Dr. Hannelore Hämmerle
Press Officer
Phone:+49 89 30000-3980

MPI for Astrophysics

Press Releases

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Probing the nature of the most luminous explosions

February 15, 2017
Supernovae are extremely bright stellar explosions – superluminous supernovae are even brighter. However, the nature of these most luminous explosions has remained a mystery. In a new study, MPA researchers now present their simulations of superluminous supernova spectra months and even years after the outbreak and show that they are very similar to gamma-ray bursts, another type of highly energetic explosions. In addition, the results point to very high masses of oxygen and magnesium, suggesting very massive progenitor stars that will use an exotic explosion mechanism rather than the standard neutrino-driven explosion believed to power most supernovae. [more]
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Cosmic lenses support finding on faster than expected expansion of the Universe

January 26, 2017
By using galaxies as giant gravitational lenses, an international group of astronomers including researchers at the Max Planck Institute for Astrophysics have made an independent measurement of how fast the Universe is expanding. The newly measured expansion rate for the local Universe is consistent with earlier findings. These are, however, in intriguing disagreement with measurements of the early Universe. This hints at a fundamental problem at the very heart of our understanding of the cosmos. [more]
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Obituary to Heinz Billing

January 10, 2017
A pioneer in the development of electronic computing machines in Germany and one of the founders of gravitational wave astronomy is gone: on 4 January 2017, the astrophysicist Heinz Billing died at the age of 102. Billing was scientific member at the Max Planck Institute for Astrophysics in Garching from 1961 to '82. [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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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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The Sky's Ancient Eye

July 25, 2016
An international team of researchers have discovered an extremely rare “double source plane” gravitational lensing system, in which two distant galaxies are simultaneously lensed by a foreground galaxy, as part of the on-going Subaru Strategic Survey with Hyper Suprime-Cam. The team dubbed the system ‘Eye of Horus’ as the system resembles this ancient Egyptian symbol.  Such a rare system is a unique probe of the fundamental physics of galaxies as well as cosmology. [more]
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