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

MICADO enters manufacturing phase

MICADO, the first light camera for ESO’s Extremely Large Telescope (ELT), has entered a new phase in the project: moving on from the design phase, the MICADO consortium partners have started to manufacture the various sub-systems of the instrument. On that occasion, ESO - together with the MICADO consortium - have produced the first of a collection of explainer videos. 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

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

Euclid team comes visiting

Shortly before being shipped to the rocket launch, the Euclid project team took a last look at the impressive satellite that will soon map the distribution of galaxies in space more precisely than ever before. more

MaxPlanck75 - MPE wishes Happy Birthday!

The Max Planck Society celebrates its 75th birthday on 26 February 2023. On this occasion, the staff of the MPE congratulates with a little video. more



February 23, 2023

On 20 February 2023, representatives from science, industry, and politics celebrated the “ESO Day in Germany” at MPE to mark the 60th anniversary of the European Southern Observatory. more

Serendipitous detection of a rapidly accreting black hole in the early Universe

eROSITA telescope finds an X-ray bright, optically faint quasar accreting material at an extremely high rate only about 800 million years after the big bang more

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