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All News

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Volker Springel appointed as new director at MPA

October 05, 2017
From 1st October 2017, Volker Springel is a new director at the Max Planck Institute for Astrophysics and head of the "Numerical Astrophysics" department, initially with a partial appointment and from 1st August 2018 full-time. The theoretical astrophysicist, whose main research focus is on structure formation in the Universe and the simulation of galaxies, returns to Garching and the institute where his scientific career began. [more]
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Rise and Shine: Type Ia supernova models at early times

October 01, 2017
Type Ia supernovae (SNe Ia) are spectacular explosions in white dwarf stars and play an essential role in astrophysics in general and in cosmological studies in particular. However, many puzzles about the nature and the inherent physical mechanisms in SNe Ia are still waiting to be answered. Robotic surveys of the next decade will provide an unprecedented wealth of observed Type Ia supernovae, detected shortly after explosion. Researchers at MPA examine here whether different explosion models are expected to leave clear imprints in such early observations that could be used in future photometric surveys to help shedding light on the progenitors and explosion mechanism of SNe Ia. [more]
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Progenitor for Tycho’s supernova was not hot and luminous

September 25, 2017
An international team of scientists from the Monash University (Melbourne, Australia), the Towson and Pittsburgh Universities (USA) and the Max Planck Institute for Astrophysics, has shed new light on the origins of the famous Tycho’s supernova. The research, published in Nature Astronomy, debunks the common view that Tycho’s supernova originated from a white dwarf, which had been slowly accreting matter from its companion in a binary system. [more]
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Rashid Sunyaev becomes 2017 Citation Laureate

September 20, 2017
Each year since 2002, analysts at Clarivate Analytics (formerly Thomson Reuters) mine millions of citations in the Web of Science to identify top-tier researchers in physiology, medicine, physics and chemistry as well as economics. MPA director Rashid Sunyaev is one of five 2017 physics laureates for his “profound contributions to our understanding of the Universe, including its origins, galactic formation processes, disk accretion of black holes, and many other cosmological phenomena.” [more]
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ERC starting grant for Simona Vegetti

September 18, 2017
Using strong gravitational lensing, Simona Vegetti aims to constrain the properties of dark matter and investigate the formation of structure in the universe. Recently, she has been selected as recipient of an ERC starting grant, which will allow her to expand her group and refine her unique modelling technique as well as applying this to new, high-quality data. [more]
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Biermann Lectures 2017: Neutron star mergers and gravitational waves

September 04, 2017
Gravitational waves have become a very hot topic in astrophysics since their detection by LIGO in 2015. This means that also possible precursors are in the focus of research – general relativistic research because these objects are either black holes or neutron stars. The 2017 Biermann Lecturer, Masaru Shibata from the Kyoto University, uses numerical simulations and general relativity (or numerical relativity for short) to study the merger of such extreme objects and the properties of both the electromagnetic radiation and gravitational waves emitted during these events. [more]
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Probing molecular clouds with supermassive black hole X-ray flares

September 01, 2017
The centre of the Milky Way is a very special place, harboring many exotic objects, such as the supermassive black hole Sagittarius A* and giant molecular clouds. Some of these clouds, despite being cold, are sources of high energy photons. It is believed that the clouds are not producing these photons themselves, but rather scatter the X-ray radiation coming from outside.  Even though Sgr A* is currently very faint in X-rays, it is considered as the main culprit of this radiation, in the form of short but intense flares, which happened over the past few hundred years. The time delay caused by light propagation from Sgr A* to the clouds and then to us, allows one to study Sgr A*’s past activity. At the same time, flares serve as an extremely powerful probe of molecular gas properties. In particular, the full 3D structure of molecular clouds and their density distribution on small scales can be reconstructed. [more]
 
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