Research Highlights and News

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Tsinghua Students Visit Xinglong Observing Station (NAOC)

43 students and instructors from the two courses "Roaming between Physics and Astronomy" and "Frontiers of Astrophysics" visited the Xinglong Observing Station, National Astronomical Observatories of China, on November 5th, 2016.

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Gravitational Wave - A New Window to Explore the Universe

On the night of Oct. 29th, 2016, Gravitational Wave - A New Window to Explore the Universe, the 15th session of the "New Worlds, New Horizons" Public Lecture series was held in the iconic Auditorium of Tsinghua University. The lecture was delivered by Professor Rana Adhikari, a member of the LIGO Science Collaboration (LSC) and a professor of Experimental Physics at the California Institute of Technology. The lecture attracted an audience of over 500 students and general public to admire the beauty of gravitational waves.

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Dark Matter - The Mysterious Ghost in The Universe

On the evening of September 24th, 2016, the 14th lecture of Tsinghua Astrophysics Public Series (TAPS): New Worlds, New Horizons was held at the Auditorium. The speaker, Professor Xiangdong Ji is the director of Institute of Nuclear, Particle, Astronomy and Cosmology (INPAC) at Shanghai Jiao Tong University (STJU), and is the project leader for the PandaX experiment located in the China Jin-Ping underground Laboratory (CJPL). Approximately 1,000 students, faculties and off-campus audience attended the lecture.

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Tsinghua Observatory Open Night

On 28th August, Tsinghua Observatory held its first public open night of the 2016-2017 fall semester. The event was hosted by the Tsinghua Astronomical Society (a student organization) and the Tsinghua Center for Astrophysics.

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Low Temperature Detector Lab near completion

Two large rooms on the 6th floor of the Meng Min Wei Building have been renovated and set up as the new Low Temperature Detector Lab. The construction is now nearly completed. The lab will be used by Prof. Wei Cui’s group to develop superconducting transition-edge sensor (TES) arrays for high throughput, high resolution X-ray imaging spectroscopy in astrophysics. A TES operates as an ultra-sensitive thermometer. It measures the deposited energy of an incident X-ray photon by sensing a tiny rise in the temperature of the absorber (to which it is attached). The absorber temperature recovers, after heat leaks out (to a thermal bath), and the detector is ready for another photon. The accuracy to which a TES measures photon energy is fundamentally limited by thermodynamic fluctuations in the exchange of thermal energy between the absorber and the thermal bath. To achieve good energy resolution, it is necessary to operate the device at cryogenic temperatures (typically < 100 mK).

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Free-floating planets not as common as thought?

More than 3500 extrasolar planets have now been detected; the study of these extrasolar planets and our own solar system is one of the most exciting areas in astrophysics. Virtually all of these planets are found around other stars. For example, our Earth orbits around the Sun. However, theory predicts some planets are either formed or ejected from proto-planetary disks because of dynamical interactions during their formation. These planets are called free-floating or rogue planets (see the cover illustration).

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