Main research fields of NAOC cover a broad spectrum of topics, on scales from planets, stars, galaxies, to the Universe. Anually, NAOC researchers publish about 350 refereed papers (more than 250 in SCI/EI journals), and a few new patents are issued.
The past years have witnessed great advance in the development of NAOC. Seven National Awards have been awarded to researchers at NAOC for excellence in astronomy research and related technological innovation. Showcased below are some of the achievements that have been awarded in recent years. “Probing the Mass Distribution of the Universe With Graviational Lensing” found a steep mass profile toward the central regions of clusters of galaxes, used the statistic properties of giant arcs as a probe to measure the cosmic density parameter and cosmologcal constant, and discovered a mass dicrepancy in the central cores of clusters between gravitational lensing and conventional method. “Explore the Magnetic Fields of our Milky Way Galaxy” has revealed the properties and structures of the Galactic magnetic fields, and has greatly enriched our knowledge of dynamics of interstellar medium, star formation, origin and transportation of cosmic rays. “The Study of Galactic Chemical Evolution Through Stellar Abundances” indicates that Galactic evolution is accompanied by complicated physical processes, and En route, a new formula for calculating the non local thermal equilibrium effect of neutral hydrogen collisions is given for the first time, which dramatically improves the accuracy of abundance determination of several specific elements.
NAOC is also invloved and plays an important role in China’s Lunar Exploration Program. The ground segment for data, science and applications is built and operated by NAOC. The 50-m and 40-m radio telescopes serve as data downlink stations; both two and another NAOC’s radio telescope in Urumqi are in the VLBI network. China’s first lunar map is also constructed at NAOC.
NAOC established and published an international refereed journal Research in Astronomy and Astrophysics (RAA), previously Chinese Journal of Astronomy and Astrophysics (ChJAA). The journal has been included in the Science Citation Index (SCI) since 2005, and gains greater influence among the international astronomical community, as demonstrated by its evergrowing increase of impact factor.