Christian Henkel

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The accurate measurement of extragalactic distances is a central challenge of modern astronomy, being required for any realistic description of the age, geometry and fate of the Universe. The measurement of relative extragalactic distances has become fairly routine, but estimates of absolute distances are rare 1. In the vicinity of the Sun, direct geometric(More)
How do methanol masers manage to appear in the youngest star vicinities and isolated molecular clumps? Abstract. General characteristics of methanol (CH3OH) maser emission are summarized. It is shown that methanol maser sources are concentrated in the spiral arms. Most of the methanol maser sources from the Perseus arm are associated with embedded stellar(More)
This article presents results of VLBI observations of regions of H 2 O maser activity in the Local Group galaxies M33 and IC 10. Since all position measurements were made relative to extragalactic background sources, the proper motions of the two galaxies could be measured. For M33, this provides this galaxy's three dimensional velocity, showing that this(More)
Aims. Molecules that trace the high-density regions of the interstellar medium have been observed in (ultra-)luminous (far-)infrared galaxies, in order to initiate multiple-molecule multiple-transition studies to evaluate the physical and chemical environment of the nuclear medium and its response to the ongoing nuclear activity.(3−2) transitions were(More)
We measured the angular rotation and proper motion of the Triangulum Galaxy (M33) with the Very Long Baseline Array by observing two H2O masers on opposite sides of the galaxy. By comparing the angular rotation rate with the inclination and rotation speed, we obtained a distance of 730 +/- 168 kiloparsecs. This distance is consistent with the most recent(More)
One of the most important problems in the study of active galaxies is understanding the detailed geometry, physics, and evolution of the central engines and their environments. The leading models involve an accretion disk and torus structure around a central dense object, thought to be a supermassive black hole. Gas found in the environment of AGN is(More)
Active galactic nuclei are thought to be powered by gas falling into a massive black hole; the different types of active galaxy may arise because we view them through a thick torus of molecular gas at varying angles of inclination. One way to determine whether the black hole is surrounded by a torus, which would obscure the accretion disk around the black(More)
The standard model of physics is built on the fundamental constants of nature, but it does not provide an explanation for their values, nor require their constancy over space and time. Here we set a limit on a possible cosmological variation of the proton-to-electron mass ratio μ by comparing transitions in methanol observed in the early universe with those(More)
The Standard Model of particle physics assumes that the so-called fundamental constants are universal and unchanging. Absorption lines arising in molecular clouds along quasar sightlines offer a precise test for variations in the proton-to-electron mass ratio, mu, over cosmological time and distance scales. The inversion transitions of ammonia are(More)