★ Space Astrometry on terrestrial exoplanets detection
Exoplanet research has grown explosively in the past decade, supported by improvements in observational techniques that have led to increasingly sensitive detection and characterization. Among many results, we have learned that planets are common, but their physical and orbital properties are much more diverse than originally thought. A lasting challenge is the detection and characterization of planetary systems consisting in a mixed cortege of telluric and giant planets, with a special regard to telluric planets orbiting in the habitable zone (HZ) of Sun-like stars. The accomplishment of this goal requires the development of a new generation of facilities, due to the intrinsic difficulty of detecting Earth-like planets with existing instruments. In this context – a Space Micro-arcsecond Astrometry mission to Search for the Terresrial Exo-Planets (STEP) – has been proposed to enter a new phase in exoplanetary science by delivering an enhanced capability of detecting small planets at and beyond 1 AU. In the Summer of 2013, STEP was selected as one of the candidate missions for advanced studies in the space science program of the Chinese Academy of Sciences.


★ Star clusters 
Open clusters and globular clusters are both valuable tools for studying the structure and evolution of the Milky Way.


★  Galaxy distribution and dark matter haloes
The hierarchical galaxy formation and evolution are studied under the current standard cold dark matter cosmology. The research interests include the structure and evolution of dark matter haloes, the halo occupation distribution, the phase-distribution of galaxies and the large structure of the universe.


★ Chemical evolution of the Milky Way

The formation and evolution history of the Milky Way can be unravelled through detailed studies of its component stars and star clusters. Both theoretical modeling and observational studies are carried out at SKL. Present research topics include the kinematic and dynamic properties of stellar clusters, abundance gradients and their evolution along the Milky Way disk, the G-dwarf problem, and Galactic chemical evolution.  


Advanced Laser Ranging and Astrometry for  Navigation and Science investigations

 Recognizing the value of the LLR for studies of the deep lunar interior, we develop a new LLR station that will use a high-power CW laser to bring about major advances in LLR. We will discuss the new facility and the measurements that may be possible with it. Specifically, we aim at laser-ranging measurements accurate to the sub-cm level and range-Doppler imaging accurate to a sub-nanoradian level not only to the moon, but also to for a solar system spacecraft at ranges of up to several AU. We are also developing the interplanetary laser ranging (ILR) instrumentation to enable advances in science and navigation. By conducting very accurate range measurements, the ILR will push high-precision tests of astrophysics and fundamental gravity into a new regime and will test modern theories of cosmological evolution.

★ Galaxy dynamics 

The main interests are the dynamical structure and evolution of the disk, bulge and halo of the Milky Way, using simulations and the latest survey data such as APOGEE and LAMOST.



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