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A Curious Cosmic Collision

The surroundings of the interacting galaxy NGC 5291 (annotated).

A Curious Cosmic Collision

9 December 2015. New images from ESO’s Very Large Telescope at the Paranal Observatory show the spectacular aftermath of a 360 million year old cosmic collision in great detail. Among the debris ...

The galaxy NGC 5291N is providing astronomers with an excellent opportunity to learn more about similar galaxies that are expected to be common in the early Universe, but are normally too faint and distant to be observed by current telescopes. The MUSE observations revealed unexpected oxygen and hydrogen emission lines in the outskirts of NGC 5291N.

“The ability to detect and measure such faint gas emission in spectra is unique to MUSE at the VLT”, says Peter Weilbacher from the Leibniz Institute for Astrophysics Potsdam and co-investigator of the MUSE science verification program.

The Multi Unit Spectroscopic Explorer (MUSE) is a integral field 3D-spectrograph at the Very Large Telescope (VLT) of the European Southern Observatory at Paranal (Chile). Integral field spectrography collects a spectrum at every point on the sky, providing a powerful three-dimensional view of the target. interests of AIP astronomers are the spectroscopic analyses of individual objects in nearby galaxies and to study galaxy mergers. AIP developed the data reduction pipeline, has designed and built the MUSE calibration unit, and performed acceptance tests.

 

(Click picture to enlarge)

The full science release, more information, images and videos are published on the ESO website:
https://www.eso.org/public/germany/news/eso1547/

Caption: The new VLT images also show the elliptical galaxy NGC 5291, a hazy, golden oval dominating the centre of this image. It is located nearly 200 million light-years away in the constellation of Centaurus (The Centaur). Over 360 million years ago, NGC 5291 was involved in a dramatic and violent collision as another galaxy travelling at immense speeds barrelled into its core. The cosmic crash ejected huge streams of gas into nearby space, which later coalesced into a ring formation around NGC 5291. Over time, material in this ring gathered and collapsed into dozens of star-forming regions and several dwarf galaxies, revealed as pale blue and white regions scattered around NGC 5291 in this new image from the FORS instrument, mounted on the VLT. The most massive and luminous clump of material, to the right of NGC 5291, is the dwarf galaxy NGC 5291N. NGC 5291 is currently also interacting more gently with MCG-05-33-005 — or the Seashell Galaxy — the unusual comma-shaped galaxy appearing to leech off NGC 5291’s luminous core. (Credit: ESO)


Publication: This research was presented in a paper entitled “Ionization processes in a local analogue of distant clumpy galaxies: VLT MUSE IFU spectroscopy and FORS deep images of the TDG NGC 5291N”, by J. Fensch et al., to appear in the journal Astronomy & Astrophysics.

The team is composed of J. Fensch (Laboratoire AIM Paris-Saclay, CEA/IRFU/SAp, Universite Paris Diderot, Gif-sur-Yvette, France [CEA]), P.-A. Duc (CEA) , P. M. Weilbacher (Leibniz-Institut für Astrophysik, Potsdam, Germany), M. Boquien (University of Cambridge, United Kingdon; Universidad de Antofagasta, Antofagasta, Chile) and E. Zackrisson (Uppsala University, Uppsala, Sweden).

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Perspectives of Astrophysics in Germany

7 December 2015. From December 7 to 9 the state of astrophysical research in Germany will be presented and strategies for the next decade will be discussed at a workshop organized by the Council of...

The focus is on the participation of research groups and institutions at large, mostly international projects. Results of the workshop will be incorporated in the strategy discussions with funding agencies, such as the Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft DFG, the Federal Ministry for Research and Education BMBF and the Ministry for Economics affairs and Energy, who is in charge of the national space programme. Besides the strategy discussion further thematic blocks address specific astrophysical research topics and infrastructures. Each of these themes is organized by a group of established scientists in the German community. The role of the German astronomy in space programs and big multilateral projects will be addressed. The goal of the meeting is to identify key issues of astrophysical research in the years 2015-2030.

Matthias Steinmetz, president of the German Astronomical Society (Astronomische Gesellschaft, AG) and scientific chairman of the AIP states: “The participants of this workshop bring together the concentrated knowledge in the field of astrophysics in Germany. With this expertise we will have the chance not only to identify future key issues of our field of research, but also to carve out the means and measures to answer some of the key questions of astrophysics in the years to come.”

The Council of German Observatories (Rat Deutscher Sternwarten, RDS) is an organ of the German Astronomical Society and represents the common interests of all German astronomical institutes against funding agencies, governments and international organisations. It currently has 38 member institutes.

Further information on the RDS meeting are available online:

https://meetings.aip.de/rds2015

 

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

 

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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Leibniz Institute for Astrophysics Potsdam (AIP) validated by excellent evaluation result

30 November 2015. The Leibniz Institute for Astrophysics Potsdam (AIP) was given excellent marks in the independent evaluation process by the Leibniz Association, which takes place every seven year...

One appraisal of the evaluation committee was that: “In terms of its expertise inastrophysics, AIP is firmly and broadly based. This is one of its great strengths that enables it to implement a comprehensive, cross-disciplinary research strategy. At the same time, AIP has defined appropriate crosscutting themes which allow it to set priorities. The institute is encouraged to continue this path in order to maintain and further develop its standing as an internationally competitive research institution.”

