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Taiwan contributes to historic astronomy research

2017/10/17 20:59:31

Yu Po-chieh (俞伯傑, left), Ngeow Chow-choong (饒兆聰, center) and Ip Wing-huen (葉永烜, right)/image taken from National Central University website

Taipei, Oct. 17 (CNA) A research team at Taiwan's National Central University (NCU) has been providing technical support on an international collaborative project that led to scientists' first detection of both gravitational electromagnetic and waves from the spectacular collision of two neutron stars.

The burst originated from NGC 4993, an elliptical galaxy about 130 million light-years away in the constellation Hydra.

The two neutron stars were observed spiraling around each other until they collided, producing heavy elements such as gold, platinum and lead.

The detection of gravitational and electromagnetic waves from the collision was a scientific breakthrough and provided scientific proof that those elements are brought to earth in the wake of such events.

With support from the Ministry of Science and Technology, the research team at NCU's Graduate Institute of Astronomy has been providing technical support on the project, which is called Global Relay of Observatories Watching Transients Happen (GROWTH).

On the GROWTH project, some 100 astronomers on six continents are manning 18 telescopes to observe extremely bright flashes of light in the night sky, which are known as cosmic transients.

The results of the research have been published in Science magazine, the world's leading outlet for cutting-edge research in all areas of science, according to Wu Chun-chieh (吳俊傑), director general of the science ministry's Department of Natural Sciences and Sustainable Development.

The Taiwanese research team is composed of Academia Sinica research fellow Ip Wing-huen (葉永烜); Ngeow Chow-choong (饒兆聰), associate professor at National Central University; and Yu Po-chieh (俞伯傑), a Ph.D at NCU and NCU Lulin observatory.

Yu said the team's major contribution to the discovery was providing data analysis of multiple waves from cosmic collisions and the history of the formation of NGC 4993.

(By Chen Cheng-wei and Evelyn Kao)