CAS News and Highlights

Protostars feed from beyond their envelopes

A recent study led by researchers at the Max Planck Institute for Extraterrestrial Physics challenges conventional notions of star formation by revealing the intricate connection between streamers and filaments. Focusing on the star-forming region Barnard 5, the study traces the journey of material from larger scales to protostellar disks, uncovering a remarkable relationship between elongated filaments and gas streamers. In particular, the team discovered a sizeable streamer, which suggests that young stars can receive additional material even after the so-believed main accretion phase. more

JWST peeks into the birthplaces of exoplanets

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

Chameleon I hides a wealth of frozen molecules

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

Tommaso Grassi receives AG Software Award

The German Astronomical Society (AG) has awarded MPE scientist Dr. Tommaso Grassi with the Astrophysical Software Award for the development of the astrochemistry package KROME. The award ceremony will take place at the University of Bremen during the annual AG meeting from 12th to 16th of September 2022. more

Molecules are stored in ice just before star and planet formation

Astronomers at the Max Planck Institute for Extraterrestrial Physics have found evidence that just before star formation, in the central region of a pre-stellar cloud, practically all heavy molecules freeze out on top of dust grains. The ALMA observations of the L1544 cloud in the constellation Taurus showed not only a central concentration of dust grains, but also revealed that molecules containing nitrogen as well those containing carbon, oxygen and all elements heavier than helium, are stored in thick icy mantles around the dust grains. These icy mantles are rich in water and organic molecules, precursors of pre-biotic molecules. The abundances are similar to those observed in leftover objects from the formation of our Solar System. more

Ewine van Dishoeck receives Fritz Zwicky Prize

The European Astronomical Society awards the 2022 Fritz Zwicky Prize for Astrophysics & Cosmology to Prof. Ewine F. van Dishoeck (Leiden University, the Netherlands and Max Planck Institute for Extraterrestrial Physics). The Fritz Zwicky Prize for Astrophysics & Cosmology honours scientists who have obtained fundamental and outstanding results related to astrophysics and/or cosmology. more

<p>Elena Redaelli receives Otto Hahn Medal</p>

For her excellent Dissertation, MPE junior scientist Elena Redaelli will receive the Otto Hahn Medal from the Max Planck Society in 2021. The prize is awarded for work on regions of our Galaxy where stars like our Sun are currently formed, being able to unveil the physical and chemical structure of interstellar molecular clouds. Her thesis on various aspects of star formation includes three peer-reviewed papers and future work with enough material for more papers as well as ideas for future observations and analysis. more

<p>Why our water is billions of years old</p>

Long-awaited review reveals journey of water from interstellar clouds to habitable worlds more

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