Highlights — Some exciting recent scientific results from our group

Weighing planets and asteroids
Pulsar observations enable mass estimates for Ceres and other solar system objects

A team of scientists from the “International Pulsar Timing Array″ consortium, led by researchers from the Max Planck Institute for Radio Astronomy in Bonn, Germany, has used pulsar timing data to measure the masses of the dwarf-planet Ceres and other asteroids. The result for the mass of Ceres is 1.3% of the mass of the Earth’s moon. The team has also measured the masses of the major planets of the solar system with much improved precision than a past study and demonstrated how pulsar-timing data can be used to explore unknown massive objects orbiting the Sun.
A New Experiment to Understand Dark Matter
Do we have to change our view on how Dark Matter interacts with standard matter?

Is dark matter a source of a yet unknown force in addition to gravity? The mysterious dark matter is little understood and trying to understand its properties is an important challenge in modern physics and astrophysics. Researchers at the Max Planck Institute for Radio Astronomy in Bonn, Germany, have proposed a new experiment that makes use of super-dense stars to learn more about the interaction of dark matter with standard matter. This experiment already provides some improvement in constraining dark matter properties, but even more progress is promised by explorations in the centre of our Milky Way that are underway.
Can we tell black holes apart?
The current ability to test theories of gravity with black hole shadows

Astrophysicists at Frankfurt, the Max Planck Institute for Radio Astronomy in Bonn, and Nijmegen, collaborating in the project BlackHoleCam, answer this question by computing the first images of feeding non-Einsteinian black holes: it is presently hard to tell them apart from standard black holes.
Einstein@Home discovers first millisecond pulsar visible only in gamma rays
Distributed volunteer computing project finds two rapidly rotating neutron stars in data from Fermi gamma-ray space telescope

The distributed computing project Einstein@Home aggregates the computing power donated by tens of thousands of volunteers from across the globe. In a survey of the gamma-ray sky, this computer network has now discovered two previously unknown rapidly rotating neutron stars in data from the Fermi gamma-ray space telescope. While all other such millisecond pulsars have also been observed with radio telescopes, one of the two discoveries is the first millisecond pulsar detectable solely through its pulsed gamma-ray emission. The findings raise hopes of detecting other new millisecond pulsars, e.g., from a predicted large population of such objects towards the center of our Galaxy.
A Repeating Fast Radio Burst in an Extreme Environment
Extragalactic source of energetic radio bursts resides in a strongly magnetized astrophysical region

New detections of highly polarized flashes of radio waves from the repeating fast radio burst FRB121102 have revealed the presence of a strong magnetic field in the source’s local environment.  Such strong magnetic fields are rare in astrophysical environments and suggest that the source of the burst is in the vicinity of a massive black hole or within a nebula of unprecedented power.
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