MPIA Highlights

Bringing you what's happening at MPIA - from personal news to instrumentation

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Patzer Prize Award 2018

December 04, 2018
On November 30, 2018, the solemn ceremony of the Ernst-Patzer Prize for the promotion of young scientists was held in the auditorium of the Max Planck Institute for Astronomy (MPIA). This year, the awards were given to Michael Hanke (ARI/ZAH), Miriam Keppler (MPIA) und Mattia Sormani(ZAH/ITA). [more]

The Max Planck Institute for Astronomy mourns the loss of Karlheinz Meier

October 29, 2018
The Max Planck Institute for Astronomy (MPIA) is mourning the passing of its long-time chairman of the Board of Trustees, Prof. Dr. Karlheinz Meier, who died unexpectedly on 24 October. [more]
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MPG Trainee Award for Tina Brill

October 18, 2018
Tina Brill, a former trainee in the administration of the MPIA, has been awarded the Trainee Prize of the Max Planck Society (MPG) in 2018. [more]
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Gruber Award for Nestor Espinoza

September 24, 2018
Néstor Espinoza, Postdoc in the Planet- and Star Formation Department of the Max-Planck-Institute for Astronomy (MPIA), has been awarded The Gruber Foundation (TGF) Fellowship for 2018. He is sharing the award with Dary Alexandra Ruiz-Rodriguez of the Rochester Institute of Technology. [more]
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Paola Pinilla receives Sofja Kovalevskaja Award from the Humboldt Foundation

September 21, 2018
As one out of six international research talents, Paola Pinilla will be awarded the prestigious Sofja Kovalevskaja Prize by the Alexander von Humboldt Foundation in November 2018. This will enable the young scientist to set up her own research group at the Max Planck Institute for Astronomy in Heidelberg starting next year. [more]
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Halfway mark for NOEMA

September 20, 2018
Wit a ceremony on Wednesday, the Max Planck Society (MPG) and the Institut de Radioastronomie Millimétrique (IRAM) celebrated the successful completion of the first construction phase of the NOEMA project. The facility is now on its way to become the most powerful radio telescope for millimeter waves in the northern hemisphere. [more]

Awards for MPIA researchers: Otto Hahn Medal for Paul Mollière. EPoS-Poster Award for Asmita Bhandare

June 27, 2018
Paul Mollière has been awarded the renowned Otto Hahn Medal by the Max Planck Society (MPG). The award at the annual meeting of the MPG in Heidelberg honored his comprehensive investigation of the structure of atmospheres of extrasolar planets and the analysis of their spectra. Asmita Bhandare received another award for her poster on star formation at the EPoS conference in Ringberg. [more]
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MPIA scientist awarded renowned Cozzarelli Prize

May 03, 2018
During the weekend, the National Academy of Sciences of the USA presented this year's Cozzarelli Prize in a festive ceremony. Together with their Canadian colleagues Ben Pearce and Ralph Pudritz, Dimitry Semenov and Thomas Henning from the Max Planck Institute for Astronomy (MPIA) were awarded for one of their outstanding publications to explore the origins of life, which appeared in the PNAS Journal in 2017. [more]
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Astronomers map the "chemical DNA" of over 340,000 stars to search for their long-lost siblings

April 18, 2018
The Galactic Archaeology with HERMES (GALAH) consortium today announces its second data release (DR2); the detailed chemical compositions and radial velocities (the motion of the stars relative to Earth) of 340,000 bright stars across the sky. MPIA has played a key role in the challenging data analysis of this unprecedented sample, in collaboration with several Australian universities and the Australian Astronomical Observatory. GALAH DR2 is spearheaded by MPIA PhD student Sven Buder. [more]
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MATISSE sees first light at ESO´s Paranal Observatory in Chile

March 05, 2018
A new remarkable and unique instrument for very high resolution observations – the MATISSE (Multi AperTure mid-Infrared SpectroScopic Experiment) on ESO’s Very Large Telescope Interferometer (VLTI) at the Paranal Observatory has now collected successfully its first data on the night sky to ensure that the new instrument works as expected. This successful story rewards now the twelve years of long and intensive work of dozens of technicians, engineers and scientists in France, Germany, Austria, the Netherlands and at ESO. [more]
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Patzer Prize Award 2017

