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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.


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.


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.


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.


THCA Welcomes New Faculty Member Prof. Xuening Bai

Prof. Bai comes to Tsinghua from Harvard University, where he was a research associate and a lecturer at Institute for Theory and Computation, Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics. He was an undergraduate student at Tsinghua in the academic talent program (基础科学班) from 2003 to 2007, when he was a student member of THCA. He received his PhD in astrophysical sciences from Princeton University in 2012, where he was awarded the Charlotte E. Proctor Honorific Fellowship in 2011, an honor conferred on only the most distinguished PhD students at Princeton. He won the prestigious Hubble fellowship for which he chose the Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics as the host.


THCA Professor publishes a review paper in ARA&A

On August 18, 2017, a review paper entitled Ultraluminous X-ray Sources was published in this year’s Annual Review of Astronomy and Astrophysics, written by THCA Professor Hua Feng (second author), in collaboration with Philip Kaaret (first author), and Tim Roberts. The paper reviews the observational facts of a special kind of X-ray sources in the sky, so-called ultra-luminous X-ray sources (ULXs), and how theoretical models and numerical simulations can explain the data. The link between the studies of ULXs, the early universe, and the detection of gravitational waves is also discussed. Prof. Feng’s major interests are 1) to understand the physics around compact objects, including ULXs and 2) to develop novel instrumentation for future X-ray astronomy.