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Last updated::2018-01-04    



The Contribution of the Graduate Institute of Astronomy at NCU to Global Astronomical Observation Results Was Published in Science

Research results of the Graduate Institute of Astrology at NCU: Profes.. Research results of the Graduate Institute of Astrology at NCU: Professor. Ip Winghuen, Organizer of Project TANGO (Right), Professor Ngeow Chowchoong, Director of Project GROWTH in Taiwan (middle), and Dr. Yu Pochieh (left).

Sponsored by the Ministry of Science Technology (MOST), the research team from the Graduate Institute of Astronomy (GIA) at NCU participated in the project of Global Relay of Observatories Watching Transients Happen (GROWTH) led by the California Institute of Technology (Caltech) in the United States. Further research results on the confirmation of the origin of the gravitational waves detected by the Laser Interferometer Gravitational-Wave Observatory (LIGO) was an unprecedented discovery. The discovery not only verified the general theory of relativity developed by Albert Einstein but also helped solve the riddle of formation of gold in the universe. This significant research achievement was written in the article “Illuminating Gravitational Waves: A Concordant Picture of Photons from a Neutron Star Merger” and published in the latest world-renowned scientific journal, Science.


GROWTH was a team led by Caltech, and there were 14 research institutes (including 18 observatories) from eight countries participating in the project. The research team from Taiwan included Academician of Academia Sinica Dr. Ip Winghuen, Associate Professor Dr. Ngeow Chowchoong, Postdoctoral Researcher Yu Pochieh,[TC1]  and crew members of Lulin Observatory. Through the TANGO project sponsored by the MOST and the PIRE (Partnerships for International Research and Education) collaboration between Taiwan and the United States, our research team thus joined this international astronomical collaborative research. The achievement also put the Lulin Observatory on the international stage for cross-country astronomical observation.


Albert Einstein’s general theory of relativity had predicted the existence of gravitational waves about 100 years ago. However, it was extremely difficult to detect the waves; only when the merger of highly condensed objects such as black holes and neutron stars occurs can we detect the signal. In 2017, the Nobel Prize in Physics was awarded to Rainer Weiss, Kip Thorne, and Barry Barish for their “decisive contributions to the LIGO detector and the observation of gravitational waves” for the very first time in the history of mankind.


The current supernovae explosion mechanism cannot satisfactorily explain the formation of heavy metals in the cosmos; therefore, the process of generating heavy metals such as gold remains a mystery. Yet in the new theory, it is believed that when neutron stars merge, the rapid neutron capture process (r-process) will occur and form elements which are heavier than iron. Such a phenomenon supports the formation of heavy metals such as gold. The observed gravitational waves caused by the merger of neutron stars and the following multi-wavelength observations will become the guide for gravitational-wave astronomy and may help mankind solve the riddle of heavy metal formation in the universe.

A neutron star merger occurs: Pan-STARRS, located in Hawaii, captured .. A neutron star merger occurs: Pan-STARRS, located in Hawaii, captured the visible light image of the galaxy NGC 4993. The white circle is where the neutron star merger took place. ..