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The formation of the most diffuse giant galaxy cores in the Universe

September 01, 2018
Supermassive black holes (SMBH) of up to tens of billon solar masses are hiding in the centers of giant elliptical galaxies. At the same time, these galaxies have ‘missing’ nuclear light as the stellar densities at their cores are much lower than in other giant galaxies. A team of researchers at the University of Helsinki and the astronomical Max Planck Institutes in Garching have used a newly developed simulation technique to investigate the origin of this ‘missing’ light with realistic galaxy models. When two massive elliptical galaxies merge, many central stars are expelled during the final coalescence of the stellar nuclei and their SMBHs. This new model can explain the simultaneous formation of the most diffuse giant galaxy cores as well as other observed core properties such as decoupled rotation and anisotropic stellar velocity distributions. [more]
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A novel 3D technique to study the kinematics of lensed galaxies

August 01, 2018
Gravitational lensing offers the possibility to study faint, far-away galaxies. MPA researchers have now developed the first three dimensional lens modelling method, which allows not only the reconstruction of the mass distribution of the foreground galaxy but also the kinematics of the background galaxy. Consequently, the matter content can now be studied also in young galaxies.  [more]
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Kippenhahn Award for Aniket Agrawal and Jens Stücker

July 19, 2018
The 2018 MPA summer party was not only a special thank you to this year’s Biermann lecturer Alice Shapley, UCLA, but also the occasion to congratulate two junior MPA scientists to their Kippenhahn Awards. Aniket Agrawal was honoured for his paper on “Large tensor non-Gaussianity from axion-gauge field dynamics”. Jens Stücker received the award for his paper “The median density of the Universe”. [more]
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The 2018 Marcel Grossmann Award for Rashid Sunyaev

July 19, 2018
Professor Rashid Sunyaev, Director-emeritus of the Max-Planck-Institute for astrophysics has been awarded the 2018 Marcel Grossmann Award. [more]
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Highly ionized oxygen: signatures of galactic feedback

July 01, 2018
Oxygen, after hydrogen and helium, is the most abundant element in the universe. It is a fundamental tracer to learn more about the formation of single stars as well as entire galaxies. Understanding the origin of highly excited states of oxygen in the circumgalactic medium (CGM) around galaxies has proven difficult, and past theoretical models have had difficulty matching observational constraints. Using cosmological simulations from the IllustrisTNG suite, researchers at MPA have demonstrated how the feedback from supernovae and supermassive black holes can shape the heavy element content of the CGM, bringing it into agreement with data from the local universe. The amount of highly ionized oxygen around blue, star-forming galaxies is predicted to be noticeably higher than around red, quenched systems of exactly the same mass. [more]
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New Probes of Distant Galaxies and Their Cosmic Environments During the Peak Epoch of Star Formation

June 04, 2018
By Professor Alice Shapley, UCLA, Dept. of Physics and Astronomy [more]
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Gravitational Wave Messengers from the very early universe

June 01, 2018
Quantum fluctuations in the very early Universe give rise to temperature and polarisation anisotropies in the cosmic microwave background, and seed present-day cosmic structures. Primordial gravitational waves generated by these fluctuations carry information about the energy scale of inflation, and they are weakly non-Gaussian. However, primordial gravitational waves can also be generated by other sources, and carry imprints of the energy content of the early Universe. Scientists at MPA recently showed that these gravitational waves can be highly non-Gaussian, with a skewness much larger than for those generated by vacuum fluctuations. They concluded that non-Gaussianity is thus an important test of the origin of primordial gravitational waves. [more]
 
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