Virtual Babelsberg Starry Night


Centaurus A, a very bright galaxy in the constellation Centaurus.

Credit: Christian Wolf and the SkyMapper team – Australian National
May 19, 2021 //

The next lecture of the virtual Babelsberg Starry Nights of the Leibniz Institute for Astrophysics Potsdam (AIP) will be broadcasted starting on Thursday, 20 May 2021 on the YouTube channel "Urknall, Weltall und das Leben". Please note that the lecture will be given in German.

On Thursday, starting at 6 p.m., Dr. Marcel Pawlowski's lecture on the topic "Dark matter and the dance of the dwarf galaxies" from the Babelsberg Starry Night series will be online.

Large galaxies like our Milky Way are surrounded by a multitude of smaller dwarf galaxies. Cosmological computer simulations predict that these dwarf galaxies perform a chaotic dance. Observations, however, point to a surprisingly orderly choreography. This discrepancy challenges our model of cosmology and galaxy formation, and could fundamentally challenge our understanding of dark matter and gravity.

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

and can be viewed at any time afterwards.


Distribution of satellite galaxies (white and black dots) around the Milky Way. They are preferentially located along a band (black lines) that is also aligned along the Magellanic Stream (grey structure in the south). The red arrows show the direction of motion of the 11 brightest satellite galaxies: the majority of them move along the preferred distribution.

Credit: Pawlowski, McGaugh & Jerjen, 2015, MNRAS, 453, 1047
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 aims 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.
Last update: 20. May 2021