Teaser 1517401664

How black holes shape the cosmos

February 01, 2018
Astrophysicists from Heidelberg, Garching, and the USA gained new insights into the formation and evolution of galaxies. They calculated how black holes influence the distribution of dark matter, how heavy elements are produced and distributed throughout the cosmos, and where magnetic fields originate. This was possible by developing and programming a new simulation model for the universe, which created the most extensive simulations of this kind to date.First results of the "IllustrisTNG" project have now been published in three articles in the journal Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society. These findings should help to answer fundamental questions in cosmology. [more]
Teaser 1514969263

Library of galaxy histories reconstructed from motions of stars

January 03, 2018
The motions of stars in a galaxy are like a history book, yielding information about how the galaxy has grown over time. Now a group of astronomers has assembled a library of such galaxy history books. Their data for 300 galaxies showcases the diversity of the various ways different galaxies came into being over the past billions of years. This is the first large-scale library of galactic histories, and it is particularly important for astronomers running simulations of cosmic structure formation – since those simulations can now be checked against a large set of observations. The results have been published in the journal Nature Astronomy on January 1, 2018. [more]
Teaser 1514899658

Observations link galaxy's central black holes and star formation

January 01, 2018
Astronomers have found the first direct observational evidence for a long-suspected link between galaxies' central black holes and the rate at which stars form throughout a galaxy's history. To this end, the astronomers made use of a survey of black hole masses and reconstructed each galaxy's star formation history from its spectrum. Black hole mass and star formation rate were clearly linked, confirming a connection that had been assumed to exist for a considerable time. The results have been published in the journal Nature. [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]
Teaser 1512382624

The most distant black hole in the cosmos: quasar at a distance of 13 billion light-years discovered

December 06, 2017
Astronomers have discovered the most distant quasar known, which is so far from us that its light has taken more than 13 billion years to reach us. We see this quasar as it was a mere 690 million years after the Big Bang, and its light carries valuable information about the early history of the universe, in particular the reionization phase. At the center of the quasar is a massive black hole with a mass of almost 1 billion solar masses. In addition, the quasar's host galaxy has been found to contain a large amount of gas and dust, challenging models of galactic evolution. The results have now been published in Nature and in the Astrophysical Journal Letters. [more]
Teaser 1512382721

Traces of life on nearest exoplanets may be hidden in equatorial trap, study finds

November 29, 2017
Simulations show that the search for life on other planets may well be more difficult than previously assumed: On planets like Proxima b or TRAPPIST-1d, unusual flow pattern could hide atmospheric ozone from telescopic observations. Ozone, which is a variety of oxygen, is seen as one of the possible traces allowing for the detection of life on another planet from afar.  The simulations, led by Ludmila Carone of the Max Planck Institute for Astronomy, have consequences for formulating the optimal strategy for searching for (oxygen-producing) life such as bacteria or plants on exoplanets. [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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