February, 2006

Headline News Basic Research

Research & Development

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Distance to Perseus Accurately Measured for the First Time


Dr. Xu Ye and his colleagues from the Shanghai Astronomical Observatory CAS, Dr. Mark Reid from the Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics in US, Prof. Zheng Xinwu from the Nanjing University and Prof. Karl Menten from the Max Planck Institute for Radio-astronomy in Germany have accurately measured the distance to a massive star-forming region with the highest resolution radio telescope in the world (resulting in 6,357 light years). This is the highest accurate measurement of the distance. The observations also strongly support the "spiral density-wave theory". Their work was reported in Science Express , on Dec.9, 2005, and later in Science, on Jan. 6, 2006.

China Successfully Demonstrates SFCL for First Time in Power Grid

With support from the Chinese Academy of Sciences, China's first high temperature superconducting fault current limiter (SFCL) has successfully put into operation in an electrical substation near Loudi city of the Hunan Province. The SFCL has a voltage rating of 10.5 kilovolts and its normal operating current is 400 Amperes (AC). Since it was put into operation in August 2005, it has instantaneously reduced three-phase short-circuit currents in the range of 3,500 Amperes down to 635 Amperes, thereby protecting expensive electrical equipment from the current spikes.

The device was fabricated by the Institute of Electrical Engineering (IEE), CAS in collaboration with the Technical Institute of Physics and Chemistry (TIPC), CAS, the Hunan Electric Power Company, the Yaxi Cryogenics Company of Sichuan Province, and the Loudi Municipal Power Supply Bureau of Hunan Province.

This project is an important step in demonstrating the value of those devices, which will greatly improve the reliability and stability of the power grids in China. Suppressing spikes of electrical current is important because it prevents damage to expensive electrical equipment in power grids. Since demand for electric power in China continues to increase dramatically every year, it is necessary to improve and adopt updated and innovative devices, such as the fault current limiters, in order to provide guarantee for the reliability and stability of the power grids.

A New Particle, X1835, Observed at BESII

On Jan. 6, the Beijing Spectrometer (BESII) of the Institute of High Energy Physics, CAS , an international research group, announced that a new particle was discovered in the BESII experiment conducted on the Beijing Electron Positron Collider (BEPC) and is named as X1835 (X means an unknown structure) for the time being. The new particle was discovered when J/ decayed to one photon and three mesons. With a mass of 1,835 MeV, a little bit lower than twice that of a proton, the new particle is very short-lived, only existed about 10 -23 seconds. The research finding was reported in the Physical Review Letters on Dec. 31, 2005. -23

Energy of Solar Flare Proves to be Coming from R econnection of Magnetic Field

The flare images were observed by observers Zhang Yanan, etc. with advanced fine- structured telescope and sophisticated terminal processors, which were later analyzed by Professors Ji Haisheng, Huang Guangli and Li Youping of the Zijinshan (the Purple Mountain) Astronomical Observatory. The data set consists of more than 20,000 images obtained in about 13 minutes. After a yearly thorough and careful analysis, they have revealed that the energy comes from the rapid relaxation of a highly sheared magnetic field. That indicates, in front of the flare, the magnetic field was highly stressed that is the so-called highly sheared in solar community. Due to magnetic reconnection the magnetic field suddenly relaxed, giving rise to release of the free magnetic energy. This is one of the major original research results made by the researchers of the Zijinshan Observatory. The results have been published on an American journal Astrophycal Journal Letters .
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