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Three years into its quest to reveal the nature of dark energy, the Hobby-Eberly Telescope Dark Energy Experiment (HETDEX) is on track to complete the largest map of the cosmos ever. The team will create a three-dimensional map of 2.5 million galaxies that will help astronomers understand how and why the expansion of the universe is speeding up over time. Scientists in Munich and Garching have contributed to the design of the survey strategy, planning and execution as well as developing key software and data management tools for the cosmology data analysis. more

The Sloan Digital Sky Survey (SDSS) released today a comprehensive analysis of the largest three-dimensional map of the Universe ever created, filling in the most significant gaps in our possible exploration of its history. The collaboration, including researchers at the Max Planck Institute for Extraterrestrial Physics, was able to obtain the most accurate measurements of the expansion history of our Universe over the widest-ever range of cosmic time. more

ESA’s Euclid mission to study more than a billion galaxies is a step closer to launch as its two instruments are now built and fully tested, including the complex near Near-Infrared Spectrometer and Photometer (NISP) instrument delivered by an international consortium coordinated by France, with partners from Italy, Germany, Spain, Denmark, Norway and the United States. Scientists at the Max Planck Institute for Extraterrestrial Physics are responsible for the overall optical design of the near-infrared instrument NISP NI-OA. more

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

On Friday 11 January, the Royal Astronomical Society announced that MPE Director Ralf Bender is awarded an RAS Honorary Fellowship in Astronomy for the unique combination of research leadership and institutional service. more

Last week at LAM Marseille, the optical assembly consisting of the camera lens assembly “CaLA” and the corrector lens assembly “CoLA” have been fully integrated on the near-infrared optics NISP for the Euclid satellite. Euclid is an ESA mission, planned to launch in 2022 to study the “Dark Universe”. Scientists at the Max Planck Institute for Extraterrestrial Physics are responsible for the overall optical design of the near-infrared instrument NISP NI-OA. more

For the first time, the near-infrared optics for the Euclid satellite has produced real images under cryogenic and vacuum conditions. Euclid is an ESA mission, planned to launch in 2021 to study the “Dark Universe”. Scientists at the Max Planck Institute for Extraterrestrial Physics are responsible for the overall optical design of the near-infrared instrument NISP NI-OA, which is now fully qualified for instrument integration and will be delivered to the instrument by the end of May. more

The Division on Dynamical Astronomy (DDA) of the American Astronomical Society has named Dr. Ortwin Gerhard from the Max Planck Institute for Extraterrestrial Physics (MPE) as the 2017 recipient of its Dirk Brouwer Award. Gerhard receives the distinction for his achievements in modelling the inner Milky Way galaxy. more

The Pan-STARRS project, including astronomers at the Max Planck Institutes for Astronomy in Heidelberg and for Extraterrestrial Physics in Garching, is publicly releasing the world’s largest digital sky survey today. The catalogue is based on 4 years of observations of 3/4 of the night sky and provides extensive information on more than 3 billion stars, galaxies and other sources.  more

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