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Massive stellar embryos undergo episodic growth

July 13, 2020
The supply of massive stellar embryos with food from their surrounding disk of gas and dust has long been a mystery. An international research team, in which the Max Planck Institute for Astronomy is participating, has now discovered a spiral structure in such a disk, in the centre of which a growing star of about 12 solar masses has experienced a dramatic increase in brightness. [more]

The cosmic commute towards star and planet formation

July 06, 2020
Interconnected gas flows reveal how star-forming gas is assembled in galaxies [more]

Betelgeuse – a giant with blemishes

June 29, 2020
Gigantic star spots are probably the reason for the recent drop in brightness of the red giant star [more]

From dust to, possibly, life: New experiments show complex astrochemistry on thin ice covering dust grains

June 05, 2020
Astronomers from the Max Planck Institute for Astronomy (MPIA) and the University of Jena have obtained a clearer view of nature's tiny deep-space laboratories: tiny dust grains covered with ice. Instead of regular shapes covered thickly in ice, such grains appear to be fluffy networks of dust, with thin ice layers. In particular, that means the dust grains have considerably larger surfaces, which is where most of the chemical reactions take place. Hence, the new structure has fundamental consequences for astronomers' view of organic chemistry in space – and thus for the genesis of prebiotic molecules that could have played an important role for the origin of life on Earth. [more]

They grow up so fast: New observations show that massive disk galaxies formed exceptionally early in cosmic history

May 20, 2020
In our 13.8 billion-year-old universe, most disk galaxies like our Milky Way were thought to form gradually, reaching their large mass relatively late. But now astronomers led by Marcel Neeleman from the Max Planck Institute for Astronomy, using the ALMA observatory, have found a massive rotating disk galaxy, seen when the universe was only ten percent of its current age. The observation shows that some disk galaxies must have formed much more quickly. This supports earlier computer simulations that had indicated the role of a quick, "cold" mode of galaxy formation. The results have been published in the journal Nature. [more]
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