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The Sloan Digital Sky Survey (SDSS) released today a comprehensive analysis of the largest three-dimensional map of the Universe ever created, filling in the most significant gaps in our possible exploration of its history. The collaboration, including researchers at the Max Planck Institute for Extraterrestrial Physics, was able to obtain the most accurate measurements of the expansion history of our Universe over the widest-ever range of cosmic time. more

Astronomers discover the heaviest black hole in the nearby universe with 40 billion solar masses more

On Friday 11 January, the Royal Astronomical Society announced that MPE Director Ralf Bender is awarded an RAS Honorary Fellowship in Astronomy for the unique combination of research leadership and institutional service. more

Last week at LAM Marseille, the optical assembly consisting of the camera lens assembly “CaLA” and the corrector lens assembly “CoLA” have been fully integrated on the near-infrared optics NISP for the Euclid satellite. Euclid is an ESA mission, planned to launch in 2022 to study the “Dark Universe”. Scientists at the Max Planck Institute for Extraterrestrial Physics are responsible for the overall optical design of the near-infrared instrument NISP NI-OA. more

For the first time, the near-infrared optics for the Euclid satellite has produced real images under cryogenic and vacuum conditions. Euclid is an ESA mission, planned to launch in 2021 to study the “Dark Universe”. Scientists at the Max Planck Institute for Extraterrestrial Physics are responsible for the overall optical design of the near-infrared instrument NISP NI-OA, which is now fully qualified for instrument integration and will be delivered to the instrument by the end of May. more

The Division on Dynamical Astronomy (DDA) of the American Astronomical Society has named Dr. Ortwin Gerhard from the Max Planck Institute for Extraterrestrial Physics (MPE) as the 2017 recipient of its Dirk Brouwer Award. Gerhard receives the distinction for his achievements in modelling the inner Milky Way galaxy. more

The Pan-STARRS project, including astronomers at the Max Planck Institutes for Astronomy in Heidelberg and for Extraterrestrial Physics in Garching, is publicly releasing the world’s largest digital sky survey today. The catalogue is based on 4 years of observations of 3/4 of the night sky and provides extensive information on more than 3 billion stars, galaxies and other sources.  more

A galaxy with a double heart

October 14, 2016

Recent high-resolution images of the giant elliptical galaxy NGC 5419 clearly show a double nucleus. The nature of this structure remained unclear until scientists of the Max Planck Institute for Extraterrestrial Physics measured the velocities of the stars. A detailed analysis of the images and kinematic data suggests that this galaxy hosts two supermassive black holes at its centre, with a total mass of at least 7 billion solar masses and a separation of only some 200 lightyears. more

What are the properties of Dark Energy? This question is one of the most intriguing ones in astronomy and scientists are one step closer in answering this question with the largest three-dimensional map of the universe so far: This map contains 1.2 million galaxies in a volume spanning 650 cubic billion light years. Hundreds of scientists from the Sloan Digital Sky Survey III (SDSS-III) – including researchers at the Max Planck Institutes for Extraterrestrial Physics and for Astrophyics - used this map to make one of the most precise measurements yet of dark energy. They found excellent agreement with the standard cosmological model and confirmed that dark energy is highly consistent with a cosmological constant. more

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