MPA News 2019

Researchers at the Leibniz Institute for Astrophysics in Potsdam (AIP), and the Max Planck Institute for Astrophysics in Garching (MPA), have investigated galactic radio objects that adopt shapes such as Christmas trees and harps. They were able to answer the old question of the transport of cosmic rays. more

The Spectrum-RG observatory, launched from Baikonur on July 13, 2019, now begins with scanning the entire sky. On December 8, the spacecraft moving on a wide orbit around the L2 liberation point at a distance of 1.5 million kilometres started rotating around the axis directed towards the Earth. Both, the ART-XC and eROSITA telescopes began scanning the sky along the big circle on the celestial sphere, thus marking the start of the 4-years long all-sky survey. more

In September 2019 a new Max Planck Research Group started at MPA: Adrian Hamers joined the institute and is currently building up his group to research multiple star systems. Such systems are of high importance in astrophysics, since they may lead to violent astrophysical phenomena such as Type Ia supernovae and gravitational wave events. The main goal is to use both fast and detailed modeling to make statistical predictions for observations of supernovae and gravitational waves. more

The High-Performance Computing Center, Stuttgart (HLRS), has awarded MPA researcher Dylan Nelson and his colleague Annalisa Pillepich at the Max Planck Institute for Astronomy the “Golden Spike Award” for TNG50: a high-resolution simulation of galaxy evolution from the Big Bang to the present day. The Gold Spike award honours the three most excellent projects of that year that have performed computations on the center’s clusters. more

The expansion rate of the Universe today is described by the so-called Hubble constant and different techniques have come to inconsistent results about how fast our Universe actually does expand. An international team led by the Max Planck Institute for Astrophysics (MPA) has now used two gravitational lenses as new tools to calibrate the distances to hundreds of observed supernovae and thus measure a fairly high value for the Hubble constant. While the uncertainty is still relatively large, this is higher than that inferred from the cosmic microwave background. more

The SRG (Spektr-RG) Orbital Observatory has recently started one of its many tests by looking at a small patch of the extragalactic sky with one of the seven eROSITA telescope modules. The results are consistent with preflight expectations. The work on commissioning other modules is still underway and will be completed in the coming weeks before starting a 4-year long all-sky survey later this year. more

The Abdus Salam International Centre for Theoretical Physics in Trieste has awarded its 2019 Dirac Medal and Prize to three physicists whose research has made a profound impact on modern cosmology. Rashid Sunyaev (Max Planck Institute for Astrophysics) shares the prize with Viatcheslav Mukhanov (Ludwig Maximilian University of Munich) and Alexei Starobinsky (Landau Institute for Theoretical Physics) for “their outstanding contributions to the physics of the Cosmic Microwave Background (CMB) with experimentally tested implications that have helped to transform cosmology into a precision scientific discipline by combining microscopic physics with the large scale structure of the Universe.” All three winners have made important contributions to the understanding of the early Universe in the context of inflationary cosmology.

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