Scientific Highlights

A new, spectacular view of the Large Magellanic Cloud

A new, spectacular view of the Large Magellanic Cloud

by Sarah Hönig last modified Sep 13, 2019 09:17 AM

13 September 2019. The VISTA survey of the Magellanic Clouds, led by Maria-Rosa Cioni of the Leibniz Institute for Astrophysics Potsdam (AIP), reveals a remarkable new image of the Large Magellanic Cloud. The telescope, part of ESO’s Paranal observatory, has been surveying this galaxy and its sibling, the Small Magellanic Cloud, as well as their surroundings, in unprecedented detail for the last decade.

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Chemical element potassium detected in an exoplanet atmosphere

Chemical element potassium detected in an exoplanet atmosphere

by Sarah Hönig last modified Sep 16, 2019 04:25 PM

4 September 2019. A team of astronomers led by AIP PhD student Engin Keles detected the chemical element potassium in the atmosphere of an exoplanet, for the first time with overwhelming significance and applying high-resolution spectroscopy. The Potsdam Echelle Polarimetric and Spectroscopic Instrument (PEPSI) at the Large Binocular Telescope (LBT) in Arizona was used to study the atmosphere on the Jupiter-like exoplanet HD189733b.

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New 3D view of the Milky Way reveals the central Galactic bar

New 3D view of the Milky Way reveals the central Galactic bar

by Sarah Hönig last modified Aug 27, 2019 10:41 AM

16 July 2019. By combining the results from ESA’s Gaia mission’s second data release (DR2) with complementary observations, scientists under the leadership of the Leibniz Institute for Astrophysics Potsdam (AIP) and the University of Barcelona present a map of our Milky Way that shows the central bar structure.

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eROSITA X-ray telescope launch

eROSITA X-ray telescope launch

by Sarah Hönig last modified Jul 15, 2019 12:33 PM

– Update 13 July 2019 – eROSITA, the main payload for the Russian-German “Spectrum-X-Gamma” mission, has been launched with a Proton-M rocket from the Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan on 13 July. eROSITA will constrain the evolutionary properties of dark energy and discover millions of active galactic nuclei and thousands of compact objects in our Milky Way.

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Nova rediscovered after more than 2,000 years

Nova rediscovered after more than 2,000 years

by Sarah Hönig last modified Apr 30, 2019 03:27 PM

29 April 2019. Modern astronomical observations now discovered the remnant of a nova explosion whose position corresponds to a celestial phenomenon described in ancient Chinese records. The discovery thus confirms one of the oldest astronomical observations outside the solar system.

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Nearby galaxy shows how the young, dark Universe became illuminated

Nearby galaxy shows how the young, dark Universe became illuminated

by Sarah Hönig last modified Jul 17, 2019 11:43 AM

25 March 2019. A team of astronomers found a nearby star-forming galaxy to emit energetic photons in a similar way to the first generation of galaxies. These first galaxies turned the Universe transparent, less than one billion years after the Big Bang.

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Stellar Cartography

Stellar Cartography

by Kristin Riebe last modified Mar 19, 2019 04:57 PM

19 March 2019. The Potsdam Echelle Polarimetric and Spectroscopic Instrument (PEPSI) at the Large Binocular Telescope (LBT) in Arizona released its first image of the surface magnetic field of another star. In a paper in the European journal Astronomy & Astrophysics, the PEPSI team presents a Zeeman- Doppler-Image of the surface of the magnetically active star II Pegasi.

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Milky Way and beyond: Next Generation Survey Telescope

Milky Way and beyond: Next Generation Survey Telescope

by Franziska Gräfe last modified Mar 08, 2019 09:40 AM

6 March 2019. The 4-metre Multi-Object Spectroscopic Telescope 4MOST will be the largest spectroscopic survey facility of its kind in the Southern hemisphere and address today’s most pressing astronomical questions in the fields of Galactic archaeology, high-energy astrophysics, galaxy evolution and cosmology. With the publication of 13 papers, the consortium introduces 4MOST to the scientific community.

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Energetic electrons produced by shocks on the Sun

Energetic electrons produced by shocks on the Sun

by Franziska Gräfe last modified Mar 01, 2019 04:29 PM

22 February 2019. Our Sun is an active star. Its activity manifests not only in the well-known 11-year Sun spot cycle but also in terms of short lived eruptions in its outer, hot atmosphere: the corona.

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Disentangling starlight

Disentangling starlight

by Franziska Gräfe last modified Mar 01, 2019 02:54 PM

31 January 2019. Although they look like fuzzy patches of light, distant galaxies are actually made up of billions of stars and other astronomical objects. Telescopes are rarely powerful enough to study individual stars in galaxies except for those closest to the Milky Way, but a team of scientists has now used the MUSE instrument on ESO’s Very Large Telescope (VLT) to resolve the stars in the spiral galaxy NGC 300.

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Historical star data digitally available

Historical star data digitally available

by Franziska Gräfe last modified Mar 01, 2019 04:47 PM

24 October 2018. 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 archive, equipped with special functions by the Leibniz Institute for Astrophysics Potsdam (AIP), not only preserves the historical inventory, but also offers the observation data of that time in a form that can be used for today's research. For example, time gaps in studies of long-term variable stars can be filled.

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Journey to the Beginning of Time

Journey to the Beginning of Time

by Franziska Gräfe last modified Mar 01, 2019 01:04 PM

8 October 2018. With the Pristine survey, an international team is looking for and researching the oldest stars in our Universe. The goal is to learn more about the young Universe right after the Big Bang. In a recent publication, the scientists have reported on the discovery of a particularly metal-poor star: a messenger from the distant past.

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The glowing Universe

The glowing Universe

by Franziska Gräfe last modified Apr 04, 2019 02:15 PM

1 October 2018. Using the MUSE spectrograph at the Very Large Telescope of the European Southern Observatory (ESO), scientists have uncovered vast cosmic reservoirs of atomic hydrogen surrounding distant galaxies. The international team led by Lutz Wisotzki, Professor of Observational Cosmology at the Leibniz Institute for Astrophysics Potsdam (AIP) and the University of Potsdam, observed for the first time how far such luminous hydrogen clouds extend into space. The researchers now report on this in the current issue of "Nature".

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Uncovering the birthplaces of stars in the Milky Way

Uncovering the birthplaces of stars in the Milky Way

by Franziska Gräfe last modified Mar 01, 2019 01:04 PM

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.

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Sun under double observation

Sun under double observation

by Franziska Gräfe last modified Mar 01, 2019 01:04 PM

13 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.

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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 Mar 01, 2019 01:05 PM

25 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.

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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 Mar 01, 2019 01:05 PM

18 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 Mar 01, 2019 01:06 PM

6 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.

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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 Mar 01, 2019 01:08 PM

23 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.

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Sun in sight: Tailored solution for collaborative research

Sun in sight: Tailored solution for collaborative research

by Franziska Gräfe last modified Mar 01, 2019 01:09 PM

14 May 2018. 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.

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