A team from the DLR Institute for Optical Sensor Systems in Berlin with the participation of MPIfR scientists shows that SOFIA offers the possibility of better understanding the atmosphere of our home planet. To this end, the concentration of atomic oxygen in the Earth's mesosphere and lower thermosphere in an altitude range from 80 to 400 km was studied by high-resolution spectral measurements with the upGREAT instrument (DSI Press Release from April 01, 2021, in German Language, Original Paper in „Nature Journal Communications Earth and Environment“). [more]
The methylene radical, CH2, is of considerable astrophysical interest because it is both produced and destroyed at an early stage in the sequence of ion-molecule reactions that govern interstellar chemistry. A research team led by Arshia Jacob from MPIfR has carried out observations of this radical toward multiple positions in Orion and other high-mass star-forming regions suggesting that the CH2 emission arises from hot but dilute layers of photodissociation regions (PDRs) but not from the denser parts, such as the Orion Bar. Their results are published as high-lighted paper in this month’s volume of the research journal “Astronomy & Astrophysics” (A&A Highlighted Paper, March 03, 2021). [more]
In the first all-sky survey by the German eROSITA X-ray telescope, astronomers have identified a previously unknown supernova remnant, dubbed “Hoinga”. The Hoinga supernova remnant is very large and located far from the galactic plane – a surprising first finding – implying that the next years might bring many more discoveries. The lead author of the publication, Werner Becker from the Max-Planck-Institut für extraterrestrische Physik (MPE), holds an affiliation also with the MPIfR (MPE Press Release, March 03, 2021). [more]
On Thursday, February 18, NASA's Perseverance spacecraft will blaze through the Martian atmosphere and attempt to set a lander gently on the surface of the Red Planet, in the area of the Jezero crater. As the lander descends into Mars' atmosphere, it will broadcast simple radio signals back to Earth. Two of the world’s largest radio telescopes, MPIfR’s 100-m radio telescope at Effelsberg, Germany (Photo: N. Tacken/MPIfR), and the GBT in the United States, will try to pick up the signals from Mars. (DLR Press Release, February 15, 2021) [more]
On February 04, 2021, DLR’s and NASA’s flying infrared observatory SOFIA arrived safely at the Cologne/Bonn airport. SOFIA will be deployed there for six weeks for a total of 20 research flights with the GREAT receiver, operated by scientists from the Max-Planck-Institut für Radioastronomie (MPIfR) and the I. Physikalisches Institut der Universität zu Köln (DLR Media Release, February 04, 2021). [more]
The GREAT spectrometer on board of SOFIA has enabled direct, high-resolution spectral measurements of the concentration of atomic oxygen in the mesosphere and lower thermosphere regions of Earth's atmosphere. Scientists from the German Aerospace Center (DLR), the Max Planck Institute for Radio Astronomy (MPIfR) and the University of Cologne are investigating a new approach to making direct measurements in the terahertz range, preparing the way for the development of future space instruments. The results have now been published in “Nature Communications Earth & Environment” (DLR Press Release, 26 January 2021). [more]
The German Astronomical Society (AG), the German association of amateur astronomers (VdS) and the Society of German-Speaking Planetariums (GDP) comment on the rapid increase in the number of satellites in the night sky. Artificial satellites have significant impact on the perception of the natural starry sky and the exploration of our universe, also in radio frequencies. (AG Press Release, January 18, 2021). [more]
An international research team, including Ralph Eatough (NAOC & MPIfR) used both, the Green Bank telescope and the Effelsberg Radio Telescope to search for axion dark matter particles in the environment of two nearby neutron stars and also in the center of the Milky Way. The results, with the strongest limits to date on axion dark matter particles were published in a recent issue of Physical Review Letters (Kavli IPMU Press Release, December 21, 2020). [more]
Astronomers from France, Germany, and Italy led by Sibylle Anderl and Sébastien Maret from the Université Grenoble Alpes, including Arnaud Belloche from the Max Planck Institute for Radio Astronomy, used observations performed with the NOEMA observatory of the Institut de Radioastronomie Millimétrique (IRAM) in the French alps to observe molecular radiation around the very young protostar IRAM 04191. The observations were part of the CALYPSO project (Continuum And Lines in Young ProtoStellar Objects) aiming at understanding the properties and the evolution of young protostellar objects in our galaxy. The results show that the accretion history of very young protostars can be very dynamic (IRAM Press Release, November 13, 2020). [more]
The SKA Organisation (SKAO) – which leads the delivery of the international Square Kilometre Array (SKA) project of a next generation radio telescope – has undertaken a preliminary analysis of the potential impact of current satellite mega-constellations on its telescopes. The analysis quantifies this impact and identifies possible mitigations (SKAO Press Release, October 07, 2020).
The Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences has decided to award the Nobel Prize in Physics 2020 to Professor Reinhard Genzel of the MPI for extraterrestrial Physics in Garching. He shares half of this year's prize "for the discovery of a supermassive compact object at the centre of our galaxy" with Prof. Andrea Ghez of the University of Los Angeles. The other half goes to Prof. Roger Penrose of the University of Oxford, “for the discovery that black hole formation is a robust prediction of the general theory of relativity”. Reinhard Genzel did his doctoral thesis work at MPIfR and received his doctoral degree from Bonn University in 1978 (Announcement Nobel Committee, October 06, 2020). [more]
In October 2020, the Very Large Array (VLA) in the high desert of New Mexico turns 40. For many years, scientists from the MPIfR and other Max Planck Institutes have been making very extensive use of the VLA. The scope of their investigations has dramatically increased after the very substantial upgrade to what is now named the Karl G. Jansky Very Large Array completed in 2012. It transformed the instrument by replacing its 1970s era detectors and electronics with the 2010s state-of-art, thus making it orders of magnitude more powerful. (NRAO Press Release, October 05, 2020).