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Institute of Astronomy
The University of Tokyo



January 30, 2023 Press Release
First in the world! AI-generated map of the molecular gas cloud distribution in the Milky Way galaxy
A research group led by Shinji Fujita, a Research Fellow at the Graduate School of Science, University of Tokyo, has identified approximately 140,000 interstellar molecular clouds from detailed observations of the Milky Way galaxy using the National Astronomical Observatory of Japan's Nobeyama 45m radio telescope. Using artificial intelligence, they estimated the distance of each of the clouds, calculated the size and mass of interstellar molecular clouds in the Milky Way galaxy, and successfully drew the most detailed distribution of interstellar molecular clouds in the Milky Way galaxy's disk. This research is expected to have an impact on various astronomical studies, such as the calculation of the frequency of "collisions between interstellar molecular clouds," which are considered important events in creating large stars and star clusters.
November 28, 2022 Press Release
Toward unveiling the cosmic mystery of Fast Radio Bursts
Since 2007, astronomers have been observing fleeting bursts of bright, energetic radio waves lasting milliseconds to microseconds in space. They call them Fast Radio Bursts (FRBs). But what produces these high-energy bursts baffles astronomers. To understand the origins of FRBs, a team of scientists led by Bunyo Hatsukade, an Assistant Professor at the University of Tokyo, probed the molecular gas of their host galaxies.
August 9, 2022 Press Release
Very Fast Optical Flashes from Red Dwarfs Revealed by Video Observations
Video observations by Tomo-e Gozen have discovered 22 very fast and powerful optical flares from red dwarfs, which have been difficult to be detected. Such very fast and powerful flares are likely to be produced by instantaneous energy release of strong magnetic fields, potentially giving an impact on planetary habitability around red dwarfs.
July 13, 2022 Press Release
Fast rotations of near-Earth asteroids revealed by video observations
Tomo-e Gozen carried out video observations of 60 tiny (diameter less than 100 m) near-Earth asteroids (NEAs) and successfully derived rotational periods and axial ratios of 32 NEAs. The distribution of the tiny NEAs in a diameter and rotational period (D-P) diagram is truncated around a period of 10 s. The dependence of the tangential YORP effect on the rotational period potentially explains the observed pattern in the D-P diagram.
May 18, 2022 Press Release
Detection of Highly Correlated Optical and X-ray Time Variations in SS Cygni
Tomo-e Gozen and the X-ray telescope NICER on the International Space Station carried out simultaneous high-speed observations of the dwarf nova SS Cyg. Highly correlated optical and X-ray variations and optical lags ranging from 0.3 to 3.1 s were successfully detected.