How do stars and planets form? Scientists are now one step closer to pinning down the conditions for the formation of proto-stellar disks. Observations of three systems in the early stages of star formation in the Perseus cloud revealed that the profile of the angular momentum in these systems is between that expected for a solid body and pure turbulence, indicating that the influence of the core extends further out than previously thought. These findings could lead to more realistic initial conditions for numerical simulations of disk formation.

How to spin a disk around young protostars

How do stars and planets form? Scientists are now one step closer to pinning down the conditions for the formation of proto-stellar disks. Observations of three systems in the early stages of star formation in the Perseus cloud revealed that the profile of the angular momentum in these systems is between that expected for a solid body and pure turbulence, indicating that the influence of the core extends further out than previously thought. These findings could lead to more realistic initial conditions for numerical simulations of disk formation.
MPE telescope will revolutionize our view of the evolving hot Universe

eROSITA launch heralds new era for X-ray astronomy

MPE telescope will revolutionize our view of the evolving hot Universe
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


Ewine van Dishoeck receives Karl Schwarzschild Medal 2019

Ewine van Dishoeck, Professor for molecular astropyhsics at University Leiden and external scientific member at the MPE, receives the Karl Schwarzschild Medal 2019 for her research on the formation of stars and planets. She has made important contributions to our understanding of the matter between stars: large clouds of gas and dust that are the birthplaces for solar systems like ours. By using observations, theory and experiments, she has shown how molecules form and evolve in these interstellar clouds. By studying interstellar molecules, she made significant impact on the understanding of the formation of stars and planets.
The award ceremony will take place during the Annual Meeting of the Astronomical Society 16.-20. September 2019 in Stuttgart.

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A glimpse of extragalactic sky with the SRG Observatory: eROSITA opens its first eye

September 10, 2019

The SRG (Spektrum-Roentgen-Gamma) Orbital Observatory has recently started one of its many tests by looking at a small patch of the extragalactic sky with one of the seven eROSITA telescope modules. The results are consistent with preflight expectations. The work on commissioning other modules is still underway and will be completed in the coming weeks before starting a 4-year long all-sky survey later this year.

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Honorary doctorate for Natascha Förster Schreiber

June 13, 2019

MPE astronomer Natascha Förster Schreiber will receive the honorary degree of Doctor of Science from the University of Bath. With this most prestigious accolade of Bath University, Förster Schreiber is recognized not only for her distinguished career and for the breadth of her research but also for her support of the Bath Astrophysics Group since it was established. The award ceremony will take place in early July at the University of Bath.

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Upcoming events

Data-driven Astronomy, Machine Learning versus Deep Learning

Sep 16, 2019 10:45 - 11:45
ESO Headquarters, Garching, Room: Library (room 365)

Galaxy formation with feedback from individual massive stars

Sep 16, 2019 15:30 - 16:30
MPA, Room: Large Lecture Hall E.0.11

Protoplanetary disc evolution at millimeter wavelengths

Sep 17, 2019 10:00 - 11:00
ESO Headquarters, Garching, Room: Fornax Room

Magnetic Fields in the Universe and Chiral Anomaly

Sep 17, 2019 11:00 - 12:00
MPA, Room: Large Lecture Hall E.0.11

Are vortices in protoplanetary disks concentrated or elongated?

Sep 17, 2019 12:00 - 13:00
ESO Headquarters, Garching, Room: Library (room 365)

Where are the 100 million black holes in our Galaxy and how can we discover them?

Sep 18, 2019 10:45 - 11:45
ESO Headquarters, Garching, Room: Library (room 365)

Chiral Anomaly Meets Cosmological Magnetic Fields

Sep 19, 2019 11:00 - 12:00
MPI Physik, Föhringer Ring 6, München Freimann, Room: Room 2-313
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