News at MPA

The Max Planck scientist shares the $500,000 award with Lars Hernquist more

On 6 May 2020, the Gruber Foundation announced that Volker Springel, managing director at the Max Planck Institute for Astrophysics, receives the 2020 Gruber Cosmology Prize along with Lars Hernquist, Center for Astrophysics | Harvard & Smithsonian, for their defining contributions to cosmological simulations. This method tests existing theories of, and inspires new investigations into the formation of structures at every scale from stars to galaxies to the universe itself. The award recognizes their transformative work on structure formation in the universe, and development of numerical algorithms and community codes further used by many other researchers to significantly advance the field. more

On 27 April 2020, the US National Academy of Sciences announced that MPA managing director Volker Springel is among the 26 newly elected international members in recognition of his distinguished and continuing achievements in original research. Membership is a widely accepted mark of excellence in science, especially as the "bar" for electing Foreign Associates is supposed to be quite high, particularly for well-represented countries such as Germany. more

X-ray astronomers and astrophysicists in Russia and Germany working from their home offices with the Spectrum RG orbital observatory have reached an important milestone – the ART XC and eROSITA telescopes aboard Spectrum RG completed a map of half of the sky. more

Reimar Lüst, former Max Planck President and pioneer of European space research, has died more

Magnetars are neutron stars endowed with the strongest magnetic fields observed in the Universe, but their origin remains controversial. In a study published in Science Advances, a team of scientists from CEA, Saclay,  the Max Planck Institute for Astrophysics (MPA), and the Institut de Physique du Globe de Paris developed a new and unprecedentedly detailed computer model that can explain the genesis of these gigantic fields through the amplification of pre-existing weak fields when rapidly rotating neutron stars are born in collapsing massive stars. The work opens new avenues to understand the most powerful and most luminous explosions of such stars. more

A little more than a month has passed since the beginning of the regular all-sky survey of the SRG observatory, moving on a halo orbit around the Sun-Earth Lagrange point L2. The spacecraft is at a distance of one and a half million kilometers from Earth, rotating around an axis directed towards the Sun. Since the start of the scan, the ART-XC and eROSITA telescopes have already covered more than 1/6 of the entire celestial sphere and demonstrated the excellent capabilities of SRG in mapping the X-ray sky. By mid-June 2020, the scientists will have the first map of the entire sky, and after four years, each part of the sky will be covered 8 times, increasing the sensitivity of the survey by a record 20-30 times compared to the existing one by the ROSAT satellite. more

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