Research Highlights and News

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MaNGA reveals how galaxies stop forming stars

Our understanding of the galaxy populations at both low-z and high-z has advanced dramatically, thanks to the large photometric/spectroscopic surveys of galaxies accomplished in the past one and a half decades. It's well established that the galaxies can be divided into two major populations in the space of stellar mass (or luminosity) and color. In addition, the fraction of the red population has steadily increased by a factor of two since redshift of unity, indicating that the star formation cessation in galaxies has been an important process driving the galaxy evolution in the past ~80 Gyr. However, how the star formation gets shutdown and what processes drive the star formation cessation are not fully understood. Processes internal to individual galaxies (e.g. secular evolution driven by bars or minor mergers, AGN feedback, etc.) and external environmental effects (e.g. tidal stripping and ram-pressure stripping) are both believed to play important roles. Therefore, in order to have a complete picture of the star formation cessation, one would need to have deep imaging and spatially resolved spectroscopy for a large sample of galaxies covering wide ranges of galaxy properties and environment. Such samples have become available only recently from the integral field spectroscopy (IFS) surveys.


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Black Hole and AI: the Insight-HXMT Satellite

Tsinghua University "New World - New Horizon" twentieth astronomy public series lecture, "black hole and artificial intelligence: the Insight-HXMT satellite", was held in the evening of November 10, 2017 in the auditorium. The speaker was professor Tipei Li from Tsinghua University, academician of CAS. more than 500 interested students and professors attended the lecture.


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The not so quiet night sky

Tsinghua University "New World - New Horizon" nineteenth astronomy public series lecture, "A not so quiet night sky", was hold in the evening of November 10, 2017 in the auditorium.


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THCA AST3-2 telescope observes GW170817's optical counterpart

On August 17, 2017, the now famous LIGO gravitational wave detector and VIRGO, the italo-french detector simultaneously observed a gravitational wave signal (GW170817). The joint detection allowed a more precise positioning of the event, located at about 130 million light years in a 31 square degrees area. This precision, which was not possible with LIGO-only observations allowed more than 70 observatories and telescopes in the world to point to the position in a most exciting and beautifully orchestrated series of multi-band follow-up observations of the electromagnetic signals associated to a gravitational event. This is the first ever observed neutron star collision, and it is in both gravitational waves and its electromagnetic counterparts (from high energy gamma-rays, X-rays, optical, and radio wavelengths) and will be certainly remembered as the start of gravitational waves astronomy.

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THCA members participate in Insight-HXMT obs of GW170817

On Oct. 16th 2017 Beijing Time, the National Science Foundation of the United States (NSF) announced at a news conference the discovery of a binary neutron star coalescence event (designated GW170817) through gravitational waves detected by the Advanced Laser Interferometer Gravitational-wave Observatory (LIGO) together with the Advanced Virgo interferometer. This historic event triggered a rare, global joint observational campaign with dozens of astronomical equipment at all wavelengths in search of the elusive electromagnetic counterparts. Insight-HXMT, the first X-ray Satellite of China launched on Jun. 15th 2017, which is still under test, observed GW170817.


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Nobel Laureate Brian Schmidt talks at Tsinghua

In the morning of October 13, 2017, the Australian National University Vice-Chancellor and Nobel laureate in Physics (2011), Prof. Brian Schmidt visited Tsinghua University, President Yong Qiu met with Prof. Schmidt in the main building. After the meeting, Professor Schmidt delivered a lecture on "the State of the Universe", hosted by Professor Shude Mao, Director of Tsinghua center for Astrophysics. In his talk, Professor Schmidt told the audience how we learned the evolution of the universe through the efforts of and struggles generations of astronomers.

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