<span><span><span><span><span><span>Black-hole binary tests supernova theory</span></span></span></span></span></span>

Observations of a newly discovered binary star system combined with advanced models of stellar collapse have provided key insights into the formation of stellar mass black holes. A team of international researchers at the Max Planck Institute for Astrophysics and the Niels Bohr Institute (NBI), University of Copenhagen, conclude that massive black holes can form without a bright supernova explosion. The energy from the collapse is carried away mainly by lightweight neutrino particles with only small asymmetry, leading to a small natal kick for the black hole. more

<span><span><span><span>Full STEAM ahead for astronomy in Uganda! </span></span></span></span>

End of April, the STEAM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Agriculture, and Mathematics) festival took place at Kyambogo University in Uganda. One of the highlights: the mobile planetarium set up by Benard Nsamba, head of the MPA partner group and Branco Weiss fellow. more

<span><span><span><span>Unveiling the Universe at the field level</span></span></span></span>

The distribution of galaxies on large, cosmological scales holds important clues on the nature of dark matter, the properties of dark energy and the origin of our Universe. Yet, optimally retrieving this information from observations is challenging. MPA researchers are developing a novel analysis approach, where they follow the evolution of cosmic structures through their entire formation history. Enabling a very detailed comparison between theoretical models and observational data, this approach will allow measuring key parameters of dark matter and dark energy very precisely. more

Probing Cold Gas with the Resonance Doublet of Singly Ionized Magnesium<br /> 

Traditional studies of the gas around galaxies rely in particular on absorption and emission features of neutral hydrogen, the simplest and most abundant element in the universe. MPA researchers have now investigated alternative tracers, in particular the resonance doublet of singly ionized magnesium and found that analyzing this emission can lead to significant advances in studying the circum-galactic medium. They showed the potential of the magnesium doublet as an alternative to Lyman-alpha emission through a new radiative transfer code and suggest that the magnesium doublet ratio could even be used as a tracer of the Lyman-continuum escape. more

<span><span><span>Biermann lectures 2024: Galaxies and Intergalactic Matter at Cosmic “Late Morning”</span></span></span>

By Charles (Chuck) Steidel, California Institute of Technology (Caltech) in Pasadena, California more

A new spin on Betelgeuse’s boiling surface

Betelgeuse is a well-known red supergiant star in the constellation Orion. Recently it has gained a lot of attention, not only because variations in its brightness led  to speculations that  an explosion might be imminent, but also because observations indicated that it’s rotating much faster than expected. This latter interpretation is now put into question by an international team led by astronomers at Max Planck Institute for Astrophysics, who propose that Betelgeuse’s boiling surface can be mistaken for rotation even in the most advanced telescopes. Other astronomers are actively analyzing new observational data to test such hypotheses. more

What happens when a star approaches a black hole?

In dense stellar environments, interactions between stars and stellar-mass black holes should occur frequently. Through hydrodynamical simulations, researchers at MPA have explored how stars are disrupted in such encounters, varying key parameters such as stellar and black hole masses, stellar age, and approach distance. The study quantifies the impact of these initial parameters on stellar remnants' masses, spins, and trajectories, offering insights into cluster dynamics and providing best-fit formulae for post-disruption parameters. more

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