MPA News 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

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

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

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

What are the properties of Dark Energy? This question is one of the most intriguing ones in astronomy and scientists are one step closer in answering this question with the largest three-dimensional map of the universe so far: This map contains 1.2 million galaxies in a volume spanning 650 cubic billion light years. Hundreds of scientists from the Sloan Digital Sky Survey III (SDSS-III) – including researchers at the Max Planck Institutes for Extraterrestrial Physics and for Astrophyics - used this map to make one of the most precise measurements yet of dark energy. They found excellent agreement with the standard cosmological model and confirmed that dark energy is highly consistent with a cosmological constant. more

Early July, the two junior MPA researchers Thomas Ertl and Chia-Yu Hu were awarded the Kippenhahn Prize 2015 for the two best scientific papers written by a student: Thomas Ertl for his publication “A two-parameter criterion for classifying the explodability of massive stars by the neutrino-driven mechanism”; Chia-Yu Hu for his paper “Star formation and molecular hydrogen in dwarf galaxies: a nonequilibrium view”. more

A total of ten new members, including Fabian Schmidt of MPA, have been appointed to the Young Academy at the Berlin-Brandenburg Academy of Sciences (BBAW) and the German Academy of Sciences Leopoldina. On 11 June 2016, they were introduced in an official ceremony in Berlin, starting a new phase in the interdisciplinary work of the Young Academy. more

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