All News (2011 - ...)

Observations led by the Max Planck Institute for Extraterrestrial Physics have revealed for the first time that a star orbiting the supermassive black hole at the centre of the Milky Way moves just as predicted by Einstein’s general theory of relativity. Its orbit is shaped like a rosette and not like an ellipse as predicted by Newton's theory of gravity. This long-sought-after result was made possible by increasingly precise measurements with ESO telescopes over nearly 30 years, which have enabled scientists to unlock the mysteries of the behemoth lurking at the heart of our galaxy. more

Obituary for Reimar Lüst

March 31, 2020

MPE founding director passes away at the age of 97 more

MICADO, the first dedicated imaging system for ESO’s Extremely Large Telescope (ELT), has reached an important milestone in its design review. The MICADO consortium, together with a group of external experts from around the world, met at ESO’s Garching headquarters for a week of intense examination of the instrument’s optics, mechanics, software, electronics, and budget plan to identify any areas which needed further design work. After the meeting, the MICADO team addressed all of the major concerns raised during the review and the instrument has now formally passed its preliminary design review. A more detailed design phase is now underway, leading towards the final design review and construction of the instrument’s many components. more

X-ray observatory XMM-Newton shows large scale plasma motion more

Launched from Baikonur on July 13th 2019 to the second Sun-Earth Lagrange point (L2), the Russian-German SRG mission has now started its main task. On December 8th, after an extensive program of commissioning, calibration and performance verification of its two X-ray telescopes (ART-XC and eROSITA), the satellite has begun observing the sky in continuous scanning mode. As SRG follows the revolution of Earth, and hence also of the L2 point, around the Sun, it will perform eight complete surveys of the whole sky, one every six months, for the next 4 years. Pre-launch predictions suggest that, over that time, the eROSITA instrument, conceived, designed and built at MPE, should discover approximately 100,000 clusters of galaxies, around 3 million accreting supermassive black holes and half a million active stars. more

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

First Light images by the eROSITA X-ray telescope.
You are free to use the images for your eROSITA reporting, please give the appropriate copyright with each image. more

The scientific performance demonstrated in the first weeks of operations of the eROSITA X-ray telescope promises a breakthrough in our understanding of the energetic Universe. more

The physical process driving Gamma-Ray Bursts might be synchrotron radiation after all more

The commissioning phase of the eROSITA X-ray telescope aboard the SRG spacecraft has just been completed. During this phase, all seven eROSITA cameras have been switched on individually, and demonstrated performance satisfying the mission requirements. As of Sunday 13 October 2019, all seven telescope modules are operating simultaneously, and eROSITA has entered full science operations, beginning with the calibration and performance verification (CalPV) phase. Early images and results from eROSITA will be presented at a “first light” symposium to be held at MPE in the afternoon of Tuesday October 22nd. Interested members of the media should contact Hannelore Hämmerle (see side column) for more details. more

High-resolution images of a young stellar binary system for the first time reveal a complex network of accretion filaments nurturing two proto-stars at the centre of the circum-binary disk. With these observations, an international team of astronomers led by the Max Planck Institute for Extraterrestrial Physics was able to identify a two-level accretion process, circum-binary disk to circumstellar disk to stars, constraining the conditions leading to the formation and evolution of binary star systems. more

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. more

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