The first radiation belt observed outside our solar system has been identified, using a coordinated array of 39 radio dishes from Hawaii to Germany including MPIfR’s 100-m Effelsberg radio telescope within the High-Sensitivity Array (HSA) to obtain high-resolution images (Nature, May 15). The images of persistent, intense radio emissions from an ultracool dwarf reveal the presence of a cloud of high-energy electrons trapped in the object’s powerful magnetic field, forming a double-lobed structure analogous to radio images of Jupiter’s radiation belts (UC Santa Cruz Press Release, May 15, 2023). more

Open Day at Effelsberg Radio Observatory

on Saturday, September 09, 2023 more

 Tycho Brahe Medal awarded to Anton Zensus

MPIfR director receives prestigious award of the European Astronomical Society more

An international team led by Nicola Schneider (Univ. Cologne) and Alexander Tielens (Univ. Maryland), has performed observations to study the interactions between gas clouds in the Cygnus X region with the upGREAT receiver built by MPIfR and Univ. Cologne as part of the FEEDBACK research program with the airborne observatory SOFIA. The publication (with Oliver Ricken/MPIfR as co-author) will be published in the journal "Nature Astronomy" (Univ. Cologne press release, February 17, 2023). more

A global collaboration of scientists including  Maciek Wielgus of the Max Planck Institute for Radio Astronomy (Bonn, Germany) used the Event Horizon Telescope (EHT), to investigate the innermost parts of the quasar NRAO 530.  Astronomers are trying to understand the complicated physics of quasars and their central engines, struggling with questions like how the jets emanating from the central region are powered and created, and what is the role of magnetic fields in their formation. The EHT offers extremely high, unprecedented angular resolution, allowing astronomers to image the previously unseen structures in the very central region of NRAO 530 (Original Paper: S. Jorstad, M. Wielgus, et al.: "The Event Horizon Telescope Image of the Quasar NRAO 530", in: Astrophysical Journal ApJ 943 170 (2023); EHT Blog Entry, February 08, 2023). more

Using NASA’s Fermi Gamma-ray Space Telescope, seven rare stellar binary systems were identified in which a neutron star is eclipsed by its stellar companion. This allowed an international research team led by scientists from AEI Hannover and including researchers from MPIfR Bonn to weigh those neutron stars. Their results were published in Nature Astronomy today (AEI Press Release, January 26, 2023). more

The now-retired Stratospheric Observatory for Infrared Astronomy (SOFIA) aircraft will find a permanent home in the Pima Air & Space Museum in Tucson, Arizona. The airplane made its final flight from NASA’s Armstrong Flight Research Center in Palmdale, California, to Tucson. The GREAT receiver, operated by MPIfR and Univ. Cologne, was successfully used on board SOFIA for a number of years (NASA Feature, December 08, 2022).

The recently retired airborne observatory SOFIA looked for hints of phosphine in Venus’s sky in November 2021 with its GREAT detector (MPIfR, Cologne Univ.). A presumed detection of that molecule in the atmosphere of Venus was announced in 2020. The SOFIA researchers including Helmut Wiesemeyer from MPIfR don’t see any sign of phosphine. According to their results, if there is any phosphine present in Venus’s atmosphere at all, it’s a maximum of about 0.8 parts phosphine per billion parts everything else, much smaller than the initial estimate (NASA SOFIA Blogpost, November 29, 2022). more

Astrophysicists have analyzed publicly available data from the IceCube neutrino observatory in Antarctica. It turned out that a significant component of high-energy neutrino flux is of galactic origin, that is, it was born in the Milky Way. One of the authors, Yuri Kovalev from MPIfR (Bonn, Germany) is excited: "This opens a wonderful opportunity for studying matter in the Galaxy and galactic relativistic objects utilizing methods of multi-messenger astronomy." (Astrophysical Journal Letters Vol. 940, L41, DOI 10.3847/2041-8213/aca1ae). more

ERC Starting Grant for Dr. Vivek Venkatraman Krishnan

Discovering most exotic neutron star systems will help to understand gravity and ultra-dense matter more

The NOEMA radio telescope, located on the Plateau de Bure in the French Alps, is now equipped with twelve antennas, making it the most powerful radio telescope of its kind in the northern hemisphere. It is operated by the international institute IRAM, in which the Max Planck Society is involved (MPG Press Release, September 30, 2022). more

After graduating from the University of Bonn, Germany, Arshia Jacob completed research for her dissertation at the Max Planck Institute for Radio Astronomy (MPIfR), graduating summa cum laude in 2021, and works as postdoctoral researcher at Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore since then. In her dissertation, Arshia Jacob addressed fundamental questions about the physics and chemistry of the interstellar medium based on data from various molecules and combining terahertz results with long-wavelength radio data. Her research has helped answer questions related to the chemical evolution of the Milky Way and the galactic distribution of the cosmic ray ionization rate. Her outstanding research was also recognized with the Max Planck Society’s Otto Hahn Medal and its Otto Hahn Award (Press Release of the Astronomische Gesellschaft, August 24, 2022).

Full commissioning of the Effelsberg radio telescope

Regular observations with the 100-m telescope started 50 years ago, on August 01, 1972 more

The Stratospheric Observatory for Infrared Astronomy (SOFIA) is adjusting its science observation plans and canceling the remainder of its Southern Hemisphere deployment following damage to the aircraft caused by severe weather on Monday, July 18. SOFIA arrived in New Zealand on June 18 and had a successful and productive month of science flights. Using two instruments, HAWC+ and GREAT, SOFIA observed and studied a wide range of celestial objects and phenomena, like cosmic magnetic fields, structure of the Milky Way, and the origin of cosmic rays. (SOFIA Blogpost, July 21, 2022).

An international research team including Norbert Langer (AIfA & MPIfR Bonn) has detected a stellar-mass black hole outside the Milky Way, in the Large Magellanic Cloud, a companion of the Milky Way. The discovery was made during a six-year observing campaign with the Very Large Telescope (VLT) at the European Southern Observatory (ESO). The results have been published in the journal Nature Astronomy (University of Bonn Press Release, July 19, 2022).

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