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Scientific Highlights

Uncovering the birthplaces of stars in the Milky Way

Uncovering the birthplaces of stars in the Milky Way

by Franziska Gräfe last modified Sep 13, 2018 11:17 AM

13 September 2018. An international team of scientists led by Ivan Minchev of the Leibniz Institute for Astrophysics Potsdam (AIP) has found a way to recover the birth places of stars in our Galaxy. This is one of the major goals in the field of Galactic Archaeology, whose aim is to reconstruct the formation history of the Milky Way.

Uncovering the birthplaces of stars in the Milky Way - Read More…

Sun under double observation

Sun under double observation

by Franziska Gräfe last modified Aug 22, 2018 03:11 PM

13th August 2018. NASA's Parker Solar Probe, launched on 12th August, will be the first spacecraft to approach the sun reaching 10 solar radii, and will provide science with new insights into our home star over the next few years. An international project under the auspices of the Leibniz Institute for Astrophysics Potsdam (AIP) adds ground-based measurements at the same time - enabling completely new insights into solar activity and its effects on Earth.

Sun under double observation - Read More…

Digging deeper: First catalogue of X-ray sources in overlapping observations published

Digging deeper: First catalogue of X-ray sources in overlapping observations published

by Franziska Gräfe last modified Aug 22, 2018 03:10 PM

25th July 2018. Members of the X-ray astronomy working group at the Leibniz Institute for Astrophysics (AIP) and an international team have published the first catalogue of X-ray sources in multiply observed sky regions. The catalogue comprises almost 72,000 objects, partly of exotic nature, which were observed with the space-based X-ray telescope XMM-Newton. It provides information on the physical properties of the sources and enables astronomers to identify brightness variations on time scales of several years - and includes several thousand new detections.

Digging deeper: First catalogue of X-ray sources in overlapping observations published - Read More…

Neptune closer than ever: Super Sharp Pictures form the Edge of our Solar System

Neptune closer than ever: Super Sharp Pictures form the Edge of our Solar System

by Franziska Gräfe last modified Aug 22, 2018 03:09 PM

18th July 2018. Astronomers from the Leibniz-Institute for Astrophysics Potsdam (AIP) tested as part of an international team a new observation mode with the MUSE instrument at the Very Large Telescope (VLT) in Chile in June 2018. The technology used for the first time suppresses the blurred effects of the atmosphere even better and produces very sharp images of planets, stars and galaxies – among others of Neptune, which was once discovered at the predecessor institute of the AIP.

Neptune closer than ever: Super Sharp Pictures form the Edge of our Solar System - Read More…

Using Very Pristine Stars to Study Dwarf Galaxies & the Galactic Halo

Using Very Pristine Stars to Study Dwarf Galaxies & the Galactic Halo

by Franziska Gräfe last modified Aug 22, 2018 03:14 PM

6th June 2018. Kris Youakim from the Leibniz Institute for Astrophysics Potsdam (AIP) is talking this week at the 232nd AAS meeting about his latest results on the analysis of the stellar debris in the galactic halo. Our Milky Way is a relatively large galaxy, and the current accepted theories suggest that it was built up over time by the accretion of smaller, low-mass galaxies.

Using Very Pristine Stars to Study Dwarf Galaxies & the Galactic Halo - Read More…

Spinning rugby balls: The rotation of the most massive galaxies

Spinning rugby balls: The rotation of the most massive galaxies

by Franziska Gräfe last modified Aug 22, 2018 03:13 PM

23rd May 2018. By targeting the most massive galaxies in our universe, astronomers have studied how their stars move. The results are surprising: while half of them spin around their short axis as expected, the other half turn around their long axis. Such kinematics are most likely the result of a special type of galaxy merger, involving already massive, similar-mass galaxies. This would imply that the growth of the most massive and the largest galaxies is governed by these rare events.

Spinning rugby balls: The rotation of the most massive galaxies - Read More…

Sun in sight: Tailored solution for collaborative research

Sun in sight: Tailored solution for collaborative research

by Franziska Gräfe last modified May 14, 2018 03:07 PM

Since 2014, Europe's largest solar telescope GREGOR has been used for scientific measurements and has collected large amounts of very complex, multidimensional data during this time. To make these immense amount of data usable and accessible for the research community, scientists of the departments of Solar Physics and E-Science at the Leibniz Institute for Astrophysics Potsdam (AIP) have now developed a Collaborative Research Environment (CRE). The results were presented in a recently released special issue of the Astrophysical Journal Supplement Series on Big Data in Solar and Stellar Physics.

