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IAU Symposium 354: Magnetfelder der Sonne und der Sterne

The Leibniz-Insitute for Astrophysics Potsdam (AIP) invites together with the New Jersey Institute of Technology to a symposium of the International Astronomical Union. It is going to take place du...

One of the puzzles of solar and stellar magnetism is related to the origin of extreme flare events. Despite the very weak magnetic cycle the Sun produced, in 2017 some of the strongest flares in the history of observations were seen. How are such observations related to the magnetism of stars that produce super-flares? What physical mechanism may cause such extreme events?  These and more questions will be discussed at the conference. The role of stellar magnetism in the interactions of stars and their planets is also of special interest for determining conditions for the habitability of planets.

The Symposium will include an open public session on solar eclipses and planetary transits. In particular, total solar eclipses provide high-resolution measurements of the magnetic field in the low corona, which cannot be obtained by any other means. The Symposium has thus been organized to embrace the total solar eclipse in Chile on July 2nd. In addition, this session will present a broad historical overview of solar eclipses, planetary transits, their role in astronomy, as well as a general talk on habitability of exoplanets.

More information and the registration form for the symposium can be found on the conference web page.

 

Web page: https://iaus354.aip.de

Scientific Contact: Prof. K. G. Strassmeier, 0331-7499-223, kstrassmeier@aip.de

Press Contact: Franziska Gräfe, 0331-7499 803, presse@aip.de

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Starry Night on November 15

An artist's impression of the X-ray telescope XMM-Newton. (Credit: ESA-C. Carreau)

Starry Night on November 15

The Leibniz Institute for Astrophysics Potsdam (AIP) invites to the next Starry Night in Babelsberg on Thursday, November 15, 2018, starting at 7:15 pm with a public lecture of Dr Iris Traulsen on ...

Until the 20th century, astrophysics were mainly influenced by observations in optical light. Extraterrestrial light of other wavelengths is shield by the Earth's atmosphere. As technological development enabled telescopes to rise above the Earth's atmosphere with rockets and satellites, new fields of research opened up. By now, hundreds of thousands of stars and galaxies are known to emit X-rays, from our sun to huge galaxy clusters far away. An international team, including the AIP, evaluates X-ray observations and publishes catalogs of objects, all of which were recorded using the European Space Telescope XMM-Newton. What imeans X-ray astrophysics? Which processes in the universe do we observe in X-rays? And what is the work of the team behind the catalogs? You are invited to a journey into hot and extreme areas of the universe that are hidden from the naked eye.

 

After the talk, we offer a tour over the AIP campus and – if the sight is clear – an observation with one of our historical reflecting telescopes.

We look forward to your visit!

Free entry, no previous registration necessary.

Location: AIP, An der Sternwarte 16, 14482 Potsdam

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AIP welcomes nominations for 2019 Wempe Award

7th November 2018. The Leibniz Institute for Astrophysics in Potsdam, Germany (AIP), is calling for nominations and applications for the Johann Wempe Award 2019.

In honour of Professor Johann Wempe (1906–1980), the last director of the former Astrophysical Observatory of Potsdam (AOP), the AIP grants the Johann Wempe award to outstanding scientists.

 

The award consists of a stipend to facilitate a research visit to the AIP of up to six months. The recipient may be either a promising young scientist who has already made notable achievements or a senior scientist, in recognition of his or her life's work. The recipient is expected to enrich the scientific life of the institute through a series of lectures in their area of expertise.

 

See also: http://www.aip.de/en/institute/johann-wempe-award/nominations/announcement-2019

Application and nomination materials must arrive no later than December 31, 2018.

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Historical star data digitally available

Exposure of Andromeda nebula, taken on September 30, 1913. At this time, it was still unknown that Andromeda is a galaxy outside the Milky Way. (Credit: Hamburg Observatory/APPLAUSE)

Historical star data digitally available

The large-scale digitization project APPLAUSE provides historical photographic plates from more than one hundred years of astronomical observation of numerous observatories online. The digital arch...

For more than 100 years astronomy has used photography to explore planets, stars, galaxies and other astronomical objects. At the end of the 1980s, digital receivers almost completely replaced the classic photographic plates. Thanks to their lifetimes of more than 100 years, the latter are above all very reliable storage.

Hundreds of thousands of such astronomical images were dormant in the archives of German observatories, waiting for their second, now digital, scientific evaluation with modern computer software.

