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

ESA gives go-ahead for flagship gravitational-wave observatory in space

LISA, the Laser Interferometer Space Antenna, has passed a major review with flying colours: the entire concept – from the definition of the overall mission and operations to the space hardware to be built – stood up to the intense scrutiny of ESA´s reviewers. Now the space agency´s Science Programme Committee (SPC) has confirmed that LISA is sufficiently mature and that mission development can proceed as planned. LISA should go into orbit in the mid-2030s. more

What happens if you put a black hole into the Sun?

In a hypothetical scenario, small, primordial black holes could be captured by newly forming stars. An international team, led by researchers at the Max Planck Institute for Astrophysics, has now modelled the evolution of these so-called “Hawking stars” and found that they can have surprisingly long lifetimes, resembling normal stars in many aspects. Asteroseismology could help to identify such stars, which in turn could test the existence of primordial black holes and their role as a component for dark matter. more

Our Neighborhood in the Milky Way in 3D

High-resolution three-dimensional maps of the Milky Way have previously been limited to the immediate vicinity of the Sun. In a collaboration led by the Max Planck Institute for Astrophysics with researchers from Harvard, the Space Telescope Science Institute, and the University of Toronto, we were now able to build a high-resolution map of the Milky Way in 3D out to more than 4,000 light-years. The produced 3D map will be highly useful for a wide range of applications from star formation to cosmological foreground correction. more

Maria Werhahn honoured with the Carl Ramsauer Prize

MPA postdoc Maria Werhahn has been awarded the Carl Ramsauer Prize by the Physikalische Gesellschaft zu Berlin for her doctoral thesis “Simulating Galaxy Evolution with Cosmic Rays: The Multi-Frequency View”. The award ceremony took place on 22 November 2023 at the Technical University of Berlin, where she also presented her work in a short lecture. more

Magnetic fields in multiphase gas: A turbulent tango

Space is filled with gases of vastly different temperatures and it is important to understand how these interact. A group of scientists at MPA has now looked into the mixing of gases with and without magnetic fields. Surprisingly, they find that the outcome depends on whether turbulence is already present at the beginning. Without turbulence, magnetic fields can suppress the mixing by suppressing turbulence, while if the turbulence is already present, magnetic fields have a marginal effect. more

Volker Springel becomes Vice President of the Astronomical Society

At its 2023 Annual Meeting, the German Astronomical Society elected Volker Springel, Director at the Max Planck Institute for Astrophysics as Vice President. more

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