MPE Press Releases (2005 - ...)

Euclid telescope successfully launched into space

The ESA space telescope Euclid, with significant contributions by the Max Planck Institute for Extraterrestrial Physics (MPE) in Garching, was launched into space today, 1 July 2023 at 17:12 CEST on a Falcon 9 rocket by the US space company SpaceX. Once it arrives at its destination, the Lagrange Point 2 (L2) of Earth-Sun system, it will observe over a third of the entire sky for at least six years, mapping the spatial distribution of billions of galaxies and measuring their properties. Analysing this data, the six German institutes in the international Euclid consortium hope understand better, how Dark Matter and Dark Energy influence the structure of the universe. more

Frank Eisenhauer becomes new director at the MPI for Extraterrestrial Physics

The astrophysicist Frank Eisenhauer builds sophisticated instruments for the world’s largest telescopes and uses them to explore black holes and distant galaxies with unprecedented precision. more

eROSITA sees changes in the most powerful quasar

Researchers have observed the X-ray emission of the most luminous quasar seen in the last 9 billion years of cosmic history. Significant changes in the quasar’s emission give a new perspective on the inner workings of quasars and how they interact with their environment. The study was led by Dr Elias Kammoun, a postdoctoral researcher at the Research Institute in Astrophysics and Planetology (IRAP), and Zsofi Igo, a PhD candidate at the Max Planck Institute for Extraterrestrial Physics (MPE). more

JWST peeks into the birthplaces of exoplanets

Astronomers excited by first JWST spectra of planetary cradles showing a rich and diverse chemistry more

New membrane mirrors for large space-based telescopes

Lightweight flexible mirrors could be rolled up during launch and precisely reshaped after deployment

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

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