The Leibniz Institute for Astrophysics in Potsdam (AIP) alone has about 20,000 photographic plates of observations in the period from 1893 to 1970. Only through digitization can these treasures be fully analyzed. The abundance of information contained in the old photographic images allows us to take a look into the past decades and with the aid of modern computer programs we can measure billions of stars much more accurately and objectively. The availability of data over a period of more than 130 years allows science to take a more complete look at long-term phenomena.

Together with the Hamburg University, the Friedrich Alexander University (FAU) Erlangen-Nuremberg and the University of Tartu (Estonia), the digitization of these photo plates was tackled.

In the third data release, the web archive now contains over 70,000 scans of photographic plates from the holdings of four observatories in Germany and Estonia. In addition to stars, the objects observed include planets, comets, and asteroids. Altogether, information on three and a half billion objects was extracted from the plates and identified in comparison with modern astronomical catalogues. To do this, the scientists first assigned the sky plates to the scanned plates – with the help of PyPlate, a specially developed software. This compares the positions of the objects on the scans of each photographic plate with known constellations and calibrates the magnitudes of the objects which are affected by the plate emulsion. This step achieves comparability of the data with other catalogs. In addition, the team also manually transcribed and digitally recorded the observation notes and logbooks. Thanks to this information, the historical data can be used for scientific studies, e.g. for environmental parameters such as air temperature and observation quality, which are included in the data evaluation. At the same time, the scans of the observation logbooks also illustrate the astronomical mode of operation of the past century and are thus also of interest to historians.

The joint project of the Leibniz Institute for Astrophysics Potsdam, the Hamburg University, the Dr Remeis Observatory Bamberg, and the Tartu Observatory is funded by the German Research Foundation (DFG).

 

Various scans of historical photographic plates, logbooks and observation notes from the APPLAUSE archive (Credit: AIP/APPLAUSE)

 

 

Archive access and further information https://www.plate-archive.org/applause/

Scientific Contact Dr. Harry Enke, 0331-7499 433, henke@aip.de

Media contact Franziska Gräfe, 0331-7499 803, presse@aip.de

 

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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New professor for Stellar Physics and Exoplanets

Prof. Dr. Katja Poppenhäger. (Credit: AIP)

New professor for Stellar Physics and Exoplanets

18th October 2018. Prof. Dr. Katja Poppenhäger, expert on planets around other Suns, was successfully appointed as the head of the stellar physics and stellar activity section at the Leibniz Insti...

The study of planets around other stars is one of the most rapidly developing research fields in modern astronomy. Whether those planets might harbour life depends on the environment and stability of the physical conditions. Katja Poppenhäger’s focus is thereby on the study of the combined evolution of planets and their host stars. Her group conducts research into several aspects of star-exoplanet systems like stellar magnetic activity, exoplanetary atmospheres and the formation of protoplanetary disks by using observations from space telescopes at wavelengths from X-rays to the infrared, as well as ground-based data.

“Planets around other stars often experience space weather conditions very different from our rather tepid Earth. Especially in systems where the expected habitable zone is located close to the star, the magnetic activity of the star can influence the chances for life to develop. In such systems it is possible that the atmosphere of habitable-zone planets gets completely stripped away,” says Poppenhäger. “One question we would like to answer is how long the atmosphere of such a planet can survive.”

Her expertise fits in perfectly with the research area “Cosmic Magnetic Fields” at AIP, which is dedicated to the exploration of solar, stellar, and galactic magnetic fields, along with the underlying magnetohydrodynamic mechanisms that generate them. By appointing Katja Poppenhäger, the AIP is also strengthening its teaching activities in the educational programs at the University of Potsdam as part of the Bachelor and Master study programs in Physics and Astrophysics, and opening up opportunities for various collaborations.

Previously, Poppenhäger was a lecturer in astrophysics at Queen’s University Belfast, UK. She received her PhD from Hamburg University, Germany in 2011. In 2012 she moved to the Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics, Cambridge, USA and was awarded a Sagan Fellowship 2013 to study exoplanet systems through high-energy observations, funded by NASA’s Exoplanet Exploration Program. Poppenhäger has successfully led observing programs with space telescopes like Chandra, Hubble and XMM-Newton, and is looking forward to exploring other worlds using the cutting-edge telescope facilities of the AIP.

Scientific Contact Prof. Dr. Katja Poppenhäger, 0331-7499 521,  kpoppenhaeger@aip.de

Media contact Franziska Gräfe, 0331-7499 803, presse@aip.de

 

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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