NWO, Chinese Academy of Sciences: four projects in radio astronomy awarded funding

Researchers from China and the Netherlands listen to each other’s presentations during the NWO-CAS workshop organised in April 2017 in Beijing as part of this funding programme.

THE HAGUE, 16-Apr-2018 — /EuropaWire/ — As part of the joint programme between NWO and the Chinese Academy of Sciences (CAS) in the field of radio astronomy four projects have recently been awarded funding. Research in radio astronomy is at the forefront of scientific and technological developments, both in China and in The Netherlands.

The Chinese-Dutch research teams of the projects that have been selected for funding receive a grant from NWO and CAS to do innovative research in a wide range of topics, from magnetism in the Milky Way to large-scale structures in the Universe. Starting in 2015, NWO and CAS organise a joint research programme that is focused on a different theme every year to encourage new, and consolidate existing, collaborations between researchers from both countries. The total NWO budget for this round is 1,5 million euro. More information can be found on the funding page.

List of the research projects that are awarded a grant

Science with the Netherlands-China Low frequency Explorer (NCLE)

Prof. H. (Heino) Falcke (m), RU – Astronomy, Prof. J. (Jinsong) Ping (m) & Prof. Y. (Yan) Su (v), National Astronomical Observatories, CAS

The goal of this project is to scientifically exploit the first data that is produced by the Netherlands-China Low frequency Explorer (NCLE) payload on the Chinese Chang’e 4 Lunar mission, to be launched on May 21st 2018. The data from this unique Sino-Dutch collaboration and the first Dutch Lunar mission, opens up the last virtually unexplored low-frequency radio domain for astronomy, and paves the way for a detailed study of the very early Universe in an unprecedented way.

Detecting the invisible: Faraday tomography of magnetic field structures in the Milky Way

Dr. M. (Marijke) Haverkorn (v), RU – Astronomy & Dr. X.Y. (XuYang) Gao (m), National Astronomical Observatories, CAS

This project investigates the possibilities and limitations of the innovative method of Faraday Tomography to detect (invisible) magnetic fields in the Milky Way through their influence on polarized radio emission, using new broadband radio surveys of the entire sky. This analysis has a pioneering role for comparable research with the global next-generation radio telescope, the Square Kilometre Array.

Shedding light on dark matter

Dr. J.P. (John) McKean (m), RuG/ASTRON & Prof. S. (Shude) Mao (m), National Astronomical Observatories, CAS

Astronomers will search for small perturbations in the shapes of distant distorted galaxies that are caused by the gravitational effect of intervening invisible matter. To do this, they will use the world’s largest radio telescopes to make precise measurements, which will uncover the mass of the dark matter particle.

Unraveling the mystery of cosmic ray acceleration in galaxy clusters with ultra-low frequency radio observations

Dr. R.J. (Reinout) van Weeren (m), UL – Leiden Observatory & Prof. S.-M. (Shu-Mei) Jia (v), Institute of High Energy Physics, CAS

This project will use the world’s largest radio telescope LOFAR to study galaxy clusters at ultra-low frequencies. To do so, the researchers will develop advanced calibration techniques to correct for earth’s distorting ionosphere, bringing the low-frequency sky into focus.

Source: NWO

Spokespersons NWO

Tessa van Leeuwen t.vanleeuwen@nwo.nl
t: +31 (0)6 53 75 64 23

Olivier Morot o.morot@nwo.nl
t.: +31 (0)6 53 17 53 77

Poppy Savenije p.savenije@nwo.nl
t. +31 (0)6 83 89 37 13

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