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Tsunamis and Ripples: Effects of Scalar Waves on Screening in the Milky Way

February 01, 2018
Modified gravity models often contain some form of screening to reduce to general relativity in our immediate cosmic neighbourhood. Scalar waves from astrophysical or cosmological events were thought to significantly disrupt this screening of the Solar System, invalidating previously viable modified gravity models. MPA scientists show that disruptions are actually generally negligible for physically relevant setups. [more]
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How black holes shape the cosmos

February 01, 2018
Astrophysicists from Heidelberg, Garching, and the USA gained new insights into the formation and evolution of galaxies. They calculated how black holes influence the distribution of dark matter, how heavy elements are produced and distributed throughout the cosmos, and where magnetic fields originate. This was possible by developing and programming a new simulation model for the universe, which created the most extensive simulations of this kind to date. Some of the first results of the “IllustrisTNG” project have now been published in three articles in the journal Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society. These findings should help to answer fundamental questions in cosmology. [more]
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Neutron Stars on the Brink of Collapse

January 01, 2018
Neutron stars are the densest objects in the Universe; however, their exact characteristics remain unknown. Using recent observations and simulations, an international team of scientists including researchers at the Max Planck Institute for Astrophysics (MPA) has managed to narrow down the size of these stars. Thus the scientists were able to exclude a number of theoretical descriptions for the neutron star matter. [more]
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ERC Grant for Sherry Suyu: Cosmic Fireworks Première

December 04, 2017
Unravelling Enigmas of Type Ia Supernova Progenitors and Cosmology through Strong Lensing [more]
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Breakthrough Prize for WMAP

December 03, 2017
The WMAP science team has received the 2018 Breakthrough Prize in Fundamental Physics for detailed maps of the early universe that greatly improved our knowledge of the evolution of the cosmos and the fluctuations that seeded the formation of galaxies. The prize will be shared among the entire 27-member WMAP science team including Eiichiro Komatsu, director at the Max Planck Institute for Astrophysics in Garching. [more]
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LOFAR radio observations document rejuvenation in space

December 01, 2017
In observations of galaxy clusters, astronomers in collaboration with the MPA discovered a new class of cosmic radio sources. With the digital radio telescope Low Frequency Array (LOFAR) they received the longest radio waves that can be measured on Earth. They identified a remarkable "tail"behind a galaxy in the radio light, which must have been re-energized after it had faded away. In the journal Science Advances, the team describes this discovery, which either confirms a theoretical prediction on the interaction between shock waves and radio plasma or represents a novel phenomenon. [more]
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Bridging the Gap: From Massive Stars to Supernovae in 3D

November 01, 2017
A team of astrophysicists from Queen’s University Belfast, the Max Planck Institute for Astrophysics (MPA), and Monash University (Australia) has, for the first time, performed three-dimensional computer simulations that follow the evolution of a massive star from its final phase of nuclear burning, through the collapse of the stellar iron core, into the first seconds of the beginning explosion as a supernova. The simulations show that the large-scale violent convective motions that stir the oxygen burning layer at the onset of collapse can provide crucial support for the explosion of the star. [more]