Galaxies and Cosmology at MPIA
Galaxy cluster simulation
What we do – The richly-structured present-day Universe with its 'realm of galaxies' must have originated from the simple initial conditions after the Big Bang. It has become clear that the observed hierarchical order in our Universe must somehow arise from the interplay of:
  • gravitational instability, driven by yet-undiscovered dark matter
  • the expansion of the Universe, currently accelerated by mysterious Dark Energy
  • the concentration of ordinary (atomic) matter at the centers of dark matter halos, where galaxies form
We are working on understanding how this happenend. Numerous fundamental and practical questions are still unanswered. In the Galaxies and Cosmology (GC) department at the Max Planck Institute for Astronomy (MPIA), we are working on figuring out:
  • what dark matter and dark energy may be?
  • when and how galaxies formed?
  • why galaxies have big black holes at their centers, and how those black holes grow?
  • how gas gets turned into stars in galaxies?
  • how we can diagnose dark matter in and around galaxies, including our own Milky Way?
  • what there is in the intergalactic space between galaxies?
In short, we are working on understanding how our overall Universe got interesting.
 
M51 as
  seen by THINGS
Who we are – The Galaxies and Cosmology department consists of a group of 13 staff members and group leaders, 25 postdocs and 30 students, engaged in a very diverse number of observational and theoretical research projects as well as instrumentation design and construction to answer the questions above.
 
LINC-NIRVANA at MPIA
Instrument development – As progress in Astrophysics depends critically on unprecedented data, which in turn come from new instrumentation, we are developing and implementing instrumentation for ground- and space-based observatories. Particular focus is on high-resolution and wide-field survey instrumentation in the near infrared.
 

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