Scientific Highlights

Stars with the chemical clock on hold

Stars with the chemical clock on hold

by Kerstin Mork last modified Apr 13, 2015 02:56 PM

10 April 2015. An international team of astrophysicists, led by Cristina Chiappini from the Leibniz Institute for Astrophysics Potsdam, has discovered a group of red giant stars for which the ‘chemical clock’ does not work: according to their chemical signature, these stars should be old. Instead, they appear to be young when their ages are inferred using asteroseismology. Their existence cannot be explained by standard chemical evolution models of the Milky Way, suggesting that the chemical enrichment history of the Galactic disc is more complex than originally assumed.

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Solar eclipse seen by the LOFAR RadioTelescope

Solar eclipse seen by the LOFAR RadioTelescope

by Kerstin Mork last modified Apr 02, 2015 11:06 AM

23 March 2015. The European radio interferometer LOFAR succeeded in taking unique pictures of the solar eclipse on March 20th as it is not possible by eye.

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ESO: Looking Deeply into the Universe in 3D

ESO: Looking Deeply into the Universe in 3D

by Kerstin Mork last modified Apr 02, 2015 11:09 AM

26 February 2015. MUSE goes beyond Hubble

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Star passed through solar system 70,000 years ago

Star passed through solar system 70,000 years ago

by Kerstin Mork last modified Apr 02, 2015 11:11 AM

18 February 2015. An international team of astronomers around Eric Mamajek from the University of Rochester (USA) found out that our solar system had a stellar visitor very rently, just 70,000 years ago.

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The dark side of light

The dark side of light

by Kerstin Mork last modified Apr 02, 2015 11:13 AM

12 February 2015. In the highly interdisciplinary research project "Loss of the Night", scientists of very different institutions of the Leibniz Association investigate the increasing illumination of the night, its ecological, cultural and socioeconomic effects, and the effects on human health. Their aim is to develop improved lighting concepts and sustainable technologies.

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Nature article: How stars reveal their ages

Nature article: How stars reveal their ages

by Kerstin Mork last modified Apr 02, 2015 11:10 AM

5 January 2015. A recently published study in the scientific journal Nature presents a method by which the age of stars can be determined very precisely: "Gyrochronology", an analytical procedure for determining the ages of stars with knowledge of their masses and rotation periods. The word "Gyrochronology" is a neologism of the AIP scientist and co-author of the study, Sydney Barnes.

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A universal comb

A universal comb

by Kerstin Mork last modified Dec 10, 2014 09:33 AM

10 December 2014. Scientists from the Leibniz Institute for Astrophysics in Potsdam (AIP) and the Centre for innovation competence innoFSPEC have tested a novel optical frequency comb using an astronomical instrument. This new light source will improve the calibration of spectrographs and hence their scientific measurements.

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The Lambda effect confirmed

The Lambda effect confirmed

by Gabi Schoenherr last modified Apr 01, 2015 04:05 PM

2 December 2014. Solar turbulence theory confirmed by solar observations: the Lambda effect exists. AIP theoreticians have long believed that turbulence on the Sun behaves opposite to what is known in classical experimental physics due to a complex mechanism taking place, called "Lambda Effect". A publication by Günter Rüdiger and colleagues in Astronomy & Astrophysics Letters comparing theory to observational data now concludes that this predicted effect indeed occurs on the Sun.

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Epsilon Aurigae - an extremely dynamic binary star

Epsilon Aurigae - an extremely dynamic binary star

by Kerstin Mork last modified Nov 12, 2014 10:57 AM

12 November 2014. Based on an observation campaign lasting seven years, scientists from the Leibniz Institute for Astrophysics Potsdam (AIP) published new findings about the binary star system Epsilon Aurigae in Astronomische Nachrichten (Astronomical Notes). The observation data was obtained using AIP’s robotic STELLA telescope on Tenerife.

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Partial solar eclipse observed by SDI

Partial solar eclipse observed by SDI

by Kerstin Mork last modified Dec 12, 2014 10:24 AM

23 October 2014. The images show a large Sunspot that appeared two days earlier. The SDI telescope uses the Sun as a guide star to keep its image to be well-projected onto the entrance fibres to the spectrograph. As it is equipped with a guiding video camera, it allows us to observe any other events of interest like the partial solar eclipse in Arizona on October 23 which lasted from 14:21 to 16:45 MST with a maximum of the obscuration up to 33% at 15:37 MST (UTC-7).

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 An unprecedented view of two hundred galaxies

An unprecedented view of two hundred galaxies

by Kerstin Mork last modified Oct 01, 2014 10:28 AM

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.

An unprecedented view of two hundred galaxies - Read More…

Astronomers unveil secrets of giant elliptical galaxies

Astronomers unveil secrets of giant elliptical galaxies

by Kerstin Mork last modified Sep 25, 2014 02:25 PM

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).

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Facets of Solar Magnetic Fields

Facets of Solar Magnetic Fields

by Kerstin Mork last modified Apr 01, 2015 04:10 PM

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.

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New Milky Way Maps from RAVE data

New Milky Way Maps from RAVE data

by Kerstin Mork last modified Aug 15, 2014 01:28 PM

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.

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The Sloan Digital Sky Survey Expands Its Reach

The Sloan Digital Sky Survey Expands Its Reach

by Gabi Schoenherr last modified Jul 29, 2014 12:11 PM

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.

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CosmoSim Database for cosmological simulations released

CosmoSim Database for cosmological simulations released

by Kerstin Mork last modified Jun 23, 2014 09:56 AM

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.

CosmoSim Database for cosmological simulations released - Read More…

A unique star

A unique star

by Kerstin Mork last modified Jun 24, 2014 10:23 AM

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.

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First Light for MUSE

First Light for MUSE

by Kerstin Mork last modified Jun 24, 2014 10:32 AM

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.

First Light for MUSE - Read More…

Dwarfs of the Milky Way

Dwarfs of the Milky Way

by Kerstin Mork last modified Jun 13, 2014 12:00 PM

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.

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Milky Way shaken... and stirred

Milky Way shaken... and stirred

by Kerstin Mork last modified Jun 13, 2014 11:47 AM

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.

Milky Way shaken... and stirred - Read More…