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Research highlights from our yearbook

June 22, 2017
The yearbook of the Max Planck Society illustrates the research carried out at our institutes. We selected a few reports from our 2017 yearbook to illustrate the variety and diversity of topics and projects. [more]
Teaser 1495531188

Newly discovered fast-growing galaxies could solve cosmic riddle – and show ancient cosmic merger

May 24, 2017
Astronomers have discovered a new kind of galaxy in the early universe, less than a billion years after the Big Bang. These galaxies are forming stars more than a hundred times faster than our own Milky Way. The discovery could explain an earlier finding: a population of suprisingly massive galaxies at a time 1.5 billion years after the Big Bang, which would require such hyper-productive precursors to grow their hundreds of billions of stars. The observations also show what appears to be the earliest image of galaxies merging. The results, by a group of astronomers led by Roberto Decarli of the Max Planck Institute for Astronomy, have been published in the 25 May issue of the journal Nature. [more]
Teaser 1494935779

First radio detection of lonely planet disk shows similarities between stars and planet-like objects

May 18, 2017
First radio observations of the lonely, planet-like object OTS44 reveal a dusty protoplanetary disk that is very similar to disks around young stars. This is unexpected, given that models of star and planet formation predict that formation from a collapsing cloud, forming a central object with surrounding disk, should not be possible for such low-mass objects. Apparently, stars and planet-like objects are more similar than previously thought. The finding, by an international team led by Amelia Bayo and including several astronomers from the Max Planck Institute for Astronomy, has been published in Astrophysical Journal Letters. [more]
Teaser 1494256831

Discovery in the early universe poses black hole growth puzzle

May 11, 2017
Quasars are luminous objects with supermassive black holes at their centers, visible over vast cosmic distances. Infalling matter increases the black hole mass and is also responsible for a quasar's brightness. Now, using the W.M. Keck observatory in Hawaii, astronomers led by Christina Eilers have discovered extremely young quasars with a puzzling property: these quasars have the mass of about a billion suns, yet have been collecting matter for less than 100,000 years. Conventional wisdom says quasars of that mass should have needed to pull in matter a thousand times longer than that – a cosmic conundrum. The results have been published in the May 2 edition of the Astrophysical Journal. [more]
Teaser 1511170895

New astronomical survey to monitor the entire sky

May 03, 2017
A new sky survey, the Sloan digital Sky Survey V (SDSS-V) has received funding from the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation, allowing the survey to go ahead in 2020. The survey is led by Juna Kollmeier of the Carnegie Institution for Science, with project scientist Hans-Walter Rix of the Max Planck Institute for Astronomy. SDSS-V will be the first survey on Earth to take spectra of objects across the entire sky, and will do so repeatedly.  This will create an immense treasure trove of data that allows for detailed statistical studies of astronomical objects and their variability. [more]
 
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