In April 2017 the Event Horizon Telescope (EHT) observed the super-massive black hole M87* and provided a first image of its shadow that went around the world. Researchers at the Max Planck Institute for Astrophysics have now reconstructed a video of the immediate surroundings of a black hole from the same underlying data. This not only confirms previous findings, it also hints at new structures and dynamics in the gas disk around the black hole. more

Max Planck Institute for Astrophysics Director Eiichiro Komatsu has been selected as one of the recipients of this year's Inoue Prize for Science. He is recognized for his work to study the physics of the early Universe as a researcher with remarkable achievements in the natural and fundamental sciences. more

There are still many unanswered questions in galaxy formation and evolution, especially on small scales, thinks Max Grönke, who leads the research group “Multiphase Gas” at the Max Planck Institute for Astrophysics since November 1, 2021. more


In the interstellar medium (ISM) of galaxies, stars form in small groups groups of a few hundred and clusters up to several million stars. A full theoretical model of this process and its impact on galaxy evolution is still in its infancy. MPA researches and their collaborators have developed a highly complex numerical model to simulate the multi-phase ISM and how star clusters emerge in dwarf galaxies. The supercomputer simulations show that the properties of the star clusters depend on how efficiently stars can form from the cold dense gas. Detailed post-processing then allowed the researchers to compare their results to observations. This demonstrates the scientific fidelity of the new model, its current limitations, and observational limitations on how well clusters can be detected in regions of high star formation activity. The studies are a major step towards a comprehensive model for star cluster formation. more

By Prof. Victoria Kaspi, McGill University in Montréal, Canada more

The colours and star formation rates of galaxies are strongly correlated with each other out to distances as large as 10 Megaparsecs. However, current galaxy formation models fail to reproduce these large-scale correlations accurately. Scientists from MPA, the University of Surrey, and Heidelberg University are in the process of updating the Munich galaxy formation model, L-GALAXIES, with a sophisticated and accurate method to model environmental effects for all galaxies. The most recent updated model is in significantly better agreement with observations than its predecessors and exhibits a stronger environmental dependency of galaxy properties out to several Megaparsecs from the centers of their dark matter haloes. more

This year’s Kippenhahn Prize goes to Francesca Rizzo for her paper on “A dynamically cold disk galaxy in the early Universe”. The Prize is awarded annually by the Max Planck Institute for Astrophysics for the best student paper that has been published in an established journal. Rizzo made most of the contribution to all aspects of the paper: code development, data analysis, and the interpretation and writing of the surprising results. more

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