Spirals, waves and gliding along

While concerned with massive objects such as neutron stars and black holes in her work, Martyna Chruslinska loves the lightweight feeling of figure skating in her spare time. more

Most energetic stellar collisions in the Universe

In dense stellar environments, stars can collide. If there is a massive black hole nearby – at the centre of galaxies – these collisions can be so energetic that the two stars are completely destroyed upon collision, leaving behind an expanding gas cloud. While the collision itself can generate a very luminous flare for several days, there might be an even brighter flare that can last up to many months, as the gas cloud is captured by the nearby black hole. A research team led by MPA has estimated the observables of such powerful events for the first time using the two state-of-the-art codes AREPO and MESA, developed at MPA. more

What happens when you put a star inside a star?

Throwing one star into another into another star does not bode well for either star. However, given the right conditions and the right types of stars this can lead to the stars merging and forming one single object. If one of the stars is a neutron star (the dense stellar remnant after a supernovae) it can sink to the center of the other star replacing that star’s core. Such objects are called Thorne-Żytkow objects (TŻOs) as they where first proposed by Kip Thorne and Anne Żytkow. Now an international team of astrophysicists led by the Max Planck Institute for Astrophysics (MPA) has re-evaluated what these TŻOs look like and whether we can find them. more

Laura Herold receives Kippenhahn Prize 2023

The award panel unanimously decided to bestow the 2023 Rudolf Kippenhahn Award on Dr. Laura Herold for her groundbreaking paper titled “New Constraint on Early Dark Energy from Planck and BOSS data using the Profile Likelihood”. Her contributions have already been very impactful in the field. more

Looking for cracks in the standard cosmological model

New computer simulations follow the formation of galaxies and the cosmic large-scale structure with unprecedented statistical precision more

Effects of Neutrino Fast Flavor Conversions on Core-Collapse Supernovae

Neutrinos are the driving factor for core-collapse supernovae, the violent death of massive stars. According to the neutrino-driven mechanism they are responsible for transferring energy from the hot proto-neutron star (PNS) to the surrounding material. So far, numerical simulations assumed that neutrinos retain their flavor during propagation. Max Planck researchers have now shown that allowing for flavor conversions has a direct influence on the supernova dynamics. more

200 years-old flare of Sagittarius A* confirmed by X-ray polarization measurements

Thirty years ago, astronomers realized that the X-ray emission from giant molecular clouds might in fact be the reflection of a powerful flare from the supermassive black hole Sagittarius A* at the center of our Milky Way that happened a few hundred years ago. Theory predicts several unique features of such X-ray emission, including a hard spectrum with a bright iron fluorescent line, apparent superluminal motions, and polarization of the continuum. All but polarization had been detected over the past 30 years by many X-ray observatories. X-ray polarization was lagging behind for a good reason – there were no X-ray polarimetric missions sensitive enough to address this problem. Until recently… more

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