MPA News 2020

<p>Leibniz Prize 2021 for Volker Springel</p>

The German Research Foundation DFG announced today that Volker Springel, Director at the Max Planck Institute for Astrophysics, will receive the most important research award in Germany: together with nine other scientists, he will receive the Gottfried Wilhelm Leibniz Prize 2021 for his ground-breaking work in the field of numerical astrophysics. more

<p>HETDEX Project On Track to Probe Dark Energy</p>

Three years into its quest to reveal the nature of dark energy, the Hobby-Eberly Telescope Dark Energy Experiment (HETDEX) is on track to complete the largest map of the cosmos ever. The team will create a three-dimensional map of 2.5 million galaxies that will help astronomers understand how and why the expansion of the universe is speeding up over time. Scientists in Munich and Garching have contributed to the design of the survey strategy, planning and execution as well as developing key software and data management tools for the cosmology data analysis. more

A hint of new physics in polarized radiation from the early Universe

Using Planck data from the cosmic microwave background radiation, an international team of researchers has observed a hint of new physics. The team developed a new method to measure the polarization angle of the ancient light by calibrating it with dust emission from our own Milky Way. While the signal is not detected with enough precision to draw definite conclusions, it may suggest that dark matter or dark energy causes a violation of the so-called “parity symmetry”. more

<p style="margin-bottom: 0cm; line-height: 100%;">Rudolf Kippenhahn (24.5.1926 – 15.11.2020)</p>

Emeritus Scientific Member and former Director of the Max Planck Institute for Astrophysics more

<p>Taking the temperature of the Universe</p>

How hot is the Universe today? How hot was it before? A new study, which has been published in the Astrophysical Journal, suggests that the mean temperature of gas in large structures of the Universe has increased ten times over the last 10 billion years, to reach about 2 million Kelvin today. more

<p>Indian National Science Academy welcomes Rashid Sunyaev as a new member</p>

The Indian National Science Academy (INSA) has announced the election of 39 new Academy members and five foreign fellows. One of the newly elected foreign fellows of INSA is Rashid Sunyaev, director emeritus at the Max Planck Institute for Astrophysics. more

Kippenhahn Prize for two supernova papers

The best student publications at MPA in 2019 are two supernova papers: Andeas Flörs is awarded with the Rudolf-Kippenhahn-Prize for his paper entitled “Sub- Chandrasekhar progenitors favoured for Type Ia supernovae: evidence from late-time spectroscopy” and Simon Huber for his paper on “Strongly lensed SNe Ia in the era of LSST: observing cadence for lens discoveries and time-delay measurements”. more

<p>Navarro, Frenk & White named Clarivate Citation Laureates for 2020</p>

Carlos S. Frenk, Julio F. Navarro and Simon D.M. White have been named Clarivate Citation Laureates for 2020 for their fundamental studies of galaxy formation and evolution, cosmic structure, and dark matter halos. The theoretical astrophysicists are among 24 new Citation Laureates with significant contributions in one of the four Nobel Prize areas named this year. more

<p>Bessel award winner Dragan Huterer at MPA</p>

Prof. Dragan Huterer currently is spending his sabbatical from the University of Michigan in the cosmology group at MPA. Funded through the Friedrich Wilhelm Bessel Research Award of the Humboldt Foundation, he hopes to find new inspiration for studying the expansion history of the universe as well as having the time to write a cosmology textbook. more

Zooming in on Dark Matter

Zooming in on Dark Matter

September 02, 2020

Computer simulation reveals similar structures for large and small dark matter halos more

<p>Astronomers find most distant Milky Way look-alike with gravitational lensing</p>

Astronomers at the Max Planck Institute for Astrophysics, using the Atacama Large Millimeter/submillimeter Array (ALMA), have revealed an extremely distant and therefore very young galaxy that looks surprisingly like our Milky Way. The galaxy is so far away its light has taken more than 12 billion years to reach us: we see it as it was when the Universe was just 1.4 billion years old. It is also surprisingly unchaotic, contradicting theories that all galaxies in the early Universe were turbulent and unstable. This unexpected discovery challenges our understanding of how galaxies form, giving new insights into the past of our Universe. more

<p>ALMA finds possible sign of neutron star in Supernova 1987A</p>

Two teams of astronomers have made a compelling case in the 33-year-old mystery surrounding Supernova 1987A. Based on observations with ALMA and a theoretical follow-up study, the scientists provide new insight for the argument that a neutron star is hiding deep inside the remains of the exploded star. This would be the youngest neutron star in our cosmic neighbourhood known to date. more

