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Grant for research on satellite galaxies

Dr. Marcel Pawlowski. Credit: Jamie Kanehisa

Grant for research on satellite galaxies

27 November 2020. Dr Marcel Pawlowski from the Leibniz Institute for Astrophysics Potsdam (AIP) receives funding in the Leibniz competition to establish a junior research group dedicated to the mot...

Our immediate cosmic neighbourhood is called the Local Group. It consists of two large spiral galaxies, the Milky Way and Andromeda. Both are several million light years apart and surrounded by dozens of smaller satellite galaxies of lower mass. The cosmological standard model provides information about the evolution of the universe from the Big Bang to the galaxies of today. On cosmologically large scales - i.e. applied to the universe as a whole - this model is very successful. It makes precise predictions, which have been confirmed to the percentage range. However, the model implies that most of the total mass of the known universe is made up of the so called dark matter. Since it is a source of gravity, it has a direct effect on the motion and interaction of galaxies - thus determining the choreography. Simulations show that the many small satellite galaxies should arrange and move almost randomly around massive galaxies. However, much more ordered distributions were observed in the Local Group.

The funded project of Dr Marcel Pawlowski and his team will use simulations as well as observations and test the cosmological standard model on the scale of the satellite galaxies. Do they dance as chaotically as predicted, or do they also follow a more ordered cosmic choreography and what is its origin? "The project will either reconcile the existing cosmological theory with current observational data - or reinforce the current discrepancy and thus provide information about the nature of dark matter," says Dr Marcel Pawlowski, explaining the research group's goal. The funding will extend over 5 years.

Dr Marcel Pawlowski is a Schwarzschild Fellow at the Leibniz Institute for Astrophysics Potsdam (AIP) since 2018. Prior to that he was a NASA Hubble Fellow at the University of California in Irvine and a postdoctoral fellow at Case Western Reserve University in Cleveland, Ohio.

The programme "Leibniz-Junior Research Groups" is one of four funding programmes of the Leibniz Competition and is aimed at postdocs with an excellent scientific career. As leaders of junior research groups, they are given the opportunity to realise their own research projects and further establish themselves in their respective research field. With this funding format, the Leibniz Association offers them attractive research conditions and networking opportunities.


Science contact

Dr. Marcel Pawlowski, 0331 7499 342, mpawlowski@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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Virtual Babelsberg Starry Night on 19 November

A young stellar cluster in the star forming region 30 Doradus. Credit: NASA, ESA, and F. Paresce (INAF-IASF, Bologna, Italy), R. O'Connell (University of Virginia, Charlottesville), and the Wide Field Camera 3 Science Oversight Committee

Virtual Babelsberg Starry Night on 19 November

The next lecture of the virtual Babelsberg Starry Nights of the Leibniz Institute for Astrophysics Potsdam (AIP) will be broadcasted on Thursday, 19 November 2020 on the YouTube channel "Urknall, W...

On Thursday, starting at 6 p.m., the lecture on the topic "The origin of stars" from the Babelsberg Starry Night series will be online. Dr. Philipp Girichidis, researcher in the Cosmology and High-Energy Astrophysics section at the AIP, will explain how stars are born,  where in the interstellar medium and under what physical conditions stars and stellar clusters can form, and will also go into the characteristics of molecular clouds. The lecture will be held in German.

This season, the Babelsberg Starry Nights will not take place on site at the AIP, but will come straight to your home: on the 3rd Thursday of each month from 6 p.m. the lectures are available at

https://www.aip.de/babelsberger-sternennaechte

and can be viewed at any time afterwards.

 

Further dates: Babelsberg Starry Nights

 

 

Flyer:

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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Excellent Handiwork

Leander Leibnitz at a turning machine in the precision engineering workshop. Credit: AIP

Excellent Handiwork

For many years, precision mechanics have been trained in the precision engineering workshop of the Leibniz Institute for Astrophysics Potsdam (AIP) according to the principles of the Chamber of Cra...

"The team at the precision engineering workshop of the AIP produces components from mechanical drawings and 3D models. They are mainly manufactured on machines equipped with modern control technology and software, but also on conventional machines. In most cases, high-precision individual parts have to be manufactured, using mainly aluminium alloys and stainless steel, but also other metal alloys or plastics" explains Jens Paschke, instructor and head of the precision engineering workshop.

The workshop is part of AIP’s Technical Section, which works closely with the scientific sections to create the instrumental prerequisites needed for astronomical research. It provides technical support for the development, design, manufacturing, integration, verification, and maintenance of instrumentation projects. Along with the construction and commissioning of new scientific instruments, the section’s tasks include the maintenance and improvement of those already in use, and the care of historical instruments. Two precision mechanics are also trained per training cycle. „The special thing about the training and work at the AIP for me is the variety that the development and extension of astronomical instruments brings with it. As a precision mechanic, I have to think about how to clamp each new workpiece in advance, which machining operations I do first and which ones I do last in order to achieve the desired result," says Leander Leibnitz.

