MPE Press Releases (2005 - ....)

Teaser image horizontal 1459928015

Galaxy with a huge black hole is a hermit

April 06, 2016
The most massive black holes are not confined to the highest density regions in the universe as a new discovery in a galaxy close to our Milky Way shows. An international team of astronomers from the Max Planck Institute for Extraterrestrial Physics, the USA, and Canada analysed observations from a survey of massive early-type galaxies and found that the black hole at the centre of the group galaxy NGC 1600 has a mass 17 billion times larger than our Sun, one of the most massive black holes found to date. Moreover, the analysis shows that the distribution of stars near the centre of the galaxy is rather diffuse and that the size of this region extends over the same radius as the gravitational sphere of influence of the black hole. [more]
Teaser image horizontal 1458580115

A new view of the X-ray sky

March 22, 2016
Scientists at the Max Planck Institute for Extraterrestrial Physics (MPE) have revisited the all-sky survey carried out by the ROSAT satellite, to create a new image of the sky at X-ray wavelengths. Along with this a revised and extended version of the catalogue of bright and faint point-like sources will be released. The now published “2RXS catalogue” provides the deepest and cleanest X-ray all-sky survey to date, which will only be superseded with the launch of the next generation X-ray survey satellite, eROSITA, currently being completed at MPE. [more]
Teaser image vertical 1456488677

Gamma rays reveal pair plasma from a flaring black hole binary system

February 29, 2016
ESA’s INTEGRAL observatory saw the microquasar V404 Cygni flaring in June last year, which helped a team of astronomers led by the Max Planck Institute for Extraterrestrial Physics to discover electron-positron pair plasma from the black hole’s immediate surrounding. In such a binary system, a stellar black hole swallows matter from a companion star, but also ejects a two-sided jet. An accretion disk can be seen in X-ray emission, while radio observations show escaping plasma clouds in jets far out. The relation between accretion and ejection is completely unknown, as are processes which happen close to the black hole. Radiation near the black hole should be energetic enough to produce electrons and their anti-matter partners, the positrons, creating so-called ‘pair plasma’. The INTEGRAL data now showed a clear signature of this materialisation of radiation into pair plasma, as the escaping positrons emit a characteristic gamma-ray signal. This was discovered by the Max Planck scientists. [more]
Teaser image horizontal 1452594484

First Light For Future Black Hole Probe

January 13, 2016
Successful commissioning of GRAVITY at the VLTI [more]
Teaser image horizontal 1450428873

MPE contribution to Euclid takes next hurdle

December 16, 2015
The complex optics being developed at the Max Planck Institute for Extraterrestrial Physics for the near-infrared instrument NISP aboard the Euclid space telescope has passed its Critical Design Review and will now enter the construction phase. From 2020 onwards and with the help of this instrument as well as an imaging camera for visible light, the Euclid satellite is expected to map the universe more accurately than ever before. Scientists will thus be able to track the history of the universe more accurately and to get valuable insights into the mysterious components of the universe, "dark energy" and "dark matter". [more]
Teaser image vertical 1444046610

Kick-off for a new era of precision astronomy

October 06, 2015
Start of the Preliminary Design Phase for the MICADO camera for the E-ELT [more]
Teaser image horizontal

The turbulent heart of the Milky Way

August 20, 2015
Using the X-ray satellite XMM-Newton, astronomers observe the events around the black hole at the centre of our galaxy [more]