Sun in sight: Tailored solution for collaborative research - Read More…

1.69 billion stars

1.69 billion stars

by Franziska Gräfe last modified Apr 25, 2018 01:03 PM

Derived from 22 months of observations, the much awaited second data release of the Gaia mission is now public. The Leibniz Institute for Astrophysics Potsdam (AIP) contributed to the common effort with software modules providing first look validation and background correction for the data of the radial velocity spectrometer. Additionally AIP is one of the official Gaia Partner Data Centres that host a mirror of the complete Gaia archive.

1.69 billion stars - Read More…

Hide and Seek: a Black Hole in a Giant Star Cluster

Hide and Seek: a Black Hole in a Giant Star Cluster

by Kristin Riebe last modified Feb 02, 2018 12:11 PM

17 January 2018. Astronomers, under the lead of the Georg-August-Universität Göttingen and with participation of the Leibniz-Institut für Astrophysik Potsdam (AIP) using ESO’s MUSE instrument on the Very Large Telescope in Chile have discovered a star in the cluster NGC 3201 that is behaving very strangely. It appears to be orbiting an invisible black hole with about four times the mass of the Sun — the first such inactive stellar-mass black hole found in a globular cluster and the first found by directly detecting its gravitational pull. This important discovery impacts on our understanding of the formation of these star clusters, black holes, and the origins of gravitational wave events.

Hide and Seek: a Black Hole in a Giant Star Cluster - Read More…

First PEPSI data release

First PEPSI data release

by Kristin Riebe last modified Jan 09, 2018 10:45 AM

9 January 2018. The Potsdam Echelle Polarimetric and Spectroscopic Instrument (PEPSI) at the Large Binocular Telescope (LBT) in Arizona released its first batch of high-spectral resolution data to the scientific community. In a series of three papers in the European journal Astronomy & Astrophysics, the PEPSI team presents a new spectral atlas of the Sun, a total of 48 atlases of bright benchmark stars, and a detailed analysis of the chemical abundances of the 10-billion year old planet-system host Kepler-444.

First PEPSI data release - Read More…

MUSE most detailed look at galaxy field

MUSE most detailed look at galaxy field

by Katrin Albaum last modified Nov 29, 2017 01:22 PM

29 November 2017. Astronomers using the MUSE instrument on ESO’s Very Large Telescope in Chile focused on the Hubble Ultra Deep Field, measuring distances and properties of 1600 very faint galaxies including 72 galaxies that have never been detected before. This resulted in the deepest spectroscopic observations ever made and 10 science papers that are being published in a special issue of Astronomy & Astrophysics.

MUSE most detailed look at galaxy field - Read More…

Light in the dark - Galaxies enriching MultiDark universe

Light in the dark - Galaxies enriching MultiDark universe

by Kristin Riebe last modified Nov 29, 2017 01:15 PM

20 November 2017. Scientists from the Leibniz Institute for Astrophysics Potsdam (AIP) have joined an international research team to create one of the largest sets of galaxies in a computer generated universe. The data are published via AIP's CosmoSim database.

Light in the dark - Galaxies enriching MultiDark universe - Read More…

Next generation astronomical survey to map the entire sky

Next generation astronomical survey to map the entire sky

by Katrin Albaum last modified Nov 17, 2017 10:44 AM

17 November 2017. The Alfred P. Sloan Foundation will award a $16 million grant for the next generation of the Sloan Digital Sky Survey (SDSS-V). The grant will kickstart a groundbreaking all-sky spectroscopic survey for a next wave of discovery, anticipated to start in 2020.

Next generation astronomical survey to map the entire sky - Read More…

The LBT gets polarized: First light for the PEPSI polarimeters

The LBT gets polarized: First light for the PEPSI polarimeters

by Kristin Riebe last modified Nov 29, 2017 01:16 PM

12 October 2017. Thanks to a cleverly designed "two-in-one" instrument attached to the world's most powerful telescope, astronomers can extract more clues about the properties of distant stars or exoplanets than previously possible.

