Star formation within interstellar gas clouds proceeds very rapidly, yet highly inefficiently. Most of the gas is quickly dispersed by stellar radiation, leading to a violent cycling in which star-forming regions are flickering as sparkles in fireworks. A team of scientists including researchers at the Max Planck Institute for Extraterrestrial Physics has come to these conclusions based on new observations of the spiral galaxy NGC300.

Galaxies consist of star-forming regions sparkling as fireworks

Star formation within interstellar gas clouds proceeds very rapidly, yet highly inefficiently. Most of the gas is quickly dispersed by stellar radiation, leading to a violent cycling in which star-forming regions are flickering as sparkles in fireworks. A team of scientists including researchers at the Max Planck Institute for Extraterrestrial Physics has come to these conclusions based on new observations of the spiral galaxy NGC300.
The GRAVITY instrument on ESO’s Very Large Telescope Interferometer (VLTI) has made the first direct observation of an exoplanet using optical interferometry. This method revealed a complex exoplanetary atmosphere with clouds of iron and silicates swirling in a planet-wide storm. The technique presents unique possibilities for characterising many of the exoplanets known today.

GRAVITY reveals details of a storm-wracked exoplanet

The GRAVITY instrument on ESO’s Very Large Telescope Interferometer (VLTI) has made the first direct observation of an exoplanet using optical interferometry. This method revealed a complex exoplanetary atmosphere with clouds of iron and silicates swirling in a planet-wide storm. The technique presents unique possibilities for characterising many of the exoplanets known today.
Outflows of matter and energy from a galaxy’s centre are considered key players in the formation and evolution of galaxies and other structures in the Universe. Astronomers led by the Max Planck Institute for Extraterrestrial Physics have now created the  most extensive X-ray map of the central degrees of the Milky Way, thereby discovering a channel of X-ray emitting gas connecting the Milky Way centre to structures much further out.

X-ray Chimneys in the Milky Way

Outflows of matter and energy from a galaxy’s centre are considered key players in the formation and evolution of galaxies and other structures in the Universe. Astronomers led by the Max Planck Institute for Extraterrestrial Physics have now created the  most extensive X-ray map of the central degrees of the Milky Way, thereby discovering a channel of X-ray emitting gas connecting the Milky Way centre to structures much further out.
Detailed observations of the quasar 3C 273 with the GRAVITY instrument reveal the structure of rapidly moving gas around the central super-massive black hole, the first time that the so-called “broad line region” could be resolved.

A close-up look at the whirlpool around a gigantic black hole

Detailed observations of the quasar 3C 273 with the GRAVITY instrument reveal the structure of rapidly moving gas around the central super-massive black hole, the first time that the so-called “broad line region” could be resolved.
GRAVITY instrument confirms black hole status of the Milky Way centre

First Detailed Observations of Material Orbiting close to a Black Hole

GRAVITY instrument confirms black hole status of the Milky Way centre
Observations of the Galactic Centre team at the Max Planck Institute for Extraterrestrial Physics (MPE) have for the first time revealed the effects predicted by Einstein’s general relativity on the motion of a star passing through the extreme gravitational field near the supermassive black hole in the centre of the Milky Way.

First Successful Test of Einstein’s General Relativity Near Supermassive Black Hole

Observations of the Galactic Centre team at the Max Planck Institute for Extraterrestrial Physics (MPE) have for the first time revealed the effects predicted by Einstein’s general relativity on the motion of a star passing through the extreme gravitational field near the supermassive black hole in the centre of the Milky Way.

People and Project News


eROSITA arrives at Baikonur

April 26, 2019

On 25 April 2019, the Spektr-RG Space Observatory was transported to the Baikonur Cosmodrome - the final stage in preparation for its launch on 21 June. Spektr-RG carries the X-ray telescope eROSITA, which was developed and built at MPE. Its aim is to perform a highly sensitive survey of the entire sky in X-ray light, once it arrives at its observation point L2.

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4MOST soll eROSITA-Quellen nachbeobachten

4MOST to follow up on eROSITA sources

On 6 March, a series of White Papers was published to introduce  the 4MOST survey program to the scientific community. The 4-metre Multi-Object Spectroscopic Telescope 4MOST will be the largest spectroscopic survey facility of its kind in the Southern hemisphere and will address today’s most pressing astronomical questions in the fields of Galactic archaeology, high-energy astrophysics, galaxy evolu­tion and cosmology, starting its public survey program in 2022. MPE has contributed two of the White Papers with the aim of using 4MOST to the followup of eROSITA sources in two major surveys dedicated to Active Galactic Nuclei and Clusters of Galaxies, respectively.

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<p>RAS Honorary Fellowship in Astronomy awarded to MPE Director Ralf Bender</p>

RAS Honorary Fellowship in Astronomy awarded to MPE Director Ralf Bender

January 14, 2019

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.

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Upcoming events

Introduction to Optical and Infrared Detector Systems for ground based astronomy

May 27, 2019 10:45 - 11:45
ESO Headquarters, Garching, Room: Library (room 365)

FFT-based forward modeling for radio interferometric gravitational lens observations

May 27, 2019 15:30 - 16:30
MPA, Room: Large Seminar Room E.0.11.

"Meet the speaker''

May 27, 2019 16:00 - 17:00
Physik LMU, Schellingstr. 4, München , Room: Room H522

Physics of the Bacterial Flagellar Motor

May 27, 2019 17:15 - 18:30
Physik LMU, Schellingstr. 4, Munich , Room: H030

Planets or Dust Clumps? Searching for Planets within Evolved Disks

May 28, 2019 10:00 - 11:00
ESO, Room: Fornax Room

Title1: Formation of Supermassive Black Holes from Population III.1 Seeds, Title 2: TBA

May 28, 2019 11:00 - 12:15
MPA, Room: Large Seminar room E.0.11

The Amplitudes Frontier

May 28, 2019 16:15 - 17:15
MPI Physik, Freimann, Room: Lecture Hall

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