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Recent research highlights

Deep insights from the very-high-energy afterglow of a gamma-ray burst

TeV emission over three nights with totally unexpected hard spectral shape—the latest result from H.E.S.S. on the cosmic explosions known as gamma-ray bursts. Unique insights were possible due to the unusual closeness of GRB 190829A—only 1 billion light years away! Published in Science; see also our press release.


H.E.S.S. observations of a Nova outburst

The first TeV detected Nova provides insights in to cosmic particle acceleration. RS Ophiuchi is a binary star system where a white dwarf star accretes material from its red giant companion. Roughly every 15 years, enough material has built up on the white dwarf surface to trigger a thermonuclear explosion. The Nova of August 2021 produced an expanding shock wave at which particles were accelerated to Teraelectronvolt energies. Using H.E.S.S. we could watch particles being accelerated in real time and test acceleration theory. These findings were published in Science; see also our press release.


Ultra-high-energy gamma-ray sources

With the LHAASO and HAWC observatories a new population of ultra-high-energy (UHE, >1014 electronvolts, or >100 TeV) gamma-ray sources is emerging. At MPIK we have worked to understand the nature of these sources and the physical processes that could lead to UHE electron acceleration and subsequent UHE inverse Compton emission. Our work—published in ApJ Letters—preceeded the LHAASO detections, but was updated here. The work was led by MPIK PhD student Mischa Breuhaus.


Final Results of GERDA on the search for neutrinoless double-β decay

The final result of the world-leading GERDA detector on the search for neutrino-less double beta decay were published in PRL in December 2020. The motivation for the search is the question if neutrinos are identical with their antiparticles: a property that could boost our understanding of the matter-antimatter asymmetry of the universe. See also our press release. The successor to GERDA is the LEGEND project.

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