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ESO and AIP Sign Agreement to Build 4MOST

Signing the agreement at AIP. Credit: R. Arlt / AIP

ESO and AIP Sign Agreement to Build 4MOST

23 August 2016. ESO has signed an agreement with a consortium led by the Leibniz Institute for Astrophysics Potsdam (AIP) to build 4MOST, a unique, next-generation spectroscopic instrument, which w...

The agreement was signed in Potsdam, Germany, by ESO Director General Tim de Zeeuw, and by Matthias Steinmetz and Matthias Winker on behalf of the AIP. Professor Dr. Johanna Wanka, German Federal Minister of Education and Research, and Dr. Martina Münch, State Minister of Science, Research and Culture for the Land Brandenburg, were present at the signing. The German Federal Ministry of Education and Research (BMBF) supports the AIP in its work on 4MOST in the framework of "Verbundforschung" (collaborative research).

Matthias Steinmetz, scientific chairman of the AIP and director of the research branch “Extragalactic Astrophysics”, stated that: „Today’s agreement marks a new milestone for our institute. For the first time, the AIP takes the lead of a consortium to execute an ESO large-scale project. This success has only been possible thanks to the scientific expertise accumulated in our institute and thanks to the tremendous engagement of our scientists, engineers and employees.“

Roelof de Jong, Principal Investigator of 4MOST, added: „Exciting years are ahead of us: 4MOST is being designed to address a broad range of hot topic science cases, ranging from the assembly history of our Milky Way to the evolution of super massive black holes in the centres of galaxies.”

 

4MOST

4MOST, the 4-metre Multi-Object Spectroscopic Telescope, will be installed on the VISTA telescope in the position occupied by the VISTA Infrared Camera, the current workhorse instrument on VISTA, where it will provide the telescope with unique new capabilities. The instrument is expected to start operation in 2022, when it will begin to shed light on some of today’s most pressing astronomical questions, contributing to studies of the dynamics and chemical evolution of the Milky Way, measuring large numbers of active galaxies and galaxy clusters, and helping to constrain models of the accelerating Universe.

4MOST will allow astronomers to study the spectral light distribution from approximately 2,400 objects simultaneously over a field of view of four square degrees — an area equivalent to 20 full Moons. 4MOST will spend the majority of its time performing spectroscopic surveys of the southern sky, collecting 25 million spectra every five years from an area of over 17,000 square degrees — more than 40 percent of the entire sky. During its planned fifteen-year lifetime it is therefore expected to provide the astronomical community with an unprecedented 75 million spectra.

Observing over the full visible light wavelength regime, 4MOST will measure the velocities of extragalactic objects on extended redshift scales hence being able to nail down the evolution of galaxies and large-scale structures in the Universe.

4MOST will not only answer many outstanding astronomical questions, but it is specifically designed to complement three all­-sky, space­-based ob­servatories of key European interest — Gaia, EUCLID, and eROSITA. It will additionally provide a spectroscopic complement to many other large-area surveys, including, VST, Pan-STARRS, the Dark Energy Survey, LSST, ASKAP, WISE, and PLATO.

The 4MOST consortium consists of 15 institutes in Germany, the UK, France, Sweden, Switzerland, Australia, and the Netherlands, under leadership of the Leibniz Institute for Astrophysics Potsdam (AIP). Visit www.4most.eu/cms/consortium/ to see all consortium partners and their roles.

 

Further Informationen:

 

Science Contact: Dr. Roelof de Jong, rdejong@aip.de, +49 331-7499-648

Media contact: Kerstin Mork, presse@aip.de, +49 331-7499 803

 

The key areas of research at the Leibniz Institute for Astrophysics Potsdam (AIP) are cosmic magnetic fields and extragalactic astrophysics. A considerable part of the institute's efforts aim at the development of research technology in the fields of spectroscopy, robotic telescopes, and e-science. The AIP is the successor of the Berlin Observatory founded in 1700 and of the Astrophysical Observatory of Potsdam founded in 1874. The latter was the world's first observatory to emphasize explicitly the research area of astrophysics. The AIP has been a member of the Leibniz Association since 1992.

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Real-time analysis for medical diagnostics

16 August 2016. In the context of current technology transfer projects, scientists at AIP have managed to successfully apply the spectral imaging method, developed in astrophysics, to diagnostics i...

