Stellar News

Physics against boredom

Physics against boredom

March 03, 2023

Originally a chemist, Taeho Ryu started studying physics, because he was bored during an extended hospital stay. more

Black hole accretion discs may dance around more slowly than previously thought

Black holes, resulting from the death of massive stars, are some of the most exotic and powerful objects in the Universe. Since even light cannot escape these objects, the quasi-periodic signals coming from the gas falling into the black hole serve as a probe to infer a great deal of information about the black hole and its surrounding environment. The most-commonly observed quasi-periodic signal is thought to originate from the wobbling of hot gas around the black hole, like a spinning top. One problem, though, is that inferred size of this (isolated) corona seemed to be inconsistent with estimations from other observables. With our recent, state-of-the-art computer simulations, involving a more realistic geometry of the accretion flow, we demonstrated for the first time, that the presence of a disc around the corona significantly slows down its precession, relieving much of the tension between this model and observations. These results thus have important implications for studies of black hole properties and how black hole systems form and evolve. more

Gravitational wave sources in quadruple-star systems

Massive stars often reside in multiple star systems, therefore it is expected that mergers of their final stages, neutron stars or black holes, contribute significantly to gravitational wave sources. A team at MPA has now studied the evolution of millions of quadruple star systems and estimated that a significant fraction of the black hole – black hole mergers detected by LIGO come from such multiple star systems rather than simple binaries. more

Benard Nsamba appointed head of the MPA partner group<br /> 

The Partner Group of the Max Planck Institute for Astrophysics at Kyambogo University in Uganda will be led by MPA scientist Dr. Benard Nsamba. The Max Planck Society will support the partner group for up to a period of five years with 20,000 Euros every year. With these funds, Dr. Nsamba will build a research group in Astrophysics at Kyambogo University in collaboration with the Max Planck Institute for Astrophysics, covering expenses for travel, workshops, doctoral students and postdocs as well as minor equipment. more

Hans-Thomas Janka receives Karl-Schwarzschild-Medal

Today, the German Astronomical Society announced that Hans-Thomas Janka will receive the Karl Schwarzschild Medal, the most prestigious prize in Germany in the field of astronomy and astrophysics. The medal honours his research on the core-collapse supernova mechanism, explosive nucleosynthesis, and supernova neutrino physics. more

Kippenhahn Prize awarded to Pavan Vynatheya

During this year’s summer barbeque, MPA student Pavan Vynatheya was distinguished with the Kippenhahn Award for his paper on “How Important is Secular Evolution for Black Hole and Neutron Star Mergers in 2+2 and 3+1 Quadruple-star Systems?” more

Peculiar white dwarf mergers

Two types of hot, blue and dense stars that show peculiar characteristics in their composition and vibrations have posed a challenge to astrophysicists for more than a decade. A team of scientists from MPA and La Plata in Argentina, has now been able to explain both types as a product of very similar merger events. In particular, the scientists think that the peculiar hot and blue stars are formed by the merger of two white dwarfs. more

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