The review board valued AIP’s research and development programme as very good to excellent. Especially impressive to the committee was the broad network of the AIP on national and international scale and the institute’s success in taking part in big transnational research projects. The AIP is, for example, taking the lead in developing multi-object Spectrograph 4MOST, an instrument for an ESO telescope. Some individual research groups, for example, the “Milky Way and the Local Volume”, were noted to be one of the best in the world. The institute’s commitment in developing software for big instrumental projects like its involvement in the 2nd generation VLT instrument MUSE, was also positively noted by the review board. The AIP is becoming known as a worldwide leader for 3D optical spectroscopy.

To illustrate the above statement, the AIP is already involved in upcoming projects: The group “High-Resolution Spectroscopy and Polarimetry“ is currently working on a highly promising design for a spectropolarimeter for the European Extremely Large Telescope (E-ELT). As polarimetry is often a neglected observing mode in modern large telescopes, AIP may play a key role here.

AIP’s collaborative relations with universities and non-university partners, which are named to be diverse and productive, also impressed the evaluation committee. The committee also welcomed the institute’s engagement in knowledge and technology transfer.

The committee and the senate made two main recommendations: As the importance of the technical section is fundamental for AIP’s strategic development and competitiveness, a plan to enlarge the personal in this section is supported by the review board. Another recommendation is in response to the limited office capacity at the AIP, which has long lagged behind actual needs.Additional office space is urgently required. Consequently, the ongoing plans to construct a new, bilaterally-financed building are strongly supported.

Prof. Dr. Matthias Steinmetz, scientific chairman of the AIP states: “Due to the enthusiastic endorsement of the Institute strategy by the Evaluation Commission, the Institute sees itself strengthened to pursue along the path paved in the recent years and to profile the institute as an international centre for astrophysical research. The proposal of the institute and the endorsement by the evaluation commission and senate to strengthen the technical section by additional means of institutional funding by the federal and state governments is an essential part of this strategy.”

Every seven years, Leibniz institutes are evaluated. The evaluation of the AIP was carried out in January 2015.The evaluation committee brings together well-known and highly reputable experts from different astrophysical and technology related departments. The evaluation criteria focuses primarily on scientific performance, but there is also the prerequisite that a coherent research strategy is in place to secure funding as a non-university institute with a trans-regional, national and international role.

The full statement of the senate of the Leibniz Association is available online:

http://www.leibniz-gemeinschaft.de/ueber-uns/evaluierung/das-evaluierungsverfahren-des-senats/senatsstellungnahmen/

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.

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AIP-Thinkshop honoured with Municipal Award

11. November 2015. The Potsdam Thinkshop "Satellite Galaxies and Dwarfs in the Local Group" of the Leibniz Institute for Astrophysics Potsdam (AIP) has been awarded the 5th biennial Potsdam Confere...

The eleventh edition of the AIP Thinkshop series was devoted to cosmology, specifically dwarf galaxies. Around 130 scientists from around the world met in August 2014 for six days on the Telegrafenberg to gather information and exchange views on the latest state of cosmological research.

The jury was impressed by the high-caliber scientific event, and the conference scored high in almost all criteria: including the scientific and social program and the perceived image of Potsdam. Gender balance, family planning and issues regarding minority representation, were also highlighted by the jury for comendation: participants from developing countries were present and child care was offered. Following the conference, scientific publications from research collaborations have emerged that are based on contacts and scientific questions raised during the conference.

Press release 11th AIP Thinkshop

 

Science contact: Dr. Noam Libeskind, +49 331-7499 641, nlibeskind@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.

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Astronomers and Solar Physicists meet at Telegrafenberg

Solar spot. (Credit: AIP)

Astronomers and Solar Physicists meet at Telegrafenberg

26 October 2015. The Leibniz Institute for Astrophysics Potsdam (AIP) welcomes 60 Astronomers and Solar physicists for its 12th Thinkshop under the title "The Dynamic Sun – Exploring the Many Fac...

Erupting filaments, surges, flares, and coronal mass ejections are prominent examples of the dynamic Sun. Multi-wavelength and multi-instrument observations have the potential to reveal highly energetic physical processes on the Sun reaching from the photosphere, over the chromosphere and the transition region, to the corona and beyond. Solar physicists have nowadays access to a suite of new ground-based observing facilities including, for example, the 1.5-meter GREGOR solar telescope at the Observatorio del Teide, Tenerife, Spain, the European Low Frequency Array (LOFAR), the Atacama Large Millimeter/Submillimeter Array (ALMA) in Chile, and the Coronal Multi-Channel Polarimeter for Slovakia (COMP-S) at Lomnicky Peak Observatory. A powerful fleet of space missions adds more capabilities to investigate magnetic fields, complex plasma flows, and accelerated particle, and thermal properties of solar eruptive events.

In the tradition of the series of »Potsdam Thinkshops«, instrument specialists, observers, modellers, and theorists are going to exchange ideas, to stimulate discussion, to initiate future collaborations among participants, and to attract new users of instruments by showcasing the capabilities.

Further information on the 12th AIP Thinkshop.


Science contact: apl Prof. Dr. Carsten Denker, cdenker@aip.de, +49 331-7499 297

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

 

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 ...