Science and Technology

in the mirror of the universe

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To kick off the year of science “Our World”, the Max Planck Society is offering a varied program throughout Germany

The social importance of astronomy as one of the oldest research disciplines is the focus of the year of science 2023. Modern astrophysics is always searching for answers to the big questions of humanity: Where did we come from? What makes our planet so special? Is there a planet B? Knowledge about the universe has consequences for how we live on our planet.

In the second issue of the scientific journal MaxPlanckResearch, journalists talk about the impressive astronomical research at the Max Planck Institutes, from observing black holes to exploring the origins of our solar system. The online offer on the subject of astronomy will also be significantly expanded. Astronomy enthusiasts can also participate in the many projects of the individual Max Planck Institutes.

“the universe on tour”

Exciting recordings and simulations highlight the Year of Science in the “Universe on Tour” traveling show. The Mobile Planetarium – operated by Planetarium Berlin – will make current astrophysical research concrete at 15 sites across Germany. But there will also be a view of Earth as a planet in danger.

The Max Planck Institutes for Astronomy, Radio Astronomy, Physics, Nuclear Physics and Gravitational Physics will go on a tour with interactive exhibits on the show ship “MS Wiessenschaft”. On board are black hole and dark matter exhibits. Visitors to the exhibition can measure and manipulate gamma rays and stars themselves. Real gravitational waves, which testify to the merger of black holes, can be studied and even made heard on MS Wissenschaft.

Citizen science and online lectures

If you can’t jump ship, you can sit back and relax. The “Citizen Science” Einstein @ Home project invites everyone to take part in the complex search for gravitational waves from home and thus lend a helping hand to the researchers. Gravitational waves aren’t just used to search for merged black holes. Measurement principles also help terrestrial climate research measure global ice cover.

Online lectures are a proven way to bring astronomy into people’s homes, and not just during the Corona pandemic. The successful lecture series “The Magic of Astronomy” at the “House of Astronomy” in Heidelberg will now be replaced by the lecture series “Our Universe”, in line with the Year of Science 2023. The format depends on the interests of the audience. Requests can be submitted under the website Questions for the Universe.” The popular lecture series “Saturday Morning Physics” at the Max Planck Institute for Nuclear Physics this year also has the theme “Our World.”

The Max Planck Institute for Radio Astronomy operates one of the largest telescopes in the world, the Eifelsberg radio telescope – a real giant with a diameter of 100 meters. While a model will be shown on MS Wissenschaft, the classroom will have the opportunity to send a radio signal to the real telescope from the classroom. And not directly, but through “Moon Bounce”. The signal’s access to the telescope, after a second and a half, is shared directly with the children via video link from the telescope’s control room.

terabyte / BS

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