The crafts competition is organised by the German Chamber of Crafts and offers young craftsmen and women the opportunity to prove themselves as the best in their profession. Leander Leibnitz completed his apprenticeship in January 2020 and came top in the state of Brandenburg, qualifying him for participation in the national competition.

 

Interview with Leander Leibnitz and Cornelius Lübcke, who successfully completed their apprenticeship in January 2020

https://www.aip.de/en/news/personnel-and-prizes/working-with-your-head-and-your-hands-apprenticeship-at-the-aip

 

Media contact

Dr. Kristin Riebe, 0331 7499 803, presse@aip.de

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First observations: Fifth generation of the Sloan Digital Sky Survey

Sky image is a single field of SDSS-V observations. The purple circle indicates the telescope’s field-of-view on the sky (full Moon as a size comparison). SDSS-V simultaneously observes 500 targets at a time within a circle of this size. Credit: see below

First observations: Fifth generation of the Sloan Digital Sky Survey

3 November 2020. The groundbreaking all-sky survey collected its very first observations of the cosmos. It will increase the understanding of formation and evolution of galaxies like our Milky Way....

The Sloan Digital Sky Survey (SDSS) started in 2000 and has been one of the most-successful and influential surveys in the history of astronomy, creating the most-detailed three-dimensional maps of the universe ever made, with deep multi-color images of one third of the sky, and spectra for more than three million astronomical objects. The just-launched fifth generation (SDSS-V) will continue the tradition set by the survey's previous generations, with a focus on the ever-changing night sky and the physical processes occurring in the objects that comprise our view of it. It will operate out of both Apache Point Observatory in New Mexico, home of the survey’s original 2.5-meter telescope, and Carnegie’s Las Campanas Observatory in Chile, where it uses the 2.5-meter du Pont telescope.

The AIP is a full member of SDSS with usage rights for all its researchers and graduate students. “AIP participation, originally focused on the APOGEE infrared spectrograph, which during SDSS-IV was pioneer in combining South and North observations for the study of the Milky Way, will now expand to study Milky Way galaxy analogs as well thanks to the new SDSS-V data”, says Prof. Dr. Matthias Steinmetz, AIP’s representative in the advisory council of the SDSS collaboration.

SDSS-V will focus on three primary areas of investigation, each exploring different aspects of the cosmos using different spectroscopic tools. Together, these three projects will observe more than six million objects in the sky, and monitor changes in more than a million of those objects over time. The gained data will be publicly available. The survey’s Local Volume Mapper will enhance our understanding of galaxy formation and evolution by probing the interactions between the stars that make up galaxies and the interstellar gas and dust that is dispersed between them. The Milky Way Mapper will reveal the physics of stars in our Milky Way, the diverse architectures of its star and planetary systems, and the chemical enrichment of our galaxy since the early universe. The Black Hole Mapper will measure masses and growth over cosmic time of the supermassive black holes that reside in the hearts of galaxies as well as the smaller black holes left behind when stars die.

“It is great news that SDSS-V has managed to go ahead despite the difficulties the Covid-19 pandemic brought to all of us. We are eager to work with the SDSS-V new Milky Way data soon, and at the same time trace the best complementary strategies for 4MOST, which will provide in a couple of years the largest Gaia spectroscopic follow-up”, says Dr. Cristina Chiappini, AIP’s lead scientist in SDSS-V.

“Recently, the first eROSITA all-sky X-ray image was released to the public showing an amazing rich content of new X-ray emitting objects. We are in need of SDSS-V to fully exploit the new image of the X-ray sky, and already the very first test plates obtained at Apache point revealed spectra of sources we are looking for”, says Dr. Axel Schwope who represents the AIP in the Collaboration Council and leads the SDSS-V subprogram on Compact Binary stars.

SDSS is managed by the astrophysical research consortium for the Participating Institutions of the SDSS Collaboration. SDSS-V is funded primarily by member institutions along with grants from the Alfred P Sloan Foundation, the U.S. National Science Foundation, and the Heising-Simons Foundation.

