Research Highlights

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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.

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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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