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Fizeau Investigator Prize for Christoph Leinert

July 23, 2014
Since 2010, Commission 54 (Optical and Infrared Interferometry) of the International Astronomical Union (IAU), the Observatoire de la Cote 'Azur (OCA), and the Mt. Wilson Institute (MWI) are awarding the Fizeau Prize for "outstanding achievement in fundamentals and implementation of optical interferometry". The Fizeau Investigator Prize 2014 is awarded to Christoph Leinert from the Max-Planck-Institute for Astronomy (MPIA) "for his considerable scientific achievements throughout his career, and specifically for his role as Principal Investigator for the MIDI instrument on the Very Large Telescope Interferometer (VLTI)." [more]

Looking in all the Right Places – The SLOAN DIGITAL SKY SURVEY Extends its Reach

July 17, 2014
Building on the past successes, the Sloan Digital Sky Survey (SDSS) collaboration has launched a major new program that will expand the census of the Universe into new areas. The new survey is a collaboration of more than 200 astronomers at more than 40 institutions on four continents, and incorporates telescopes in both the Northern and Southern Hemispheres to explore the entire sky for the first time. [more]

Christian-Doppler-Prize for Lisa Kaltenegger

June 23, 2014
On 13. June 2014 Lisa Kaltenegger from the Max-Planck-Institut for Astronomy received the Christian-Doppler-Prize oft he Salzburg government, the most important distinction for young scientists' achievements in the Natural Sciences. The prize of 12000 EURO was awarded fort her work on the characterisation of extrasolar planets with a focuss on other habitable words. [more]

The Dusty Heart of an Active Galaxy

March 26, 2014
An international research team with participation of MPIA obtained the most detailed view so far of the warm dust in the close environment of a supermassive black hole in the center of an active galaxy. The observations of the Circinus galaxy at a distance of 13 million light years show, for the first time, that the dust directly illuminated by the central engine of the active galaxy is located in two distinct components. [more]

On the Hunt for Exoplanets – SPHERE Arrives at Paranal

March 13, 2014
The search for planets outside our solar system and the related questions regarding their formation and their potentially life-friendly properties are among the most exciting topics in modern astrophysics. However, almost all of the more than 1000 exoplanets discovered since 1995 were found using indirect methods. This will soon change with SPHERE, a powerful instrument that has just arrived at ESO's Paranal Observatory in the Chilean Andes to collect direct images of Exoplanets. [more]

Gaia Comes into Focus

February 06, 2014
ESA has announced that the telescopes of the survey satellite Gaia are now being brought into focus. Gaia was launched on December 2013 and is now orbiting around the Lagrange point L2, 1.5 million kilometres from Earth. [more]

Doomed Planet Foreshadows Earth's Fate

December 13, 2013
A group of astronomers that includes Amelia Bayo and Luigi Mancini of the Max Planck Institute for Astronomy has found a doomed planet that within 55 million years – a mere blink of the eye on astronomical scales – will be swallowed whole by its host star. [more]

Patzer Prize 2013 goes to Siddharth Hegde, Annie Hughes and Robert Singh

December 09, 2013
At the end of November the solemn ceremony of the Ernst-Patzer Prize for outstanding scientific work in the field of astronomy was held in the auditorium of the Max Planck Institute for Astronomy (MPIA). The awards were given this year to Siddharth Hegde, Annie Hughes and Robert Singh. [more]

First Light for LINC-NIRVANA Pathfinder – with Adaptive Optics!

November 30, 2013
On November 17, the LINC - NIRVANA Pathfinder instrument was successfully tested at the Large Binocular Telescope in Arizona. The Pathfinder team succeeded not only in acquiring the instrument's first observation of a celestial object – its so-called "First Light" - but also in commissioning of the control loop for the adaptive optics. [more]

ALMA Probes Surroundings of Giant Black Hole

October 16, 2013
A group of astronomers that includes Eva Schinnerer from the Max Planck Institute for Astronomy have used the telescope array ALMA in Chile to image the center of the active galaxy NGC1433. [more]

Three Awards for Anica Till

August 12, 2013
Due to her excellent written work, Ms. Anica Till - trainee in the MPIA administration - received three awards. [more]

In Search of the Origins of Life: Lisa Kaltenegger Receives $1 Million Award from Simons Foundation

August 01, 2013
Lisa Kaltenegger, a group leader at the Max Planck Institute for Astronomy and a research associate at the Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics, has been named as one of the investigators of the Simons Collaboration on the Origins of Life. Dr. Kaltenegger is an expert on the potential habitability of exoplanets (planets orbiting stars other than the Sun) and on the chemical signatures that could allow for the detection of life on those planets. The Simons Foundation Investigator Award amounts to $1 million and will allow her to explore what the "chemical fingerprint" of an exoplanet's atmosphere could tell us about the planet's properties, including its habitability. [more]

