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Teaser 1443615351

Stars in Motion: High precision follow-up study of star movement shows surprising unrest in massive star cluster

June 02, 2010
Using the NASA/ESA Hubble Space Telescope, astronomers from the Max Planck Institute for Astronomy in Heidelberg and the University of Cologne have completed a long-term study of one of the most massive young star clusters in the Milky Way, comparing two observations that were made ten years apart. The comparison, which relies on extremely precise measurements, reveals the motions of several hundreds of stars, which prove to be at odds with current models of how such clusters evolve, stellar motion not having “settled down” as expected. The results have been published in the Letters section of the Astrophysical Journal. [more]
Teaser 1443790322

Making the invisible visible

April 21, 2010
New workhorse for the world´s largest optical telescope
Teaser 1443790335

Fire without smoke: Tracking down the most primitive black holes in the universe

March 17, 2010
Astronomers have found what appear to be the two most primitive black holes in the universe. Located at a distance of 12,7 billion light-years from Earth, we see these black holes or, more precisely, the bright galactic nuclei powered by these black holes, as they were 12,7 billion years ago, less than a billion years after the big bang. The existence of such primitive black holes had long been surmised, but until now, none had been observed. The results will be published in the March 18, 2010 issue of the journal Nature. [more]
Teaser 1444136829

Probing exoplanet chemistry without the need for space telescopes

February 04, 2010
A group of astronomers, which includes researchers from the Max Planck Institute for Astronomy, has successfully tested a new method for probing the chemical composition of the atmospheres of planets that orbit distant stars. The technique can be used by comparatively small telescopes on the ground, making exoplanet chemistry more widely accessible than ever before. First observations have yielded a fundamentally new result about exoplanet atmospheres. The results have been reported in the February 4, 2010 issue of the journal Nature. [more]
Teaser 1444136831

First Direct “Chemical Fingerprint” of an Exoplanet orbiting a Sun-Like Star

January 13, 2010
Astronomers have obtained the first direct spectrum – a “chemical fingerprint” – of a planet orbiting a distant, Sun-like star, providing direct data about the composition of the planet's atmosphere. Such “chemical fingerprinting” is a key technique in the search for habitable planets around other stars. As such, the result represents a milestone in the search for life elsewhere in the Universe. More directly, results like this are expected to provide new insight into how planets form. [more]
Teaser 1444990982

First image of cool extrasolar planet candidate around Sun-like star

December 03, 2009
First observations with the world's newest planet-hunter instrument, HiCIAO, have revealed a faint companion to the star GJ 758, resulting in what could be the first image of a cool extrasolar planet orbiting a Sun-like star. With an estimated mass of 10 – 40 times Jupiter's mass, GJ 758 b is either a giant planet or a lightweight brown dwarf. Its orbit is somewhat larger than Neptune's, and its temperature of 600 K makes it the coldest companion to a Sun-like star ever resolved in an image. [more]
Teaser 1444990995

Galaxy formation: Andromeda caught in the act

September 02, 2009
A new survey provides the most comprehensive and detailed picture yet of galaxy formation in action. It shows the remains of smaller galaxies that have been ingested by the Andromeda galaxy, one of our closest cosmic neighbours. [more]
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