This image shows a sampling of data from those first SDSS-V data. The central sky image is a single field of SDSS-V observations. The purple circle indicates the telescope’s field-of-view on the sky, with the full Moon shown as a size comparison. SDSS-V simultaneously observes 500 targets at a time within a circle of this size. The left panel shows the optical-light spectrum of a quasar – a supermassive black hole at the center of a distant galaxy, which is surrounded by a disk of hot, glowing gas. The purple blob is an SDSS image of the light from this disk, which in this dataset spans about 1 arcsecond on the sky, or the width of a human hair as seen from about 21 meters (63 feet) away. The right panel shows the image and spectrum of a white dwarf – the left-behind core of a low-mass star (like the Sun) after the end of its life. Credit: Hector Ibarra Medel, Jon Trump, Yue Shen, Gail Zasowski, and the SDSS-V Collaboration. Central background image: unWISE / NASA/JPL-Caltech / D. Lang (Perimeter Institute). / University of Surrey


 

Science contact AIP

Prof. Dr. Matthias Steinmetz, +49 331 7499 801, msteinmetz@aip.de

Dr. Cristina Chiappini, +49 331 7499 454, cristina.chiappini@aip.de

Dr. Axel Schwope, +49 331 7499 232, aschwope@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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Protective layer: Magnetic field of the Jellyfish galaxy JO206

The galaxy JO206 and its ordered magnetic field (green lines) along the gas tail. The pink objects characterize the H-alpha emission, which possibly gives an indication of the formation of new stars. Credit: ESO/GASP collaboration, adapted

Protective layer: Magnetic field of the Jellyfish galaxy JO206

26 October 2020. Gas tails give them their jellyfish-like appearance: So-called jellyfish galaxies are difficult to study because of their low brightness. An international research team has now gai...

Jellyfish galaxies are galaxies that crash into the centre of a galaxy cluster, forming a gas tail. This is created as the galaxy moves towards the centre of the cluster, pushing the interstellar gas in the opposite direction. In this way the galaxies acquire their characteristic appearance, which is reminiscent of a jellyfish. In earlier studies, it has already been proved that this gas tail can lead to star formation - but it was not clear until now which factors could cause this. It is known, for example, that magnetic fields in galaxies can contribute to star formation. But do they also play a role in the gas tails of jellyfish galaxies?

In a recent publication in the scientific journal Nature Astronomy, a German-Italian team is now getting to the bottom of this question. Ancla Müller and Prof. Dr. Ralf-Jürgen Dettmar from the Ruhr University Bochum describe the results together with Prof. Dr. Christoph Pfrommer and Dr. Martin Sparre from the Leibniz Institute for Astrophysics Potsdam (AIP), together with colleagues from the INAF - Italian National Institute of Astrophysics in Padua, Cagliari and Bologna. They analysed the magnetic field structure of the Jellyfish galaxy JO206 and could show that not only did the galactic disk have a strong magnetic field, but so did the gas tail. From the unusually high proportion of polarised radiation, they were able to conclude that the field is aligned very precisely along the tail. "As the galaxy falls on the centre of the galaxy cluster, an interaction takes place with the medium between the individual galaxies and its magnetic field," explains Ancla Müller. This process could amplify the magnetic field of JO206 and also generate the high proportion of polarised radiation.

In order to explain these unusual parameters, computer simulations were then used, by means of which the scientists developed a theory: According to this theory, JO206 rushes at high speed to the centre of the galaxy cluster, causing the magnetic fields to interact, and hot winds from the medium between the galaxies to collects as accumulations of plasma. Parts of this mixture of ions, electrons and neutral particles condense on the outer layers of the gas tail, where they mix with the surrounding matter. "As the jellyfish galaxy flies through the galaxy cluster, its magnetic field wraps around the galaxy like a mantle and is further strengthened and smoothed by the high speed of the galaxy and by cooling effects", explains Prof. Pfrommer. The magnetic layer protects the gas tail from falling apart. According to these results, there would be enough material for star formation in the gas tail of JO206. Further measurements on other objects must now show whether this theory can be confirmed.

 

A visualization of a simulation of a jellyfish galaxy interacting with the hot magnetized gas in a galaxy cluster. Due to the fast motion of the galaxy, the magnetic field (with the 3 components on the left side) is superimposed on the galaxy (density distribution on the right side) and in the pull of the galaxy the magnetic field lines are aligned at the tail of the galaxy (as seen in the middle magnetic field image). Dense gas can survive if it is transported downstream, because the hot gas in the wind cools down due to the interaction. Credit: AIP/M. Sparre

 

Science contact AIP

Prof. Dr. Christoph Pfrommer, 0331 7499 513, cpfrommer@aip.de

Media contact

Franziska Gräfe, 0331 7499 803, presse@aip.de

Publication

Ancla Müller, Bianca Poggianti, Christoph Pfrommer, Björn Adebahr, Paolo Serra, Alessandro Ignesti, Martin Sparre, Myriam Gitti, Ralf-Jürgen Dettmar, Benedetta Vulcani, Alessia Moretti (2020): Highly ordered magnetic fields in the tail of the jellyfish galaxy JO206. Nature Astronomy

DOI: 10.1038/s41550-020-01234-7

https://www.nature.com/articles/s41550-020-01234-7

Press release of the Ruhr-Universität Bochum

https://news.rub.de/english/press-releases/2020-10-26-astronomy-magnetic-fields-jellyfish-galaxy-jo206

 

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.

Read more ...