The LBT gets polarized: First light for the PEPSI polarimeters - Read More…

L'Oréal-UNESCO Fellowship for cosmologist Jenny Sorce

L'Oréal-UNESCO Fellowship for cosmologist Jenny Sorce

by Kristin Riebe last modified Nov 29, 2017 01:17 PM

10 October 2017. To produce cosmological simulations and study our local neighbourhood in the Universe: The cosmologist Dr. Jenny Sorce received a fellowship of the L'Oréal-UNESCO For Women in Science programme. Sorce is a postdoctoral researcher at the astronomical observatory in Strasbourg, France, and a guest researcher at the Leibniz Institute for Astrophysics Potsdam (AIP). She was awarded a fellowship in the French national programme, which is granted annually, and will receive 20,000 euros.

L'Oréal-UNESCO Fellowship for cosmologist Jenny Sorce - Read More…

Perspectives of Astrophysics in Germany from 2017 to 2030

Perspectives of Astrophysics in Germany from 2017 to 2030

by Katrin Albaum last modified Sep 26, 2017 09:05 AM

19 September 2017. At the annual meeting of the German Astronomical Society 2017, the Council of German Observatories presented the Denkschrift 2017 “Perspectives of astrophysics in Germany 2017-2030: From the beginnings of the cosmos to clues for life on extrasolar planets“. In this publication, the Council of German Observatories (in German: Rat Deutscher Sternwarten, or RDS for short) gives an overview of the status of the field of astronomy and astrophysics, presents the main scientific questions and lays out the structures needed to further promote the field. The RDS recommends for example the participation of Germany in the construction and further development of major observatories such as the Extremely Large Telescope and other observatories by the European Southern Observatory (ESO) in Chile, the Square Kilometre Array in South Africa and Australia, and the European Solar Telescope on Tenerife. The RDS supports a strong German investment in space research, especially within the national space program.

Perspectives of Astrophysics in Germany from 2017 to 2030 - Read More…

Solar eclipse in one hundred spectra

Solar eclipse in one hundred spectra

by Katrin Albaum last modified Sep 17, 2017 08:32 AM

12 September 2017. A solar eclipse gives researchers the opportunity to observe parts of the sun that are normally invisible. With the Solar Disk Integrated Telescope (SDI) on Mount Graham in Arizona, USA, scientists of the Leibniz Institute for Astrophysics Potsdam (AIP) have remotely observed the solar eclipse on 21 August 2017. During the course of the eclipse, they obtained about one hundred spectra in two wavelength regions. The SDI feeds light into the PEPSI high-resolution spectrograph in the pier of the Large Binocular Telescope (LBT).

Solar eclipse in one hundred spectra - Read More…

Stars and galaxies with MUSE - extra clear

Stars and galaxies with MUSE - extra clear

by Kristin Riebe last modified Jul 18, 2018 09:56 AM

02 August 2017. Spectacular improvement of astronomical observations with MUSE using adaptive optics. Astronomers have been observing distant galaxies and nebulae with unprecedented quality using the MUSE instrument at the European Southern Observatory (ESO). This was made possible by commissioning of a new adaptive optics facility at the Very Large Telescope (VLT) in the Chilean Atacama desert.

Stars and galaxies with MUSE - extra clear - Read More…

X-Ray Telescope STIX Ready for Launch to the Sun

X-Ray Telescope STIX Ready for Launch to the Sun

by Kristin Riebe last modified Jul 25, 2017 08:25 AM

13 July 2017. To observe the Sun at close range and measure its activity: with launch in February 2019, as part of the European Space Agency’s (ESA) Solar Orbiter spacecraft, STIX will study solar X-ray radiation in unprecedented detail. An international team with researchers from the Leibniz Institute for Astrophysics Potsdam (AIP) has developed STIX and now completed it. The AIP is the only German institute involved in this instrument.

X-Ray Telescope STIX Ready for Launch to the Sun - Read More…

Rediscovering our Galaxy

Rediscovering our Galaxy

by Katrin Albaum last modified Jul 11, 2017 09:16 AM

7 July 2017. What do we know about our home galaxy, the Milky Way? How was the Galaxy assembled and how did it evolve from the most pristine eras to its present state? About 200 astronomers meet from Monday, 10 July 2017, till Friday, 14 July 2014, on Telegrafenberg in Potsdam at the IAU symposium “Rediscovering our Galaxy” to debate the latest research results and surveys in the field of galactic archaeology. The International Astronomical Union (IAU) supports the event, which the Leibniz Institute for Astrophysics Potsdam (AIP) is organising and hosting, with further support from the Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft (DFG, German Research Foundation).

Rediscovering our Galaxy - Read More…