In a recent publication, researchers led by Elmar Schmälzlin have shown for the first time that medical imaging based on IFS produces not only single images, but can be used to record whole image sequences, i.e. videos.

The responsible project manager Martin Roth stated: “Our team has made a significant breakthrough in this field: for the first time, medical practitioners have the prospect of a real-time minimally invasive optical system for diagnostics that surgeons can use to carry out the biopsy and complete removal of potentially cancerous tissue in one single step in the future.”

Recent scientific evidence has shown that the determination of resection borders, i.e. the differentiation between healthy and cancerous tissue, can also take place without a previous laboratory assessment by the pathologist. Resection borders can now be determined directly on the patient using a fibre probe and the method of Raman spectroscopy. This method involves the evaluation of what is referred to as a ‘spectral fingerprint’, which is characteristic for the different types of tissue, similar to the method used by astrophysicists to measure the age and chemical composition of stars and gaseous nebulae. Roth added: “Today’s commercially available spectrographs can just about produce a spectrum for a single measuring point. Unlike astronomers, who can take their time to carefully study spectra sitting at the computer, surgeons in the process of undertaking operations require reliable information about the relevant tissue in the shortest time possible, i.e. a complete picture, preferably in real time.”

There is still a long way to go until this can be achieved. Scientists at AIP are collaborating with medical scientists from the Department of Dermatology, Venerology and Allergology at the Charité-Universitätsmedizin in Berlin to validate the method in order to demonstrate the reliability of imaging Raman spectroscopy – an important milestone on the path towards clinical trials involving an optimised device. Preliminary tests conducted at AIP on the principal feasibility of a future video Raman method are promising.

AIP researchers initially tested video Raman technology in a series of laboratory tests. A lump of sugar dissolving in water was used as the model system. The dissolution process was documented by video Raman. It took ten seconds to record a single image, followed by ten seconds readout time, resulting in an effectively achieved frame rate of twenty seconds. The time limitation was mainly caused by the technical properties of the detector chip used. Scientists are currently working on a faster camera system, which should enable the user-specific selection of the read-out area.

As a member of the Leibniz Research Alliance “Medical Technology”, AIP is committed to the transfer of knowledge and technology from astrophysics to medicine www.lfv-medizintechnik.de/.

This research is funded by the German Federal Ministry of Education and Research under the programmes VIP (03V0843), ZIK (03Z2AS1) and Zwanzig20 (03ZZ0423).

innoFSPEC Potsdam is a joint initiative of the Leibniz Institute for Astrophysics Potsdam (AIP) and the Physical Chemistry Group at the University of Potsdam. Their work focuses on basic research and the development of innovative technological solutions for fibre sensing and multi-channel spectroscopy. The centre for innovation competence combines the skills of new methods of chemical analysis with high-performance multi-object and multi-channel spectroscopy. In the process, it bases its methods on rapid developments in the field of photonics. In addition, innoFSPEC Potsdam is actively involved in promoting technology transfer, teaching and networking, and undertakes cooperative activities with regional and international industrial enterprises and research institutions.

 

Picture above: The images show a camera shot and the corresponding Raman image, i.e. the spatial dispersion of sucrose. Experts recognise the false colours as the intensity of the CH2 torsional vibration signal at 850 cm-1.

 

Further Information:

 

Science contact: Prof. Dr. Martin M. Roth, mmroth@aip.de, +49 331-7499 313

Media contact: Kerstin Mork, presse@aip.de, +49 331-7499 803

 

The key areas of research at the Leibniz Institute for Astrophysics Potsdam (AIP) are cosmic magnetic fields and extragalactic astrophysics. A considerable part of the institute's efforts aim at the development of research technology in the fields of spectroscopy, robotic telescopes, and e-science. The AIP is the successor of the Berlin Observatory founded in 1700 and of the Astrophysical Observatory of Potsdam founded in 1874. The latter was the world's first observatory to emphasize explicitly the research area of astrophysics. The AIP has been a member of the Leibniz Association since 1992.

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The secrets of dark energy

Large-Scale Structure of the Universe, observed with BOSS/SDSS-III (Credit: Daniel Eisenstein/SDSS-III).

The secrets of dark energy

14 July 2016. Astronomers announced this week the sharpest results yet on the properties of dark energy driving the accelerated expansion of the Universe. For their studies, scientists from the Ba...

