北京大学科维理天文与天体物理研究所

Featured Science

An X-ray transient as New Signal of Neutron Star Mergers

A bright X-ray burst within a galaxy 6.6 billion light years from Earth has been detected by NASA’s Chandra X-ray Observatory. This event is likely to be the emission from a neutron-star-merger-produced magnetar – a new, heavier, highly magnetized neutron star. It is a totally new signal from neutron star binary mergers, which suggests that the merger of two neutron stars could result in a long lived neutron star rather than a black hole.

An intuitive 3D map of the Galactic warp’s precession traced by classical Cepheids

Astronomers from KIAA-PKU and National Astronomical Observatories of Chinese Academy of Sciences have used 1339 ‘standard’ stars to map the real shape of our home galaxy in a paper published in Nature Astronomy. They found the Milky Way’s disk of stars becomes increasingly ‘warped’ and twisted the further away the stars are from the galaxy’s center.

Unknown Treasure Trove of Planets Found Hiding in Dust

"Super-Earths" and Neptune-sized planets could be forming around young stars in much greater numbers than scientists thought, new research by an international collaboration of astronomers suggests. Observing a sampling of young stars in a star-forming region in the constellation Taurus, the team found many of them to be surrounded by structures that can best be explained as traces created by invisible, young planets in the making. The results, published in the Astrophysical Journal, help scientists better understand how our own solar system came to be.

Astronomers Unveil Growing Black Holes in Colliding Galaxies

A team of researchers led by Michael Koss (Eureka Scientific Inc.), and including Claudio Ricci, long-term visiting professor at KIAA, performed the largest survey of the cores of nearby galaxies in near-infrared light, using high-resolution images taken by NASA's Hubble Space Telescope and the W. M. Keck Observatory in Hawaii. The Hubble observations represent over 20 years' worth of snapshots from its vast archive.

Weighing planets and asteroids: Pulsar observations enable mass estimates for Ceres and other solar system objects

A team of scientists from the `International Pulsar Timing Array’ consortium, led by researchers from the Max Planck Institute for Radio Astronomy in Bonn, Germany, has used pulsar timing data to measure the masses of the dwarf-planet Ceres and other asteroids. The result for the mass of Ceres is 1.3% of the mass of the Earth’s moon. The team has also measured the masses of the major planets of the solar system with much improved precision than a past study and demonstrated how pulsar-timing data can be used to explore unknown massive objects orbiting the Sun. The results are presented online as refereed publication in the “Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society”.

Discovery of the Largest Protocluster of Galaxies in the Distant Universe

An international team of astronomers led by Youth Qianren Research Professor Linhua Jiang at KIAA-PKU discovered a giant protocluster of galaxies at redshift 5.7, when the Universe was only one billion years old (about 7% of its current age). This protocluster will collapse into a galaxy cluster with a total mass of ~ 3.6 × 10^15 solar masses, making it the most massive protocluster currently known at high redshift.