Some of the most energetic radiation that reaches Earth comes from an exploded star in our Galaxy. An international team of researchers was now able to measure the distance to this object using an adjacent dust cloud with much higher degree of precision than ever before. This is the first step in better understanding the energetic processes that are going onin this supernova remnant. more

During the COSPAR 2020 Scientific Assembly, MPA postdoc Ildar Khabibullin received the Yakov Zeldovich Medal for his “major contribution to deciphering the historical high energy activity of the supermassive black hole Sgr A* in the center of our Galaxy and insights into the physical processes of galactic collapsed objects”. This award, jointly established by the Russian Academy of Sciences and the Committee on Space Research (COSPAR), recognises young scientists for excellence and achievements facilitated with the help of space observatories. more

Magnetic fields are ubiquitous in the Universe today, from stars to clusters of galaxies. Their origin, however, remains a mystery. MPA researchers have now simulated in great detail a variety of proposed mechanisms for magnetogenesis – i.e. how magnetic fields might be created – in high-redshift galaxies. They also studied their impact on the formation and evolution of galaxies, providing guidance to both future observations and simulations. Their work demonstrates that high-redshift galaxies may hold the key to understanding the origin of cosmic magnetic fields. It also provides the first-ever investigation on galactic scales of a novel magnetogenesis mechanism. more

The Max Planck Society awards the Otto Hahn Medal 2021 to MPA junior scientist Christian Vogl for his excellent Dissertation. The prize is awarded for investigations of measuring today's expansion rate of the Universe with supernovae using a new and independent method that does not rely on other calibrations. His thesis at the Technische Universität München received the highest possible mark, summa cum laude. more

Intermediate mass black holes (IMBH) should be linking observed stellar black holes and supermassive black holes, but their formation mechanisms are still debated. Young and dense massive star clusters are promising environments for the formation of such black holes through collisions. An international team lead by MPA researchers has presented novel realistic simulations of star clusters, where these missing links form by rapid collisions of stars and black holes. The study also predicts an IMBH formation channel by the merging of black holes in a mass regime, which is excluded by stellar evolution models. In this “mass gap” a black hole merger has indeed been observed recently by the LIGO/Virgo gravitational wave collaboration. more

Where are the baryons? This question naturally arises as the predicted abundance of baryons in the universe - the basic building blocks of all elements in the periodic table – do not agree with observations of the intergalactic medium. Locating the missing baryons will help us to not only better understand the formation and evolution of galaxies, but also to better constrain possible extensions of the current standard model of cosmology. MPA researchers have turned to a novel approach in modelling the galaxy distribution to optimize measurements of the kinematic Sunyaev-Zel'dovich effect, an emerging tool to probe the distribution of baryons in galaxy clusters. more

The Max Planck Society has appointed Simona Vegetti at MPA to head a Lise Meitner Excellence Group. Simona Vegetti will use strong gravitational lensing observations to measure the abundance and structural properties of dark matter haloes and thereby provide clean observational constraints on the nature of dark matter. As part of the programme, the group is endowed with an internationally competitive budget for material and human resources. more

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