A team of astronomers have observed for the first time the columns of matter that build newborn stars. This detailed look inside the young stellar system, using the GRAVITY instrument built at the Max Planck Institute for Extraterrestrial Physics (MPE) and operated at the ESO Very Large Telescopes, revealed that the material is guided by magnetic fields and comes from the disks surrounding these stars, the same disks that eventually give rise to planets.

GRAVITY observes young star feeding from its surrounding disk

A team of astronomers have observed for the first time the columns of matter that build newborn stars. This detailed look inside the young stellar system, using the GRAVITY instrument built at the Max Planck Institute for Extraterrestrial Physics (MPE) and operated at the ESO Very Large Telescopes, revealed that the material is guided by magnetic fields and comes from the disks surrounding these stars, the same disks that eventually give rise to planets.

For the first time, astronomers have observed a conveyor belt from the outskirts of a star-forming dense cloud directly depositing material near a pair of young forming stars. Scientists at MPE and IRAM found that gas motions in the conveyor belt, dubbed a 'streamer', mainly obey the gravitational pull of the innermost part of the core, near the protostar pair.

A growing stellar system directly fed by the mother cloud

For the first time, astronomers have observed a conveyor belt from the outskirts of a star-forming dense cloud directly depositing material near a pair of young forming stars. Scientists at MPE and IRAM found that gas motions in the conveyor belt, dubbed a 'streamer', mainly obey the gravitational pull of the innermost part of the core, near the protostar pair.

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.

SDSS reveals 11 billion years of the history of our expanding Universe

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.

The eROSITA telescope has provided a new, sharp view of hot and energetic processes across the Universe.

Our deepest view of the X-ray sky

The eROSITA telescope has provided a new, sharp view of hot and energetic processes across the Universe.

Laboratory experiments performed at the Centre for Astrochemical Studies (CAS) of the Max Planck Institute for Extraterrestrial Physics (MPE) in Munich, together with astronomical observations conducted by the Italian National Institute of Astrophysics (INAF), lead to the identification of a new molecule in the molecular cloud known as G+0.693-0.027, close to the Galactic centre. The newly discovered molecule is called propargylimine: according to the experts, this chemical species may play a fundamental role in the formation of amino acids, among the key ingredients for life as we know it.

From lab to space: discovery of a new organic molecule in an interstellar molecular cloud

Laboratory experiments performed at the Centre for Astrochemical Studies (CAS) of the Max Planck Institute for Extraterrestrial Physics (MPE) in Munich, together with astronomical observations conducted by the Italian National Institute of Astrophysics (INAF), lead to the identification of a new molecule in the molecular cloud known as G+0.693-0.027, close to the Galactic centre. The newly discovered molecule is called propargylimine: according to the experts, this chemical species may play a fundamental role in the formation of amino acids, among the key ingredients for life as we know it.

High-resolution observations of a young star forming system clearly unveil a pair of proto-stars at their earliest stages of evolution deeply embedded within the source IRAS 16293-2422 in the Ophiuchus molecular cloud. The two close proto-stars are somewhat heavier than previously thought and they revolve around each other once in about 400 years.

Close-up view reveals binary proto-stars in the process of assemblage

High-resolution observations of a young star forming system clearly unveil a pair of proto-stars at their earliest stages of evolution deeply embedded within the source IRAS 16293-2422 in the Ophiuchus molecular cloud. The two close proto-stars are somewhat heavier than previously thought and they revolve around each other once in about 400 years.

Observations led by the MPE 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.

Star dancing around supermassive black hole confirms Einstein

Observations led by the MPE 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.

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

First sighting of hot gas sloshing in galaxy cluster

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

People and Project News


Note due to corona: Contacting MPE

To contain the spread of corona virus infections, the MPE has enacted certain changes to protect its employees. Wherever possible, MPE members will work from their home offices. For the time being, the MPI will not offer public events, and its staff will not undertake travel or attend conferences. Meetings will be held via video conferencing.
Therefore it might be difficult to reach some staff members by telephone, please use Email instead. Mail continues to be received. Please note, however, that there might be some delays in getting a response.
For information about MPG research about the Corona virus, please see here:

Linda Tacconi elected foreign member of the Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences

September 24, 2020

At the General Meeting of the Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences on 9 September 2020, Linda Tacconi from the Max Planck Institute for Extraterrestrial Physics was elected foreign member of the class for astronomy and space science. This honour recognises her exceptional research in millimetre astronomy and her efforts to promote European astronomy.

Max Planck Research Group for Silvia Spezzano

September 14, 2020

This autumn, Silvia Spezzano will start her new Max Planck Research Group (MPRG) at MPE. Over the next five years, she will study the chemical link in-between different stages of star and planetary system formation, and provide crucial constraints to our astrochemical origins. MPRGs are a key part of support of junior scientists in the Max Planck Society, offering internationally competitive packages for personnel, start-up money, and yearly operating costs.

Upcoming events

Radio2020 Symposium and GLOW annual assembly

Registration and abstract submission will close on September 10th
Oct 12, 2020 13:00 - Oct 14, 2020 13:15
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