BOSS measures the expansion rate of the Universe by determining the size of the baryonic acoustic oscillations (BAO) in the three-dimensional distribution of galaxies.  The original BAO size is determined by pressure waves that travelled through the young Universe up to when it was only 400,000 years old (the Universe is presently 13.8 billion years old), at which point they became frozen in the matter distribution of the Universe. The end result is that galaxies are preferentially separated by a characteristic distance, that astronomers call the acoustic scale.

The size of the acoustic scale at 13.8 billion years ago has been exquisitely determined from observations of the cosmic microwave background from the light emitted when the pressure waves became frozen.  Measuring the distribution of galaxies since that time allows astronomers to measure the acoustic scale at different times and to derive how dark matter and dark energy have competed to govern the rate of expansion of the Universe. Based on BOSS data, the acoustic scale has now been determined with an accuracy of less than one per cent from a point in time 7 billion years ago out to near the present day, two billion years ago.

Chia-Hsun Chuang, postdoctoral researcher at AIP, has contributed to this success by developing a new method to extract cosmological information from BOSS data. His approach jointly considers the cosmic microwave background and the observed three-dimensional galaxy distribution to derive cosmological parameters with minimum assumptions on dark energy. The method was applied to test different dark energy models and confirmed our current understanding of the expansion of the Universe to unprecedented accuracy.

In addition to studying the distribution of the galaxies themselves, AIP scientists Francisco-Shu Kitaura and Chia-Hsun Chuang for the first time also have had a closer look at the density minima in the BOSS data. These are the most quiet places in our Universe characterizing regions devoid of galaxies. By applying a similar analysis on these voids from the BOSS observations, the astronomers could determine the acoustic scale as the characteristic separation between the density minima.

The new BOSS galaxy map also reveals the distinctive signature of the coherent movement of galaxies toward regions of the Universe with more matter, due to the attractive force of gravity. Crucially, the observed amount of infall is explained well by the predictions of general relativity. This agreement supports the idea that the acceleration of the expansion rate is driven by a phenomenon at the largest cosmic scales, such as dark energy, rather than a breakdown of our gravitational theory.

 

Further information:

Science Contacts:

Dr. Chia-Hsun Chuang, +49 331 7499 639, achuang@aip.de
Dr. Francisco-Shu Kitaura, +49-331-7499 447, fkitaura@aip.de

Media Contact:
Dr. Gabriele Schönherr, +49 331-7499 804, presse@aip.de

 

Image:

This is one slice through the map of the large-scale structure of the Universe from the Sloan Digital Sky Survey and its Baryon Oscillation Spectroscopic Survey. Each dot in this picture indicates the position of a galaxy 6 billion years into the past. The image covers about 1/20th of the sky, a slice of the Universe 6 billion light-years wide, 4.5 billion light-years high, and 500 million light-years thick. Color indicates distance from Earth, ranging from yellow on the near side of the slice to purple on the far side. Galaxies are highly clustered, revealing superclusters and voids whose presence is seeded in the first fraction of a second after the Big Bang. This image contains 48,741 galaxies, about 3% of the full survey dataset. Grey patches are small regions without survey data.

Image credit: Daniel Eisenstein and SDSS-III.

 

About SDSS:

Funding for SDSS-III has been provided by the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation, the Participating Institutions, the National Science Foundation, and the U.S. Department of Energy Office of Science. The SDSS-III web site is http://www.sdss3.org/.

SDSS-III is managed by the Astrophysical Research Consortium for the Participating Institutions of the SDSS‑III Collaboration including the University of Arizona, the Brazilian Participation Group, Brookhaven National Laboratory, Carnegie Mellon University, University of Florida, the French Participation Group, the German Participation Group, Harvard University, the Instituto de Astrofisica de Canarias, the Michigan State/Notre Dame/JINA Participation Group, Johns Hopkins University, Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory, Max Planck Institute for Astrophysics, Max Planck Institute for Extraterrestrial Physics, New Mexico State University, New York University, Ohio State University, Pennsylvania State University, University of Portsmouth, Princeton University, the Spanish Participation Group, University of Tokyo, University of Utah, Vanderbilt University, University of Virginia, University of Washington, and Yale University.

