Probing Cold Gas with the Resonance Doublet of Singly Ionized Magnesium<br /> 

Traditional studies of the gas around galaxies rely in particular on absorption and emission features of neutral hydrogen, the simplest and most abundant element in the universe. MPA researchers have now investigated alternative tracers, in particular the resonance doublet of singly ionized magnesium and found that analyzing this emission can lead to significant advances in studying the circum-galactic medium. They showed the potential of the magnesium doublet as an alternative to Lyman-alpha emission through a new radiative transfer code and suggest that the magnesium doublet ratio could even be used as a tracer of the Lyman-continuum escape. more

<span><span><span>Biermann lectures 2024: Galaxies and Intergalactic Matter at Cosmic “Late Morning”</span></span></span>

By Charles (Chuck) Steidel, California Institute of Technology (Caltech) in Pasadena, California more

A new spin on Betelgeuse’s boiling surface

Betelgeuse is a well-known red supergiant star in the constellation Orion. Recently it has gained a lot of attention, not only because variations in its brightness led  to speculations that  an explosion might be imminent, but also because observations indicated that it’s rotating much faster than expected. This latter interpretation is now put into question by an international team led by astronomers at Max Planck Institute for Astrophysics, who propose that Betelgeuse’s boiling surface can be mistaken for rotation even in the most advanced telescopes. Other astronomers are actively analyzing new observational data to test such hypotheses. more

What happens when a star approaches a black hole?

In dense stellar environments, interactions between stars and stellar-mass black holes should occur frequently. Through hydrodynamical simulations, researchers at MPA have explored how stars are disrupted in such encounters, varying key parameters such as stellar and black hole masses, stellar age, and approach distance. The study quantifies the impact of these initial parameters on stellar remnants' masses, spins, and trajectories, offering insights into cluster dynamics and providing best-fit formulae for post-disruption parameters. more

ESA gives go-ahead for flagship gravitational-wave observatory in space

LISA, the Laser Interferometer Space Antenna, has passed a major review with flying colours: the entire concept – from the definition of the overall mission and operations to the space hardware to be built – stood up to the intense scrutiny of ESA´s reviewers. Now the space agency´s Science Programme Committee (SPC) has confirmed that LISA is sufficiently mature and that mission development can proceed as planned. LISA should go into orbit in the mid-2030s. more

What happens if you put a black hole into the Sun?

In a hypothetical scenario, small, primordial black holes could be captured by newly forming stars. An international team, led by researchers at the Max Planck Institute for Astrophysics, has now modelled the evolution of these so-called “Hawking stars” and found that they can have surprisingly long lifetimes, resembling normal stars in many aspects. Asteroseismology could help to identify such stars, which in turn could test the existence of primordial black holes and their role as a component for dark matter. more

Our Neighborhood in the Milky Way in 3D

High-resolution three-dimensional maps of the Milky Way have previously been limited to the immediate vicinity of the Sun. In a collaboration led by the Max Planck Institute for Astrophysics with researchers from Harvard, the Space Telescope Science Institute, and the University of Toronto, we were now able to build a high-resolution map of the Milky Way in 3D out to more than 4,000 light-years. The produced 3D map will be highly useful for a wide range of applications from star formation to cosmological foreground correction. more

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