Featured Science

Constraining f(R) Gravity Theory Using CFHTLenS Weak Lensing Peak Statistics

With CFHTLenS Weak Lensing observations, a team from Peking University, Durham University (UK), National Astronomical Observatories, Chinese Academy of Sciences, and Shanghai Normal University, carried out detailed WL peak analyses and derived stringent constraints on the Hu-Sawicki f(R) gravity theory, for the first time, from WL high peak abundance.

The DRAGON globular cluster simulations: a million stars, black holes and gravitational waves

An international team of experts from China and Europe has performed the first simulations of globular clusters with a million stars. These – up to now - largest and most realistic simulations can not only reproduce observed properties of stars in globular clusters at unprecedented detail but also shed light into the dark world of black holes.

ALMA Measures Mass of Black Hole with Extreme Precision

Astronomers from Kavli Institute for Astronomy and Astrophysics (KIAA) at Peking University, University of California, Irvine and other universities have derived a highly precise measurement of the mass of a black hole at the center of a nearby giant elliptical galaxy NGC 1332. Working with high-resolution data from the Atacama Large Millimeter/submillimeter Array in Chile, the scientists were able to determine the speed of a disk of cold molecular gas and dust orbiting the supermassive black hole at the heart of galaxy NGC 1332. From there, they calculated the black hole’s mass to be 664 million times greater than that of the sun.

Multiple generations of stars in star clusters may resemble adopted rather than natural children

Astronomers had long thought that the old, dense swarms of stars known as globular clusters formed their millions of stars in bulk at around the same time, with each cluster's stars having very similar ages. Using the Hubble Space Telescope, a team led by KIAA researchers Chengyuan Li and his supervisor Richard de Grijs has for the first time found young populations of stars within globular clusters that have apparently developed courtesy of star-forming gas flowing in from outside of the clusters themselves. The theory of newborn stars arising in clusters as they "adopt" interstellar gas dates back to a 1952 paper. More than a half-century later, this once speculative idea suddenly has key evidence to support it. The new discovery is published as a Letter to Nature on 28 January 2016.

Record-Shattering Cosmic Blast Could Help Crack the Case of Extreme Supernova Explosions

Stunned astronomers have witnessed a cosmic explosion about 200 times more powerful than a typical supernova—events which already rank amongst the mightiest outbursts in the universe—and more than twice as luminous as the previous record-holding supernova. At its peak intensity, the explosion—called ASASSN-15lh—shone with 570 billion times the luminosity of the Sun. If that statistic does not impress, consider that this luminosity level is approximately 20 times the entire output of the 100 billion stars comprising our Milky Way galaxy. The record-breaking blast is thought to be an outstanding example of a "superluminous supernova," a recently discovered, supremely rare variety of explosion unleashed by certain stars when they die. Scientists are frankly at a loss, though, regarding what sorts of stars and stellar scenarios might be responsible for these extreme supernovae.