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All News

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The Hydrangea project: high-resolution hydrodynamic simulations of galaxy clusters

January 01, 2017
Why do galaxies that live in the enormous structures known as galaxy clusters look different from normal, isolated galaxies, such as our Milky Way? To answer this question, an international research team led by MPA has created the Hydrangea simulations, a suite of 24 high-resolution cosmological hydrodynamic simulations of galaxy clusters. Containing over 20,000 cluster galaxies in unprecedented detail and accuracy, these simulations provide astrophysicists with a powerful tool to understand how galaxies have formed and evolved in one of the most extreme environments of our Universe. [more]
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Fluctuations in extragalactic gamma rays reveal two source classes but no dark matter

December 19, 2016
Researchers from the Max Planck Institute for Astrophysics and the University of Amsterdam GRAPPA Center of Excellence just published the most precise analysis so far of the fluctuations in the gamma-ray background. They used more than six years of data gathered by the Fermi Large Area Telescope and found two different source classes contributing to the gamma-ray background. No traces of a contribution of dark matter particles were found in the analysis. The study was performed with an international collaboration of researchers and is published in the journal Physical Review D. [more]
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Jérôme Guilet receives ERC starting grant

December 16, 2016
This week, the European Research Council and MPA-postdoc Jérôme Guilet signed the agreement for an ERC Starting Grant. The project funded will research exploding stars from first principles, in particular magnetars as engines of hypernovae and gamma-ray bursts. [more]
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The embarrassment of false predictions -
How to best communicate probabilities?

December 01, 2016
Complex predictions such as election forecasts or the weather reports often have to be simplified before communication. But how should one best simplify these predictions without facing embarrassment? In astronomical data analysis, researchers are also confronted with the problem of simplifying probabilities. Two researchers at the Max Planck Institute for Astrophysics now show that there is only one mathematically correct way to measure how embarrassing a simplified prediction can be. According to this, the recipient of a prediction should be deprived of the smallest possible amount of information. [more]
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Marat Gilfanov elected as a member of Russian Academy of Sciences

November 07, 2016
On 28 October 2016 the Russian Academy of Sciences announced that Prof. Marat Gilfanov, a research group leader at the Max Planck Institute for Astrophysics, is elected to the Academy as a Corresponding Member. The Academy holds elections once every several years. This year 3 new corresponding members in Astronomy joined the Academy, including Prof. Gilfanov. [more]
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Studying diffuse, warm gas in the outskirts of galaxies

November 01, 2016
The diffuse gas around galaxies is hard to detect, but shows properties which are quite different to the star-forming gas inside a galaxy. Scientists at MPA have used observations from the recent MaNGA survey to study how the ionized gas changes with distance from the center of the galaxy. They have demonstrated the usefulness of adding spectra from multiple galaxies in order to analyze the gas in the outskirts of galaxies. Their study shows that the brightness of the gas decreases, while its temperature increases the further the gas is located from the center of the galaxy. The differences between star-forming and circumgalactic gas also seem to correlate with the star-formation rate and stellar mass of the galaxies. [more]
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Warps and waves in fully cosmological models of galactic discs

October 01, 2016
The stellar discs of nearby spiral galaxies are generally not flat and often show waves and warps. Even our own Galactic disc seems to be corrugated. It is still not clear what causes these structures. A research team at MPA, together with external collaborators, have revisited this question by analyzing new simulations of spiral galaxy formation. Their study shows that close encounters with satellite galaxies and more distant flybys of massive companions are the most common drivers. However, in some cases, bending patterns in discs can also be driven by the accretion of cold gas. The vertical motions produced by these patterns can be as large as 60 km/s. Such perturbations should be easily detectable in line-of-sight velocity fields of nearly face-on galaxies. This provides a new way to study the structure of galactic stellar discs, allowing us to understand how and how often such corrugation patterns arise in the nearby universe. [more]
 
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