A bright „guest star“ is showing up in the night sky: comet 46P/Wirtanen. The airborne observatory SOFIA observed the comet in the nights from December 13 to 19 with the GREAT (German REceiver for Astronomy at Terahertz frequencies) instrument, built by MPIfR and Cologne University. In parallel, 46P/Wirtanen was observed with the APEX telescope in Chile (Clemens Plank, DLR Science Blog, December 2018, in German language). [more]
Two German stamps within the „Astrophysics“ series are issued on Tuesday, December 18, 2018. They have values of Euro 1.45 each and show a photo of the antennas of the ALMA Observatory at 5100 m altutude in Chile and a simulation of the ILLUSTRIS code for galaxy formation (HITS, Heidelberg).
Funding of the Collaborative Research Centre (CRC) 956, entitled „Conditions and Impact of Star Formation - Astrophysics, Instrumentation and Laboratory Research“, has just been extended for another period of 4 years. CRC 956 explores basic star-formation processes and with that is contributing to worldwide exchange of extended knowledge between researchers. It is jointly run by the I. Physikalische Institut der Universität Köln, the Argelander-Institut für Astronomie der Universität Bonn and the Max-Planck-Institut für Radioastronomie in Bonn. [more]
On Monday, November 26, NASA's InSight spacecraft will blaze through the Martian atmosphere and attempt to set a lander gently on the surface of the Red Planet. As the lander descends into Mars' atmosphere, it will broadcast simple radio signals back to Earth. Two of the world’s largest radio telescopes, NSF‘s Green Bank Observatory in Green Bank, West Virginia and the Max Planck Institute for Radio Astronomy’s facility at Effelsberg, Germany will try to pick up the signals from Mars.
(NASA/JPL Press Release, November 16, 2018) [more]
Black holes have mass, angular momentum and potentially a charge. While the first two were measured routinely for some time now, constraining a black hole’s charge is more difficult. The comment by Marios Karouzos in "Nature Astronomy" refers to an original paper by MPIfR authors (Michal Zajaček et al.) in MNRAS, proposing an observational way to test limits on the charge of Sgr A*, the black hole at the centre of the Milky Way. [more]
A new publication led by MPIfR astronomers (Kim et al., 2018, Astronomy & Astrophysics 616, A188) presents Global mm-VLBI Array (GMVA) observations at 86 GHz (λ = 3.5 mm) of the nearby radio galaxy Messier 87 (M 87), the central galaxy of the Virgo cluster in a distance of about 50 million light years. The highlight image shows the central region of M 87 at an angular resolution of ~50 μas (7 Schwarzschild radii). [more]
At the Max Planck Day on Friday, 14 September 2018, the Max Planck Institute for Radio Astronomy in Bonn offers a series of German language talks on astronomical topics. The talks will be presented in the institute building in Bonn-Endenich, Auf dem Hügel 69. [more]
Professor Yuri Kovalev from the Lebedev research institute in Moscow/Russia started his Friedrich Wilhelm Bessel fellowshiüp of the German Alexander von Humboldt foundation (AvH) at the Max Planck Institute for Radio Astronomy (MPIfR) in July 2018. Professor Kovalev is project scientist for RadioAstron, a space VLBI project connecting radio telescopes on Earth with a space-based radio telescope. [more]
On July 13, 2018, the MeerKAT radio telescope in South Africa is officially inaugurated. After a decade in design and construction, this project of South Africa’s Department of Science and Technology has now begun science operations. The Max-Planck Institute for Radio Astronomy (MPIfR) and the Max Planck Society (MPG) are participating in the project by providing a receiver system in the S-Band range (1.8 - 3.5 GHz) for all 64 MeerKAT antennas (Media Release, SKA South Africa). [more]
The T-TST Best Paper Award, recognizing the most significant contribution in a paper published in the IEEE Transactions on Terahertz Science and Technology, was awarded to the GREAT team for the publication by R. Risacher et al.: “First Supra-THz Heterodyne Array Receivers for Astronomy with the SOFIA Observatory”, IEEE Transactions on Terahertz Science and Technology, Vol. 6, no. 2, pp. 199-211, March 2016 at the “International Microwave Symposium“ June 10-15, 2018, in Philadelphia. [more]