All News (2011 - ...)

In memoriam Reimar Lüst (1923 – 2020)

MPE founding director Reimar Lüst would celebrate his 100th birthday this year. more

Helium-burning white dwarf discovered

A white dwarf star can explode as a supernova when its mass exceeds the limit of about 1.4 solar masses. A team led by the Max Planck Institute for Extraterrestrial Physics has now found a binary star system in which matter flows onto the white dwarf from its companion. The system was found due to bright, so-called super-soft X-rays, which originate in the nuclear fusion of the overflowed gas near the surface of the white dwarf. The unusual thing about this source is that it is helium and not hydrogen that overflows and burns. The measured luminosity suggests that the mass of the white dwarf is growing more slowly than previously thought possible, which may help to understand the number of supernovae caused by exploding white dwarfs. more

Life on distant moons

Life on distant moons

March 20, 2023

Liquid water is one of the most important ingredients for the emergence of life as we know it on Earth. Researchers of the ORIGINS Cluster and the Max Planck Institute for Extraterrestrial Physics from the fields of astrophysics, astrochemistry and biochemistry have now determined the necessary properties that allow moons around free-floating planets to retain liquid water for a sufficiently long time and thus enable life. more

Euclid team comes visiting

Shortly before being shipped to the rocket launch, the Euclid project team took a last look at the impressive satellite that will soon map the distribution of galaxies in space more precisely than ever before. more

MaxPlanck75 - MPE wishes Happy Birthday!

The Max Planck Society celebrates its 75th birthday on 26 February 2023. On this occasion, the staff of the MPE congratulates with a little video. more



February 23, 2023

On 20 February 2023, representatives from science, industry, and politics celebrated the “ESO Day in Germany” at MPE to mark the 60th anniversary of the European Southern Observatory. more

Serendipitous detection of a rapidly accreting black hole in the early Universe

eROSITA telescope finds an X-ray bright, optically faint quasar accreting material at an extremely high rate only about 800 million years after the big bang more

Chameleon I hides a wealth of frozen molecules

James Webb Space Telescope unveils the dark side of pre-stellar ice chemistry more

Star on a dangerous path provides regular meals for supermassive black hole

eROSITA all-sky survey detects repeating X-ray flares in an otherwise quiescent galaxy. more

Hot spots around infant binary stars

High-resolution ALMA observations of the system IRAS 16293-2422 have revealed localized hot spots in the dusty material of the young stellar system. The study led by the Max Planck Institute of Extraterrestrial Physics indicates that these are most likely due to local shocks caused by fast gas motions rather than illumination from the protostars. This suggests that heat produced in shocks is an important factor during the early stages of the formation of protostars and the planetary disks around them. Such shocks could be caused by localized accretion of material from the surrounding envelope or by local fragmentation due to gravitational instabilities. more

ORIGINS PhD Award 2022 for Riccardo Arcodia

This year, one of the ORIGINS Cluster PhD awards goes to Riccardo Arcodia from the Max Planck Institute for Extraterrestrial Physics for his excellent thesis. The ORIGINS PhD Awards were presented at a ceremony during the ORIGINS Science Week, which took place from November 28th to December 1st, 2022 at Seeon Monastery. more

Sharper infrared eyes for the VLT: ERIS sees first light

The Enhanced Resolution Imager and Spectrograph (ERIS), a science instrument which was built by a consortium under the leadership of the Max Planck Institute for Extraterrestrial Physics, has successfully completed its first test observations. One of them exposed the heart of the galaxy NGC 1097 in mesmerising detail. Installed on ESO’s Very Large Telescope (VLT) at Cerro Paranal in northern Chile, this infrared instrument will be able to see further and in finer detail, leading the way in Solar System, exoplanet and galaxy observations. more

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