December 13, 2017
Last Friday, on December 08, 2017, the solemn ceremony of the Ernst-Patzer Prize for the promotion of young scientists was held in the auditorium of the Max Planck Institute for Astronomy (MPIA). This year, the awards were given to Anna-Christina Eilers (MPIA), Daniel Rahner (ZAH/ITA) and Marta Reina-Campos (ZAH/ARI). [more]
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Hunting for Exoplanets - First scientific results from the CARMENES survey

October 26, 2017
CARMENES is a new German-Spanish high-resolution spectrograph operating in both the visible and the infrared wavelength regimes and mounted on the Calar Alto Observatory 3.5m telescope. The main goal of the instrument is it to find Earth-like planets around nearby M-dwarf stars using high-precision stellar radial velocity measurements to reveal the reflex motion of these stars caused by their orbiting planets. [more]
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Zemax Training Course at MPIA

August 03, 2017
01. – 04. August [more]
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A most detailed view into distant stellar nurseries

June 14, 2017
Press release of the University of Bonn with participation of MPIA regarding the VLA-COSMOS 3 GHz project [more]
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Making sense of your data: New Bayesian inference book by MPIA staff member

April 27, 2017
Science is fundamentally about learning from data, and doing so in the presence of uncertainty. In this new book, Coryn Bailer-Jones, a staff astronomer at the Max Planck Institute for Astronomy (MPIA), provides an introduction to the major concepts of probability and statistics and to the computational tools needed to analyse and interpret data. [more]
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Pan-STARRS releases catalogue of 3 billion astronomical sources

December 19, 2016
The Pan-STARRS project, including astronomers at the Max Planck Institutes for Astronomy in Heidelberg and for Extraterrestrial Physics in Garching, is publicly releasing the world’s largest digital sky survey today. The catalogue is based on 4 years of observations of 3/4 of the night sky and provides extensive information on more than 3 billion stars, galaxies and other sources. [more]
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Euclid-Instrument NISP successfully passed Critical Design Review

December 14, 2016
The NISP instrument, currently under development with participation of MPIA for ESA's Euclid cosmology mission, has successfully passed its so-called Critical Design Review by an ESA review board. This affirms that the overall design is deemed sufficiently mature for launch and that now all flight hardware has green light to be built for a delivery of the instrument to ESA in about two years. [more]
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Patzer Prize 2016

November 30, 2016
Last Friday, on November 25, 2016, the solemn ceremony of the Ernst-Patzer Prize for the promotion of young scientists was held in the auditorium of the Max Planck Institute for Astronomy (MPIA). This year, the awards were given to Adriana Pohl, Sara Rezaeikhoshbakhat and Richard Teague. [more]
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Double award from the MPG: Prize for the MPIA Mechanical Workshop / Trainee Prize for Lukas Reichert

October 20, 2016
After 2014, the mechanical engineering workshop of MPIA was once again awarded this year by the Max Planck Society (MPG) with the prize for special commitments to vocational training. Furthermore, Lukas Reichert has received the trainee's award for his outstanding achievements in vocational training. [more]
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Eva Schinnerer awarded with 2.5 Mio Euro ERC Advanced Grant

October 18, 2016
Eva Schinnerer, scientist in the Galaxies and Cosmology Department of MPIA, has been awarded with a 2.495 Mio EURO ERC Advanced Grant for her project "The physics of star formation and its regulation". Observations with the Atacama Large Millimeter Array (ALMA) will play an important role in the project. [more]
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Dieter Rampacher Prize for Michael Maseda

September 28, 2016
The Max Planck Society (MPG) has awarded Michael Maseda the Dieter-Rampacher-Prize. Yearly, the MPG honors with this prize the youngest successful PhD-Student of the former year within the Max-Planck-Society (in this case of 2015). [more]
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Reimar-Lüst-Fellowship for Adriana Pohl

September 27, 2016
Adriana Pohl has been awarded with the Reimar-Lüst-Fellowship by the Max-Planck-Society (MPG). She receives a two year funding for her research project. [more]
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Otto Hahn Medal for Eduardo Banados

September 16, 2016
Dr. Eduardo Enrique Bañados Torres has been awarded with the Otto Hahn Medal from the Max Planck Society (MPG). With the ceremony during the annual meeting of the MPG, the society recognized his work for the understanding of quasars in the early universe. [more]
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Ludwig Biermann-Prize of the German Astronomical Society (AG) for Karin Lind

June 30, 2016
This  year,  the  Ludwig  Biermann  Prize  of  the  German  Astronomical  Society  (AG)  will  be awarded to Dr. Karin Lind from the Max Planck Institute for Astronomy (MPIA) in Heidelberg. [more]

