Recent Research Highlights

Despite being ten years old, MPA's Millennium Simulation continues to get a lot of use with more than 70 papers a year using its public data.

MPA's Millennium Simulation

Despite being ten years old, MPA's Millennium Simulation continues to get a lot of use with more than 70 papers a year using its public data.
Scientists at the Max Planck Institute for Astrophysics (MPA) have combined high-resolution images from the ALMA telescopes with a new scheme for undoing the distorting effects of a powerful gravitational lens in order to provide the first detailed picture of a young and distant galaxy, over 11 billion light-years from Earth.

Dusty substructure in a galaxy far far away

April 09, 2015

Scientists at the Max Planck Institute for Astrophysics (MPA) have combined high-resolution images from the ALMA telescopes with a new scheme for undoing the distorting effects of a powerful gravitational lens in order to provide the first detailed picture of a young and distant galaxy, over 11 billion light-years from Earth. [more]
Dark matter is at the centre of our understanding of the physics of the early Universe, of cosmic large-scale structure and of galaxy formation. Recently, scientists at the MPA have performed cosmological N-body simulations showing that the mergers of galaxies (containing both stars and dark matter) at the centre of galaxy clusters can alter the central distribution of dark matter in a way that alleviates recent discrepancies found between observations and simulations.

Stars influence the central distribution of dark matter in galaxy clusters

November 01, 2014

Dark matter is at the centre of our understanding of the physics of the early Universe, of cosmic large-scale structure and of galaxy formation. Recently, scientists at the MPA have performed cosmological N-body simulations showing that the mergers of galaxies (containing both stars and dark matter) at the centre of galaxy clusters can alter the central distribution of dark matter in a way that alleviates recent discrepancies found between observations and simulations.
[more]
Over the last two years an international team of astronomers participating in the ATLAS3D project has presented the rotation properties of all early-type (elliptical and lenticular) galaxies in a well defined volume (42Mpc) of the nearby Universe. To the surprise of the team the stellar components of the most massive observed galaxies (~ 1011 Msun) in our neighbourhood show no global rotation signatures, in contrast to the regular rotation patterns observed for the majority of lower mass early-type galaxies.

Why do the most massive galaxies in the local Universe stand still?

Over the last two years an international team of astronomers participating in the ATLAS3D project has presented the rotation properties of all early-type (elliptical and lenticular) galaxies in a well defined volume (42Mpc) of the nearby Universe. To the surprise of the team the stellar components of the most massive observed galaxies (~ 1011 Msun) in our neighbourhood show no global rotation signatures, in contrast to the regular rotation patterns observed for the majority of lower mass early-type galaxies.

Structure Formation

Computational Structure Formation

400,000 years after it began our Universe was hot, dense and almost featureless, yet today's world of galaxies is highly structured on all but the largest scales, showing both extraordinary diversity and surprising regularity. Large-scale computer simulations are the primary research tool for understanding how this complexity emerged from the remarkably simple initial conditions seen in microwave background maps.

MPA scientists are active in all aspects of such simulations, developing the numerical codes, deploying them on the largest available supercomputers, and using the results to interpret observational data on galaxies, galaxy clusters and large-scale structure.  We are interested in understanding how the nature of dark matter and dark energy may be reflected in the nonlinear structure of galaxies and their dark halos, as well as in modelling the astrophysical processes, radiative, chemical and dynamical, which shape galaxies and regulate their interaction with the intergalactic material which surrounds them.

Numerical approaches are applied at MPA to study the dynamics of dark matter from subatomic to cosmological scales, to investigate how star and black hole formation influences both the structure of individual galaxies and the systematic properties of the population, to interpret strong and weak gravitational lensing data in terms of galaxy and dark matter structure, to follow how the first stars and galaxies form and how they reionise the universe, and to clarify how the circum- and intergalactic gas which contains more than 80% of all cosmic baryons is structured by interaction with the galaxies.

People

is interested in the formation of the first structures and the reionisation of the universe. She is the project leader at MPA for LOFAR and is particularly involved in its studies of the Epoch of Reionisation.

Benedetta Ciardi

is interested in the formation of the first structures and the reionisation of the universe. She is the project leader at MPA for LOFAR and is particularly involved in its studies of the Epoch of Reionisation.

simulates the formation of individual galaxies and their interstellar medium and is particularly interested in improving the numerical represention of the complex processes driving galaxy-scale feedback from star formation and AGN activity.

Thorsten Naab

simulates the formation of individual galaxies and their interstellar medium and is particularly interested in improving the numerical represention of the complex processes driving galaxy-scale feedback from star formation and AGN activity.

is interested in cosmic large-scale structure and how it can be used to test general relativity and probe the properties of dark matter, dark energy and inflationary structure generation.

Fabian Schmidt

is interested in cosmic large-scale structure and how it can be used to test general relativity and probe the properties of dark matter, dark energy and inflationary structure generation.

uses precise numerical modelling of strong gravitational lensing by galaxies and galaxy clusters to constrain nonlinear structure on small scales and hence the nature of dark matter.

Simona Vegetti

uses precise numerical modelling of strong gravitational lensing by galaxies and galaxy clusters to constrain nonlinear structure on small scales and hence the nature of dark matter.

is interested in the detailed structure of the dark matter distribution, and in understanding how the physical processes regulating galaxy formation are reflected in the scaling relations, clustering and evolution of the galaxy population.

Simon White

is interested in the detailed structure of the dark matter distribution, and in understanding how the physical processes regulating galaxy formation are reflected in the scaling relations, clustering and evolution of the galaxy population.

Projects/Collaborations

The Virgo Supercomputing Consortium is an international collaboration dedicated to high-end simulations of the formation of galaxies, galaxy clusters and the cosmic large-scale structure.

LOFAR is an international low-frequency radio-telescope array, based in the Netherlands, for which MPA built and operates a remote station about 40km north of the institute.

ATLAS-3D is a survey of kinematic and metallicity structures within a representative sample of nearby early-type galaxies. MPA provided the simulations used to interpret the observations.

SILCC is a collaborative project to carry out supercomputer simulations of star-formation and feedback processes within a representative region of the interstellar medium of a typical star-forming galaxy.

Galformod was an ERC-funded project to create new modelling tools that can simulate the evolution of the galaxy population in all viable cosmologies and under a wide variety of assumptions about the governing physical processes. These and a variety of databases, including the Millennium Run Observatory, are available from the Galformod site.

EAGLE is a project of the Virgo Consortium which carries out and interprets large hydrodynamic simulations of the formation of the galaxy population in cosmologically representative volumes.

 
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