1 October 2014. The second data release of the international project CALIFA - a survey of galaxies carried out at Calar Alto observatory – will take place today. Galaxies are the result of an evolutionary process started thousands of million years ago, and their history is coded in their distinct components. The CALIFA project is intended to decode the galaxies’ history in a sort of galactic archaeology, through the 3D observations of a sample of six hundred galaxies. With this second data release corresponding to two hundred galaxies, the project reaches its halfway point with important results behind.
24 September 2014. Prof. Dr. Matthias Steinmetz, scientific chairman of the Leibniz Institute for Astrophysics Potsdam (AIP), is the new President of the German Astronomical Society (Astronomische Gesellschaft, AG). On their annual fall meeting the AG elected Steinmetz also chair of the Council of German Observatories (Rat Deutscher Sternwarten, RDS).
12 September 2014 Davor Krajnović, astronomer at the Leibniz Institute for Astrophysics Potsdam (AIP), and his colleagues Eric Emsellem (ESO) and Marc Sarzi (University of Hertfordshire), have discovered how giant elliptical galaxies move. Their study is based on data obtained by the newly installed Multi Unit Spectroscopic Explorer (MUSE).
3 September 2014. Magnetic fields on the solar surface come in many shapes and sizes. The smallest magnetic flux elements become visible in the Fraunhofer G-band, a narrow spectral region with many molecular lines at around 430.6 nm, as bright points – sometimes aligned in chains and arcs. Once the magnetic flux is sufficiently strong to inhibit the convective energy transport from the solar interior to the solar atmosphere, dark structures begin to develop, which are called solar pores.
15 August 2014. Using data from the RAVE survey, a large observation project initiated and led by the Leibniz Institute for Astrophysics Potsdam (AIP), an international team of astronomers has produced new maps of the material between the stars in the Milky Way that should move astronomers closer to cracking a stardust puzzle that has vexed them for nearly a century.
16 July 2014. Building on 14 years of extraordinary discoveries, the Sloan Digital Sky Survey (SDSS) has launched a major program of three new surveys, adding novel capabilities to expand its census of the Universe into regions it had been unable to explore before.
23 June 2014. The CosmoSim database (www.cosmosim.org) has now been released after an intensive testing period. This service to the scientific community is the successor of the MultiDark database (www.multidark.org) and it is used as a platform for publishing and sharing data products from cosmological simulations.
3 June 2014. Using ESA’s X-ray telescope XMM-Newton a team of Potsdam astronomers together with collegues from Belgium and the USA have found X-ray pulsations of a unique star. It is a celestial wonder with a body of a normal star but with the magnetic field much stronger than normal. The race is now on to understand why it behaves in this way.
5 March 2014. A new innovative instrument called MUSE (Multi Unit Spectroscopic Explorer) has been successfully installed on ESO’s Very Large Telescope (VLT) at the Paranal Observatory in northern Chile. MUSE has observed distant galaxies, bright stars and other test targets during the first period of very successful observations.
25 February 2014. Noam Libeskind, scientist of the Leibniz Institute for Astrophysics Potsdam (AIP), explains in an article in the latest issue of “Scientific American”, why dwarf galaxies (also called “satellite galaxies”) are arranged on a plane instead of being scattered randomly. Superhighways of Dark Matter might be the solution to this astronomic puzzle.
20 January 2014. A team of scientists headed by Ivan Minchev from the Leibniz Institute for Astrophysics Potsdam (AIP) has found a way to reconstruct the evolutionary history of our galaxy, the Milky Way, to a new level of detail. The investigation of a data set of stars near the sun was decisive for the now published results.
19 November 2013. Two high performance instruments from Potsdam-Babelsberg arrived at the Large Binocular Telescope (LBT) in Arizona, the largest reflector telescope in the world. The so-called PFUs (Permanent Fibre Units) provide both telescope control and the transmission of starlight collected via the telescope mirror to the spectrograph PEPSI (“Potsdam Echelle Polarimetric and Spectroscopic Instrument”)
22 October 2013. Astronomers have discovered that our Galaxy wobbles. An international team of astronomers around Mary Williams from the Leibniz Institute for Astrophysics Potsdam (AIP) detected and examined this phenomenon with the RAdial Velocity Experiment (RAVE), a survey of almost half a million stars around the Sun. In addition to the regular Galactic rotation the scientists found the Milky Way moving perpendicular to the Galactic plane.
14 October 2013. Physicians and Astrophysicists work on a new Diagnostic Method - Scientists from innoFSPEC Potsdam, a centre of innovative competence in the research field “Fibre-optical Spectroscopy and Sensing“ established at the Leibniz Institute for Astrophysics Potsdam (AIP), are working together with researchers of Charité Berlin on a new method of minimally invasive, optical cancer diagnostics.
31 July 2013. Today, astronomers with the Sloan Digital Sky Survey III (SDSS-III) released a new online public data set featuring 60,000 stars that are helping to tell the story of how our Milky Way galaxy formed.
27 June 2013. An international team of astronomers led by Soeren Meibom of the Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics has found two planets smaller than Neptune orbiting Sun-like stars in the open star cluster NGC 6811. The discovery, published in the journal Nature, shows that planets can develop even in crowded clusters jam-packed with stars.
6 March 2013. New results pin down the distance to the galaxy next door. - After nearly a decade of careful observations an international team of astronomers, among them Jesper Storm, scientist at the Leibniz-Institute for Astophysics Potsdam (AIP), has measured the distance to our neighbouring galaxy, the Large Magellanic Cloud, more accurately than ever before. This new measurement also improves our knowledge of the rate of expansion of the Universe — the Hubble Constant — and is a crucial step towards understanding the nature of the mysterious dark energy that is causing the expansion to accelerate. The team used telescopes at ESO’s La Silla Observatory in Chile as well as others around the globe. These results appear in the 7 March 2013 issue of the journal Nature.
1 February 2013. Astronomers of the international CLUES collaboration have identified “Cosmic Web Stripping” as a new way of explaining the famous missing dwarf problem: the lack of observed dwarf galaxies compared with that predicted by the theory of Cold Dark Matter and Dark Energy.
10 January 2013. In their search for habitable worlds, astronomers have started to consider exomoons, or those likely orbiting planets outside the solar system. In a new study, a pair of researchers has found that exomoons are just as likely to support life as exoplanets.
6 December 2012. For the first time, astronomers have detected the magnetic field of a starspot