Successful first galactic center observation with new instrument GRAVITY targets stars around black hole

June 23, 2016
Another first for the new instrument GRAVITY: Observations of the direct neighborhood of our galaxy's central black hole in unprecedented detail show GRAVITY living up to its promises. The instrument made these observations by combining light from all four 8 meter telescopes that comprise ESO's Very Large Telescope into a virtual telescope with the same eye for detail as a 130 m telescope. [more]
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Arjen van der Wel awarded with 1.9 Mio Euro ERC Consolidator Grant

April 06, 2016
Arjen van der Wel, scientist in the Galaxies and Cosmology – Department of MPIA, has been awarded with a 1.9 Mio Euro ERC Consolidator Grant. The ERC project is built around the LEGA-C survey - a huge extragalactic observing program at ESO´s Very Large Telescope (VLT) in Chile to study galaxy evolution. The grant will allow the implementation of a working group consisting of the group leader, two postdocs and two PhD students.                                                                              [more]
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First wavefront sensor for GRAVITY installed at Paranal Observatory

March 29, 2016
The first out of four wavefront sensors for the GRAVITY instrument has been successfully installed at the ESO Paranal Observatory in Chile. GRAVITY is a 2nd generation near-infrared instrument for the Very Large Telescope Interferometer (VLTI) that will combine the light of the four 8.2m-telescopes to achieve a much higher resolution than it would be possible with a single telescope. Alternatively, GRAVITY can also combine the light of the four smaller 1.8m auxiliary telescopes. [more]
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Thomas Henning appointed as Adjunct Professor at the Tata Institute of Fundamental Research

February 16, 2016
Thomas Henning, Managing Director of the Max Planck Institute of Astronomy (MPIA) and Head of its Planet and Star Formation Department has been appointed Adjunct Professor at the Tata Institute of Fundamental Research in India. [more]

Discovery of the First Quasar Quartet Ranked Among the Top 5 Space Stories of 2015

February 12, 2016
Published in May 2015, the discovery of the first Quasar Quartet by a team of astronomers led by Joe Hennawi from MPIA was ranked number four in Astronomy Magazine’s top 10 Space Stories of 2015. [more]
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First Light for GRAVITY!

January 13, 2016
A new astronomical high-tech instrument called GRAVITY has been successfully tested at Paranal Observatory of the European Southern Observatory (ESO) in Chile. It combines the light from several telescopes in order to visualize the finest details of celestial objects. Among the most important tasks of the instrument are observations of the immediate environment of the supermassive black hole at the center of our Milky Way, of exoplanet motions, or of structures within the disks of emerging new solar systems. The instrument working in infrared light was built with participation of the Max Planck Institute for Astronomy (MPIA) in Heidelberg. [more]
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First Successful Tests of New Planet Hunter "CARMENES"

December 17, 2015
CARMENES, an outstanding novel astronomical instrument, which has been designed to look for Earth-like planets, has successfully passed first “on-sky” tests at the telescope. Scientists and engineers of the Max-Planck-Institute for Astronomy have participated in the design and construction of the new “planet hunter”. [more]
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Prof. Dr. Oliver Trapp appointed as MPG-Fellow at the Max Planck Institute for Astronomy (MPIA)

December 16, 2015
On December 1, 2015, Prof. Dr. Oliver Trapp from the Institute of Organic Chemistry of the University of Heidelberg was appointed as MPG-Fellow at the Max Planck Institute for Astronomy (MPIA). With its fellowship program, the Max Planck Society (MPG) promotes the collaboration with excellent scientists from outside the Max Planck Institutes. [more]
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Patzer Prize award 2015

December 03, 2015
Last Friday, on November 27, 2015, the solemn ceremony of the Ernst-Patzer Prize for the promotion of young scientists was held in the auditorium of the Max Planck Institute for Astronomy (MPIA). This year, the awards were given to Simon Bihr, Melissa Ness und Jonathan Stern. [more]
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Tandem Agreement with Valparaiso University Signed

October 20, 2015
Recently, an agreement was signed between the Max Planck Institute for Astronomy (MPIA) and the Department of Physics and Astronomy (IFA) of the University of Valparaiso (UV), Chile, to set up the first Tandem-Group in the field of Astronomy in Chile. [more]
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Kick-off for the E-ELT-Camera MICADO: a new era of precision astronomy

October 07, 2015
Start of the Preliminary Design Phase for the MICADO camera for the E-ELT [more]
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The METIS Instrument for the E-ELT: Agreement for development signed

