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A Study by Zhang Xin-Chen Xuelei’s Team from NEU Published as a Cover Paper in the Top Journal Nature Astronomy.

编辑: 张蕾 更新日期: 2023-10-01

On September 20, a study on cosmological research by the joint team of NEU and the National Astronomical Observatories of the Chinese Academy of Sciences (Zhang Xin-Chen Xuelei’s Team) was officially published in the internationally top journal Nature Astronomy as the cover paper of the current issue. This is rare in the domestic astronomy circle. The first author of the paper is Shao Yue, a doctoral student from NEU, and the corresponding authors are Xu Yidong, an associate researcher from the National Astronomical Observatories, Prof. Zhang Xin from NEU, and Chen Xuelei, a researcher from the National Astronomical Observatories/NEU.

This paper proposes a new method to extract the 21-cm forest cosmological signal at the dawn of the universe. By measuring the one-dimensional power spectrum, the signal buried deep in the noise in the 21-cm absorption line spectrum can be effectively extracted. Additionally, the scale dependence of the signal revealed by this method can break the degeneracy of the dark matter effect and the heating effect of the first generation of galaxies in the universe, so that the properties of the dark matter and the first generation of galaxies in the universe can be measured simultaneously.

The development of this groundbreaking method is of great significance to unraveling the mystery of dark matter and the formation of celestial bodies in the early universe. It will further our understanding of dark matter and reveal the formation and evolution of celestial bodies and structures in the universe. With more in-depth observations and analyses, we are expected to gain more insights into the nature of dark matter and the formation of early galaxies and further expand our understanding of the universe in the near future.

Since published, the study has had an immediate impact at home and abroad, and has been widely reported by such influential media as Guangming Daily, CCTV News, Science and Technology Daily,, and EurekAlert! (a media platform of the American Association for the Advancement of Science), and Science News. The editorial team of Nature Astronomy and internationally well-known experts in the field have commented positively on this study in the column "Research Brief" of Nature Astronomy. Xu Yidong and Zhang Xin were invited to publish a popular science article titled Probe into the First Billion Years of the Universe as an interpretation of the study in Guangming Daily (August 10, 2023).

This paper is the first cover paper from NEU published in the Nature series of journals, and the first paper from Northeast China published in Nature Astronomy. The publication of this paper highlights that astronomy research in Liaoning Province has occupied an important place in the field of astronomy in China.

The study was funded by the National Key Research and Development Program of China and the NSFC. It is also the first major original and landmark achievement made by the Key Laboratory of Cosmology and Astrophysics of Liaoning Province since its establishment at the end of last year. Principal authors Xu Yidong, Zhang Xin and Chen Xuelei are members of the key laboratory. At the same time, the National Frontier Science Center of Industrial Intelligence and System Optimization and the Key Laboratory of Data Analytics and Optimization for Smart Industry of MOE also gave strong support to the relevant research by Zhang Xin-Chen Xuelei's team.