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

Heavyweight in the heart of the Abell 85 central galaxy

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

Revealing the Beauty of the Hidden Universe: eROSITA sees first light

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

What powers the most powerful explosions in the Universe?

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

Twin baby stars grow from gas streamers out of a common disk

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.
How do stars and planets form? Scientists are now one step closer to pinning down the conditions for the formation of proto-stellar disks. Observations of three systems in the early stages of star formation in the Perseus cloud revealed that the profile of the angular momentum in these systems is between that expected for a solid body and pure turbulence, indicating that the influence of the core extends further out than previously thought. These findings could lead to more realistic initial conditions for numerical simulations of disk formation.

How to spin a disk around young protostars

How do stars and planets form? Scientists are now one step closer to pinning down the conditions for the formation of proto-stellar disks. Observations of three systems in the early stages of star formation in the Perseus cloud revealed that the profile of the angular momentum in these systems is between that expected for a solid body and pure turbulence, indicating that the influence of the core extends further out than previously thought. These findings could lead to more realistic initial conditions for numerical simulations of disk formation.
MPE telescope will revolutionize our view of the evolving hot Universe

eROSITA launch heralds new era for X-ray astronomy

MPE telescope will revolutionize our view of the evolving hot Universe
Star formation within interstellar gas clouds proceeds very rapidly, yet highly inefficiently. Most of the gas is quickly dispersed by stellar radiation, leading to a violent cycling in which star-forming regions are flickering as sparkles in fireworks. A team of scientists including researchers at the Max Planck Institute for Extraterrestrial Physics has come to these conclusions based on new observations of the spiral galaxy NGC300.

Galaxies consist of star-forming regions sparkling as fireworks

Star formation within interstellar gas clouds proceeds very rapidly, yet highly inefficiently. Most of the gas is quickly dispersed by stellar radiation, leading to a violent cycling in which star-forming regions are flickering as sparkles in fireworks. A team of scientists including researchers at the Max Planck Institute for Extraterrestrial Physics has come to these conclusions based on new observations of the spiral galaxy NGC300.
The GRAVITY instrument on ESO’s Very Large Telescope Interferometer (VLTI) has made the first direct observation of an exoplanet using optical interferometry. This method revealed a complex exoplanetary atmosphere with clouds of iron and silicates swirling in a planet-wide storm. The technique presents unique possibilities for characterising many of the exoplanets known today.

GRAVITY reveals details of a storm-wracked exoplanet

The GRAVITY instrument on ESO’s Very Large Telescope Interferometer (VLTI) has made the first direct observation of an exoplanet using optical interferometry. This method revealed a complex exoplanetary atmosphere with clouds of iron and silicates swirling in a planet-wide storm. The technique presents unique possibilities for characterising many of the exoplanets known today.

People and Project News


Gamma-ray burst with ultra power

Observations of two gamma-ray bursts have revealed the highest-energy photons released by these violent explosions reported to date. With energies in the teraelectronvolt (TeV) range, these photons are hundreds of billions times more intense than those of visible light. The findings, presented in three Nature papers published this week, provide insights into the processes that produce such energetic events. MPE scientists were involved with observations using both the GROND imager at the MPI/ESO 2.2m telescope and the Gamma-ray Burst Monitor on board the Fermi space observatory.

eROSITA enters full science operations

October 15, 2019

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.

Ewine van Dishoeck receives Karl Schwarzschild Medal 2019

Ewine van Dishoeck, Professor for molecular astropyhsics at University Leiden and external scientific member at the MPE, receives the Karl Schwarzschild Medal 2019 for her research on the formation of stars and planets. She has made important contributions to our understanding of the matter between stars: large clouds of gas and dust that are the birthplaces for solar systems like ours. By using observations, theory and experiments, she has shown how molecules form and evolve in these interstellar clouds. By studying interstellar molecules, she made significant impact on the understanding of the formation of stars and planets.
The award ceremony will take place during the Annual Meeting of the Astronomical Society 16.-20. September 2019 in Stuttgart.

Upcoming events

Constraining supernova ejecta from radioactive decay lines and infrared iron lines

Dec 9, 2019 15:30 - 16:30
MPA, Room: Large Lecture Hall E.0.11

"Meet the speaker''

Dec 9, 2019 16:00 - 17:00
TUM Physics Department, Garching, Room: Room 3268

Life, the universe and everything

Dec 9, 2019 17:15 - 18:30
TUM Physics Department, Garching, Room: HS 2

AI in new generation of radio observations

Dec 10, 2019 11:00 - 12:00
MPA, Room: MPA Larger Sem. Room E.0.11

Molecular gas in compact groups

Dec 10, 2019 12:00 - 13:00
ESO Headquarters, Garching, Room: Library (room 365)

TBA

Dec 10, 2019 16:15 - 17:15
Max-Planck-Institut für Physik / MPP, (Werner-Heisenberg-Institut), Föhringer Ring 6, 80805 München , Room: Auditorium

Probing dark matter with cosmic-ray antiprotons

Dec 10, 2019 16:30 - 17:30
Garching, TUM Physik I, Room: Room 3343

MPG Advent Calendar

Our online science advent calendar is back! Each day until December 24, we will open a door of our advent calender for you to dazzle you with images from science and provide the scientific background to the image. Enjoy!

This year's background image of our advent calendar takes us far north. Nowhere else is climate change so starkly visible: the Arctic sea ice is melting faster than ever before, and by the end of this century, the North Pole could be completely free of ice in the summer.

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