Julian Baldauf Received the Trainee Award 2013 of the Max Planck Society

July 24, 2013
For the seventh time, the Max Planck Society has awarded the Trainee Prize for outstanding achievements in vocational training. The winner 2013 is Julian Baldauf from MPIAs precision engineering department. [more]

Harold C. Urey Prize for Anders Johansen

July 23, 2013
The Division for Planetary Sciences (DPS) of the American Astronomical Society (AAS) awarded Dr. Anders Johansen the Harold C. Urey Prize for his outstanding achievement in planetary research. [more]

Royal Astronomical Society Honours the SAURON Team with the Group Achievement Award 2013 – MPIA Scientists Involved

July 12, 2013
A few days ago at the UK National Astronomy Meeting in St. Andrews, the Royal Astronomical Society presented its Group Achievement Award to the SAURON team, including MPIA scientists Dr. Remco van den Bosch and Dr. Glenn van de Ven. [more]

ESA Awards Major Euclid Contract

July 09, 2013
After years of planning a space mission, the awarding of contracts for actual construction to industry marks a major step. This step has now been taken for the Euclid mission, a space telescope slated for launch in 2020 which is set to explore the dark side of our cosmos: The ubiquitous dark matter, which can only be detected indirectly, but whose gravitational attraction plays a key role for the structure of galaxies and galaxy clusters, and dark energy, which is responsible for the fact that our universe not only expands, but accelerates its expansion. [more]

Astronomical Conference "Protostars & Planets" to take Place from 15 to 20 July 2013

July 09, 2013
Nine hundred scientists will be meeting in Heidelberg between 15 and 20 July 2013 for one of the biggest astronomical conferences anywhere in the world. On these six days, the experts intend to exchange views and knowledge about the present state of research on the evolution of stars and planets. [more]


MPI for Astronomy Employee's Children join the "Glückskinder" in September

July 01, 2013
The MPIA has expanded its existing services for improving ways to reconcile career, academia and family. As of September 2013, six further crèche places will be available to the institute in the "Glückskinder" group. The "Glückskinderwelt" in Heidelberg is centrally located and easy to reach, offers extremely flexible opening hours and uses the latest educational methods. [more]

Hubert Klahr is the 2013 Russell Severance Springer Professor in Berkeley

June 03, 2013
Professor H. Hubertus Klahr was nominated by the Mechanical Engineering faculty of the University of California at Berkeley as the Distinguished Russell Severance Springer Professor for 2013. Klahr, who is an expert in the theory of planet formation, will visit Berkeley in September 2013 to present a course of four to six lectures to Berkeley student and hold a Department Colloquium. [more]

Reimar Lüst Fellowship for Christoph Mordasini

May 27, 2013
Christoph Mordasini is Reimar Lüst Fellow 2013 of the Max Planck Society. The junior scientist, who works at the Max Planck Institute for Astronomy (MPIA) in Heidelberg, will use the two-year fellowship to continue his research on the statistical properties of planets around other stars (exoplanets). [more]

Bringing the Telescope Jitters under Control: A Unique Service at the LBT

April 12, 2013
Large mechanical structures such as the Large Binocular Telescope (LBT) on Mt. Graham in Arizona are susceptible to vibrations. As the telescope is moved, but also as it is influenced by wind, the structure begins to oscillate slightly. Yet even very slight vibrations can jeopardize one of the LBT's key objectives: to combine the two 8.4m primary mirrors on the LBT mount to act like a single, much larger telescope. In this mode, achieved by what is called interferometry, the LBT could discern details otherwise accessible only to a telescope with a giant 23 meter mirror. Structural vibrations can all but spoil the interferometric combination, severely limiting the achievable resolution, and leading to a substantial loss of detail. [more]

Blazing the Trail for a Binocular Telescope: Pathfinder Arrives at Mt. Graham

February 26, 2013
The mere fact that the Large Binocular Telescope (LBT) in Arizona features two 8,4 meter diameter mirrors on a single mount is impressive enough. But this telescope is designed to be so much more: With the help of the LINC-NIRVANA instrument currently being assembled at the Max Planck Institute for Astronomy (MPIA), the two mirrors will be linked to act like a single, much larger telescope. The resulting "interferometer" will be able to image details that would otherwise only be accessible with a (single) telescope with a 23-meter mirror. [more]

Andromeda in a new Light

February 02, 2013
NASA's "Astronomy Picture of the Day" for February 2, 2013, is an infrared image of the Andromeda galaxy, by the Herschel Space Telescope. The image is part of a program led by Oliver Krause of the Max Planck Institute for Astronomy (MPIA). [more]

New APEX Image of Interstellar Clouds in Orion

January 23, 2013
The European Southern Observatory (ESO) has just released spectacular new images of a region near the reflection nebula NGC 1999 in the Orion Molecular Cloud Complex, which includes data from the submillimeter telescope APEX. [more]
 
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