 

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The key topics of the Leibniz Institute for Astrophysics Potsdam (AIP) are cosmic magnetic fields and extragalactic astrophysics. A considerable part of the institute's efforts aim at the development of research technology in the fields of spectroscopy, robotic telescopes, and e-science. The AIP is the successor of the Berlin Observatory founded in 1700 and of the Astrophysical Observatory of Potsdam founded in 1874. The latter was the world's first observatory to emphasize explicitly the research area of astrophysics. Since 1992 the AIP is a member of the Leibniz Association.

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Public presentation of Physics Student Awards

13 July 2016. On Thursday, July 14, starting at 5p.m. the Physikalische Gesellschaft zu Berlin invites to a public event in the Magnus-Haus in Berlin, where this year's Physics Student Awards wil...

Lisa Lehmann studied physics/astronomy at the University of Potsdam. In 2013 she picked an astrophysical topic for her Bachelor thesis about "Magnetic field measurements of eps Eridani", supervised at AIP, and published her results in a refereed journal later on. Her Master thesis addressed "Modeling Azimuthal Magnetic Field Bands on Cool Stars Using a Simple Model" under co-supervision of AIP and of the University of St. Andrews where she received a doctoral stipend afterwards.

The Physics Student Award of the Physikalische Gesellschaft zu Berlin (PGzB) was presented every year between 2004 and 2011, funded by the Wilhelm and Else Heraeus-Stiftung. Since 2013 the award is presented again, funded by the Siemens AG. The award ceremony is public.

 

Presentation of prizes 2016 (note: all talks in German)

Physikalische Gesellschaft zu Berlin e. V., Magnus-Haus, Am Kupfergraben 7, 10117 Berlin

Thursday, 14  July 2016, 5p.m. c.t.

Ceremonial address: Dr. Else Starkenburg, Leibniz Institute for Astrophysics Potsdam: Milky Way Archeology with Gaia

Awardees:

Theresa Höhne (TU Berlin)
Lisa Lehmann (U. Potsdam)
Sarah Loos (TU Berlin)
Pierre Volz (FU Berlin)
Alexander von Reppert (U. Potsdam)
Malte Wansleben (FU Berlin)
Sören Waßerroth (FU Berlin)
Berthold Wegner (HU Berlin)

More information: http://www.pgzb.tu-berlin.de/index.php?id=29

 

Media contact: Dr. Janine Fehlmeister, presse@aip.de, +49 331 7499 802

 

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IAU Symposium to take place in Potsdam

30. June 2016. At the 98th International Astronomical Union (IAU) Executive Committee meeting last May in Mexico the IAU Symposium 334 "Rediscovering our Galaxy" was approved to take place from the...

The aim of the IAU is to promote astronomy through international cooperation, and the key activity of the IAU is the organization of scientific meetings. Each year the IAU sponsors nine international IAU Symposia. In the last 25 years, only eight International IAU Symposia took place in Germany, with three of these (1992, 1993 and 2000) held in Potsdam. After 16 years, the IAU now returns to Germany with a symposium thanks to a successful application by AIP scientist Cristina Chiappini. The proposal was selected from more than 30 applications submitted for the coveted symposia.

The conference poster shows the Great Refractor, a historic telescope located in Potsdam, against the backdrop of a spectacular view of the Milky Way. "The poster communicates how new research on our Galaxy challenges conventional ideas on how it was formed," explains Cristina Chiappini, who also chairs the scientific organising team of the symposium. Marica Valentini, head of the local organizing committee adds: "We are honoured to have an IAU symposium in Potsdam for the first time since 2000."

The upcoming symposium confirms the leading role of the AIP in the research field of Galactic archaeology, i.e., the study of the motion and chemical composition of stars to uncover the history of our Milky Way.

Symposium website: https://iaus334.aip.de

 

Science contact: Dr. Cristina Chiappini, +49 331 7499-454, cristina.chiappini@aip.de

Media contact: Dr. Janine Fohlmeister, +49 331 7499-802, presse@aip.de

The key topics of the Leibniz Institute for Astrophysics Potsdam (AIP) are cosmic magnetic fields and extragalactic astrophysics. A considerable part of the institute's efforts aim at the development of research technology in the fields of spectroscopy, robotic telescopes, and e-science. The AIP is the successor of the Berlin Observatory founded in 1700 and of the Astrophysical Observatory of Potsdam founded in 1874. The latter was the world's first observatory to emphasize explicitly the research area of astrophysics. Since 1992 the AIP is a member of the Leibniz Association.

Read more ...