湘潭大学天体物理研究肇始于上个世纪九十年代初，由向福元教授发轫于恒星演化与恒星磁活动，筚路蓝缕，会通开新，于本世纪一十年代相继延揽杨雪娟博士、李爱根教授，现已发展成为规模初具、特色鲜明的学术团队。目前，由向福元教授、杨雪娟副教授、李爱根教授、张建福副教授、李兆升副教授、胡柯副教授、余云霞副教授、吕铭博士、潘元月博士等组成的团队, 面向国家和社会发展需求，紧密结合国家重大研究项目, 在恒星与星际物质、超新星遗迹、黑洞与中子星等多领域开展研究，取得了国内外瞩目的研究成果。
近年来，该团队主持国际“新视野”项目一项（向福元），国家自然科学基金项目17项、湖南省自然科学基金和中国科学院重点实验室基金10余项。在天体物理学权威刊物ApJ（美国天体物理学杂志）、A&A（欧洲天文学与天体物理学杂志）、MNRAS（英国皇家天文学月刊）、AJ（美国天文学杂志）等发表SCI论文200多篇，相关论文被引用一万多次。其中，向福元教授发表在ApJ上的星际弥散带论文被太平洋天文学会单独撰文加以评介，杨雪娟副教授发表在ApJ上的星际芳香有机分子论文被写进英国皇家天文学会前主席D.A. Williams所著教材“The Chemistry of Cosmic Dust”，亦被美国国家科学院院士、普林斯顿大学B.T. Draine教授作为“天体物理学前沿”教程专题。
The Astrophysics Program at Xiangtan University
The Astrophysics program at Xiangtan University was founded in early 1990s solely by Prof. Fuyuan Xiang, initially focusing on stellar evolution and magnetic activities. For about 20 years, Prof. Xiang was the only astronomy faculty until Dr. Xuejuan Yang and Prof. Aigen Li were recruited in early 2010s. Thanks to Prof. Xiang and his colleagues’ tireless efforts, the astrophysics program has now undergone substantial growth to have nine faculty: two professors (Fuyuan Xiang, Aigen Li), five associate professors (Xuejuan Yang, Jianfu Zhang, Zhaosheng Li, Ke Hu, Yunxia Yu), and two assistant professors (Ming Lyu, Yuanyue pan). To meet the demand of the national and social development and support the national key research projects, the astrophysics group has been performing frontier research in a wide range of topics, including the stellar and interstellar physics, supernova remnants, black holes and neutron stars, and has earned national and international reputation.
In recent years, the astrophysics program has been supported by an international grant (awarded to Fuyuan Xiang) from the “New Horizon” foundation, 17 grants from the Natural Science Foundation of China (NSFC), and over 10 grants from Chinese Academy of Sciences and Hunan Province. The astrophysics group has published over 200 papers in top astronomy and astrophysics journals including ApJ, A&A, MNRAS and AJ. These papers have received more than 10,000 citations. Especially, Fuyuan Xiang’s ApJ paper on the diffuse interstellar bands was highlighted by a whole article in “Mercury”, the official magazine of the Astronomical Society of the Pacific. Xuejuan Yang’s ApJ paper on the interstellar aromatic molecules was discussed in “The Chemistry of Cosmic Dust”, a textbook authored by D.A. Williams, the former president of the Royal Astronomical Society of the United Kingdom. This paper was also selected as a discussion topic in the course “Astrophysical Frontiers” at Princeton University, developed by Prof. B.T. Draine, a member of the National Academy of Sciences of USA.