September 28, 2015
METIS, an infrared camera and spectrograph, will be one of the First-Light-Instruments for the future European Extremely Large Telescope (E-ELT) – the largest telescope ever built. On September 28, 2015, the agreement to develop and build METIS has been signed in Leiden between the European Southern Observatory (ESO) and the METIS consortium, in which the Max-Planck-Institute for Astronomy (MPIA) is the second largest partner. [more]

Science goes public with a colourful look at the stars: Film project by Heidelberg astronomers released

September 28, 2015
"See the universe as astronomers do" - a project by astronomers and professional filmmakers, who had set out earlier this year to bring the most exciting recent discoveries about stars directly to the public, has now released the resulting film [more]

Jouni Kainulainen awarded with 1.3 Mio Euro by ERC Starting Grant

September 11, 2015
Jouni Kainulainen, scientist in the MPIA Department “Planet and Star Formation”, has been awarded with 1.3 Mio EURO by an ERC Starting Grant scheme. The Grant will allow the implementation of a working group during the next five years, consisting of the group leader, two postdocs and one PhD student. The main goal of the project is to explore how the fundamental physical processes (gravity, turbulence and magnetic fields) regulate the formation of new stars in our home galaxy, the Milky Way. [more]
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First Flight for LINC-NIRVANA – Dismantling and Fit Checks

August 11, 2015
With a number of essential preparatory tests for the handling and shipping of LINC-NIRVANA the MPIA has seen exciting four days last week. After the dismantling and a number of essential preparatory tests for the handling and shipping a real highlight was the first "flight" of the instrument structure on a huge crane at an airy height. [more]
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A sharp look on NGC 6384 using ARGOS and LUCI at the LBT

May 19, 2015
During further test observations for implementing the Laser Guide Star System ARGOS at the Large Binocular Telescope, the instrument-team made an impressive image of the galaxy NGC 6384 at a distance of 80 million light years. [more]
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LINC-NIRVANA Passes Important Milestone on its Way to LBT

May 18, 2015
Upon successful completion of its "Preliminary Acceptance Europe" (PAE), LINC-NIRVANA has crossed its final hurdle before delivery to the Large Binocular Telescope (LBT) in Arizona. [more]

The Large Binocular Telescope observes volcano on Jupiter's moon Io

April 30, 2015
With the first detailed observations through imaging interferometry of a lava lake on a moon of Jupiter, the Large Binocular Telescope places itself as the forerunner of the next generation of Extremely Large Telescopes. [more]

Klaus Tschira 1940-2015

March 31, 2015
Long-time MPIA trustee and benefactor passes away in Heidelberg [more]

Heidelberg Origins of Life Initiative (HIFOL) established – New Colloquium Series starts

March 20, 2015
The Max-Planck-Institute for Astronomy (MPIA), together with the Max-Planck-Institute for Nuclear Physics (MPIK), the Heidelberg Institute for Theoretical Studies (HITS) and the University of Heidelberg, has just established HIFOL - the new Heidelberg Initiative for the Origins of Life. HIFOL brings together top researchers from astrophysics, geosciences, chemistry, and life sciences to foster, strengthen and bundle scientific efforts to unravel one of the most challenging mysteries in the universe: what are the conditions for the origin of life? [more]

Henrik Beuther awarded with 1.6 Mio Euro by ERC Research Grant

March 04, 2015
Henrik Beuther, scientist in the Planet and Star Formation – Department of MPIA, has been awarded with 1.6 Mio EURO by an ERC Research Grant. The ERC project is build around two large observing programs at two of the most advanced interferometers, and it is designed to study the full cycle of cloud formation, star formation and finally feedback to the interstellar medium. The Grant will allow the implementation of a working group consisting of three postdocs and one PhD student during the next five years. [more]

Image of cosmic web named one of top 10 physics breakthroughs of 2014

December 19, 2014
In January, researchers from the University of California at Santa Cruz and the Max Planck Institute for Astronomy released the first image of the filamentary distribution of matter in intergalactic space – the cosmic web. Now, their discovery has been named as one of the top 10 physics breakthroughs of 2014 by Physics World, the magazine published by the Institute of Physics (IOP). The top-10 breakthroughs were chosen by a panel of six Physics World editors and reporters. Criteria included fundamental importance of research, significant advance in knowledge, a strong connection between theory and experiment, and general interest to all physicists. [more]
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