper study of the high-energy cosmos. This is a significant step toward the science team's planned goal of a decade of observations, ending in 2018. MPE scientists use data from both instruments on-board Fermi, one of which was built jointly by MPE and colleagues abroad. [more]
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Close encounter: gas cloud swings around galactic centre black hole

July 16, 2013
Recent observations from April this year of the galactic centre have revealed that parts of the in-falling gas cloud, which was detected in 2011, have already swung past the black hole at the heart of our Milky Way. Due to the tidal force of the gravity monster, the gas cloud has become further stretched, with its front moving now already 500 km/s faster than its tail. This confirms earlier predictions that its orbital motion brings it is close to the black hole, that it will not survive the encounter. With the new, detailed observations, the astronomers from the Max Planck Institute for Extraterrestrial Physics can now also place new constraints the origins of the gas cloud, making it increasingly unlikely that it contains a faint star inside, from which the cloud might have formed. [more]
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Vladimir Fortov elected President of the Russian Academy of Sciences           

June 03, 2013
At the end of May the External Scientific Member of the Max Planck Institute for Extraterrestrial Physics (MPE), Professor Vladimir E. Fortov, was elected President of the Russian Academy of Sciences. He has been working closely with the “complex plasma” group at MPE, headed by Professor Gregor Morfill, for more than 15 years and was instrumental in bringing the “plasma crystal experiments” into space. So far there have been more than 30 experiment campaigns on the International Space Station (ISS), making this by far the most successful and prolific ISS research activity. [more]
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Cold plasma successful against brain cancer cells

May 22, 2013
For the first time, physicists from the Max Planck Institute for Extraterrestrial Physics (MPE), biologists and physicians demonstrated the synergistic effect of cold atmospheric plasma - a partly ionized gas - and chemo therapy on aggressive brain tumour cells. Laboratory tests showed that the proliferation of glioblastoma cells – the most common and aggressive brain tumour in adults – is arrested and that even resistant cell populations become sensitive to treatment with chemo therapy if pre-treated with cold atmospheric plasma. This could be the first step on the way to a new combination therapy, providing new hope for fighting this lethal cancer. [more]
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Fermi/GBM Detects Brightest Gamma-Ray Burst in Decades

May 10, 2013
The Gamma-ray burst Monitor (GBM) onboard NASA’s Fermi satellite detected a very intense signal on 27 April from the brightest Gamma-Ray Burst (GRB) in decades. Several other space-based instruments including Fermi’s main instrument, the Large Area Telescope (LAT), discovered this event simultaneously. The GRB lasted so long that a record number of telescopes on the ground were able to catch it while space-based observations were still ongoing. The event is labeled GRB 130427A, indicating its date of occurrence.   [more]
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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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