<p>Holy cow! Sherry Suyu to receive 2021 Berkeley Prize</p>

Astrophysicist Sherry H. Suyu will receive the 2021 Lancelot M. Berkeley–New York Community Trust Prize for Meritorious Work in Astronomy. Bestowed annually since 2011 by the American Astronomical Society (AAS) and supported by a grant from the New York Community Trust, the Berkeley prize includes a monetary award and an invitation to give the closing plenary lecture at the AAS winter meeting, the “Super Bowl of Astronomy.” The 237th AAS meeting will be held virtually from 11 to 15 January 2021. more

<p>A million sources and the Milky Way on the X-ray map of the entire sky</p>

eROSITA telescope aboard SRG observatory completed its first all-sky survey more

<p>Otto Hahn Medal for Jens Stücker</p>

During its general meeting, the Max Planck Society announced that former MPA PhD student Jens Stücker receives one of the Otto Hahn Medals this year. The prize is awarded for numerical investigations of the dark matter phase-space structure in the smallest halos, thereby allowing to better distinguish between Warm and Cold Dark Matter. more

<p>Volker Springel and Lars Hernquist receive Gruber Cosmology Prize</p>

On 6 May 2020, the Gruber Foundation announced that Volker Springel, managing director at the Max Planck Institute for Astrophysics, receives the 2020 Gruber Cosmology Prize along with Lars Hernquist, Center for Astrophysics | Harvard & Smithsonian, for their defining contributions to cosmological simulations. This method tests existing theories of, and inspires new investigations into the formation of structures at every scale from stars to galaxies to the universe itself. The award recognizes their transformative work on structure formation in the universe, and development of numerical algorithms and community codes further used by many other researchers to significantly advance the field. more

Volker Springel elected Foreign Member of the US NAS

On 27 April 2020, the US National Academy of Sciences announced that MPA managing director Volker Springel is among the 26 newly elected international members in recognition of his distinguished and continuing achievements in original research. Membership is a widely accepted mark of excellence in science, especially as the "bar" for electing Foreign Associates is supposed to be quite high, particularly for well-represented countries such as Germany. more

SRG observatory completes X-ray map of half the sky

X-ray astronomers and astrophysicists in Russia and Germany working from their home offices with the Spectrum RG orbital observatory have reached an important milestone – the ART XC and eROSITA telescopes aboard Spectrum RG completed a map of half of the sky. more

A new theory of magnetar formation

Magnetars are neutron stars endowed with the strongest magnetic fields observed in the Universe, but their origin remains controversial. In a study published in Science Advances, a team of scientists from CEA, Saclay,  the Max Planck Institute for Astrophysics (MPA), and the Institut de Physique du Globe de Paris developed a new and unprecedentedly detailed computer model that can explain the genesis of these gigantic fields through the amplification of pre-existing weak fields when rapidly rotating neutron stars are born in collapsing massive stars. The work opens new avenues to understand the most powerful and most luminous explosions of such stars. more

<p>One sixth of the sky with the telescope SRG/eROSITA</p>

A little more than a month has passed since the beginning of the regular all-sky survey of the SRG observatory, moving on a halo orbit around the Sun-Earth Lagrange point L2. The spacecraft is at a distance of one and a half million kilometers from Earth, rotating around an axis directed towards the Sun. Since the start of the scan, the ART-XC and eROSITA telescopes have already covered more than 1/6 of the entire celestial sphere and demonstrated the excellent capabilities of SRG in mapping the X-ray sky. By mid-June 2020, the scientists will have the first map of the entire sky, and after four years, each part of the sky will be covered 8 times, increasing the sensitivity of the survey by a record 20-30 times compared to the existing one by the ROSAT satellite. more

<span id="docs-internal-guid-4000fb48-7fff-ef25-a746-025b6f3067b8">Progress in understanding the brightest explosions in the Universe</span>

Some unidentified features in one of the brightest stellar explosions ever witnessed, SN 2006gy, have now been explained by researchers at the Max Planck Institute for Astrophysics. The spectral lines arise from neutral iron - very unusual for such a high-energy event - and imply that more than a third of a solar mass of this heavy element was created. The dominance of iron in the spectrum rules out several previously proposed scenarios for SN 2006gy and instead opened up the door for a new one. more

Cosmic Magnifying Glasses Yield Independent Measure of Universe's Expansion

New Hubble Constant Measurement Strengthens Discrepancy in Universe's Expansion Rate more

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