News at MPA

The record sensitivity of the X-ray survey performed by the Spektrum-Roentgen-Gamma Observatory makes it possible to discover very rare and unusual X-ray sources. After the recently completed third all-sky survey, astronomers identified a gigantic, “round” object, named G116.6-26.1, with an angular size of 8 times the Moon or a physical size of truly astounding 600-700 light-years. The authors of the discovery believe this to be the remnant of a thermonuclear supernova, which exploded some 40,000 years ago. The source is located high above the plane of our Galaxy, most likely in the hot, low density gas of the Milky Way halo. Such an unusual environment makes the remnant almost ten times brighter in X-rays than naive models would predict. This and similar remnants (if more are to be found) open a new way of probing the elusive hot gaseous halo of our Galaxy. more

Benard Nsamba receives prestigious fellowship to study stars and inspire Ugandan students more

The Spektrum-Roentgen-Gamma (SRG) orbital X-ray observatory receives the Award “for the creation of the world's best X-ray map of the entire sky, for the discovery of millions of previously unknown accreting supermassive black holes at cosmological redshifts, for the detection of X-rays from tens of thousands of galaxy clusters, filled mainly with dark matter, and for permitting the detailed investigation of the growth of the large- scale structure of the universe during the era of dark energy dominance”. more

MPA Postdoc Luisa Lucie-Smith has been awarded the RAS Michael Penston 2020 runner up prize for her thesis, ‘Insights into Cosmological Structure Formation with Machine Learning’, which she did at UCL before coming to MPA. The Michael Penston Prize is awarded annually by the Royal Astronomical Society for the best doctoral thesis in astronomy or astrophysics, including astrochemistry, astrobiology and exoplanets. 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

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

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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