Max Planck Institute for Astronomy

Max­Planck­Research Magazine

Issue 2018

MaxPlanckResearch 3/2018

Building blocks that fall from the sky

How did life on Earth begin? Scientists from the “Heidelberg Initiative for the Origin of Life” have set about answering this truly existential question. Indeed, they are going one step further and examining the conditions under which life can emerge. The initiative was founded by Thomas Henning, Director at the Max Planck Institute for Astronomy in Heidelberg, and brings together researchers from chemistry, physics and the geological and biological sciences.
Issue 2016

MaxPlanckResearch 4/2016

The Cosmic Archaeologist

He loves basketball and literature, but his real passion is cosmology. Joe Hennawi uses telescopes and supercomputers to investigate the largest structures in the universe at the Max Planck Institute for Astronomy in Heidelberg – in a research group called ENIGMA. Their aim is nothing less than to unravel the mysteries of the cosmic web.
Issue 2015

MaxPlanckResearch - 4/2015

Archaeology of the Milky Way
The universe has billions and billions of galaxies, but only one that we can explore star by star in all its dimensions: our Milky Way. It can be thought of as a “model organism” for the formation and evolution of galaxies and is thus a key research topic in cosmology, and the research focus of the team working with Hans-Walter Rix, Director at the Max Planck Institute for Astronomy in Heidelberg. The researchers recently found indications that quite a number of earlier ideas about our galaxy have to be revised.

MaxPlanckResearch - 1/2015

Forces that Rule in Galaxies
Magnetic fields spanning 100,000 light-years permeate entire galaxies and envelop their central black holes. Researchers working together with Rainer Beck, Silke Britzen and Sui Ann Mao at the Max Planck Institute for Radio Astronomy in Bonn are teasing the secrets out of these invisible force fields.
Issue 2014


Neither Star nor Planet
They are often eclipsed by more attractive topics, like black holes or exoplanets. Even the name itself is less than sensational: brown dwarfs. But Viki Joergens and her colleagues from the Max Planck Institute for Astronomy in Heidelberg have gained fascinating insights in this research field.
Issue 2013

MaxPlanckResearch 1/2013

Star Factories at the End of the World
When the universe came into being 13.7 billion years ago, there was initially only
radiation. A few hundred million years later, however, the space was filled with galaxies –
tremendously productive star factories that don’t fit quite so well with the image of a
gradual cosmic evolution. Researchers like Fabian Walter from the Max Planck Institute
for Astronomy in Heidelberg are attempting to illuminate a dark epoch of the universe.
Issue 2012

MaxPlanckResearch 3/2012

The Search for a Second Earth
To date, astronomers have discovered nearly 800 planets orbiting distant stars. So far, only three of them have been found to potentially offer life-sustaining conditions. However, there are probably many second Earths in the Milky Way. But how can traces of life be detected on exoplanets? At the Max Planck Institute for Astronomy in Heidelberg, Lisa Kaltenegger is trying to answer this question.
Issue 2011

MPR 4 /2011

The Turbulent Birth of Stars and Planets
Exoplanets – planets that orbit stars other than the Sun – used to be a matter of science fiction. Some 15 years ago, with the first detection of an exoplanet, they became a matter of observational astronomy. Since then, exoplanet observations have provided astronomers with intriguing clues as to the formation of stars and planets.
Issue 2009

MPR 2 /2009

Black Holes: The Shapers of the Galaxies
Black holes were long considered to be cosmic curiosities. But at the centers of galaxies, they play an important role.
Issue 2008

MPR 4 /2008

Dust in Space
Stars are created from dust and they create dust
– astrophysicists use every instrument and theory
to investigate the many and varied facets of this cycle.
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