Research Projects

Each summer student will conduct research under the guidance of one or more ESO astronomers, on a project in the area of expertise of the advisor(s). The project may involve any aspect of astronomy, including original astronomy research, instrumentation, or software development.

There are 14 research projects offered for the programme in 2019; applicants should identify a ranked list of 3 projects on their application form using the project identifiers A-N given in the left column. Brief abstracts are presented here, more information about the projects and the supervisors can be found by following the learn more links below. The hashtags summarise some keys points and skills. Please note that not all projects will be funded - only those chosen by the succesful candidates will be carried out in 2019. 

If you have further questions or would like to learn more about the projects, please email the project advisors directly (you can find the emails by clicking through to the project descriptions). They would be very happy to hear from you!


Caught in the act: witnessing the formation of the most massive galaxy clusters across the cosmic time

Chian-Chou Chen (T.C.) & Fabrizio Arrigoni Battaia

A new type of object, nurturing the formation of massive galaxy clusters, has been freshly discovered. Explore with us a multi-wavelength dataset from cutting-edge facilities to unveil its properties.

#python  #photometry  #spectroscopy  #ALMA  #MUSE  #APEX  #galaxyclusters  #ELAN

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Comet evolution: from the Kuiper Belt to a dormant comet in the near-Earth asteroid population

Rosita Kokotanekova & Anna Pala

Recently Rosetta and New Horizons have revealed new details about the fascinating history of comets. Join our team to analyze telescope observations that will help us understand the Solar System past.

#comets  #SmallBodies  #SolarSystem  #photometry  #Lightcurves  #SurfaceProperties  #VLT  #NTT

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Dark matter content of galaxies from globular cluster kinematics

Prashin Jethwa & Laura Watkins

Most of the mass in the Universe is invisible. We’ll use motions of visible objects to shed light on the darkness.

#darkmatter  #dynamics  #globularclusters  #galaxies  #python

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From birth to death: the multiple faces of accretion

Anna Pala & Carlo Manara

Stars come to life accreting mass from their surroundings. Yet, accretion bears death when entire stars are devoured by a nearby compact object. Come to study accretion from birth to death of stars!

#spectroscopy  #photometry  #VLT  #GaiaDR2  #GaiaMission  #accretion  #protoplanetarydisk  #blackhole  #neutronstar  #whitedwarf  #modelling

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Fuelling star formation in nearby galaxies

Dominika Wylezalek & Francesco Belfiore

Examine nearby galaxies using cutting edge radio and optical data to understand how they formed and evolved! Also, learn to observe with a giant radio telescope!

#galaxies  #galaxyevolution  #3Dspectroscopy  #bigdata  #observing

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Get out of the view: explaining light curves of dipping young stars as the effect of a misaligned inner disk

Stefano Facchini & Carlo Manara

Protoplanetary disks, the birthplace of planets, are highly dynamic objects. Here we aim at explaining peculiar time variability in the brightness of young stars as due to a misaligned inner disk.

#Simulations  #SPH  #python  #protoplanetarydisks  #exoplanet  #coding  #photometry

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How biased is the extragalactic distance ladder by stellar association?

Richard Anderson & Remco van der Burg

Let's use deep Hubble Space Telescope observations of pulsating Cepheid stars in the Andromeda galaxy to help solve a cosmic conundrum!

#photometry  #cosmology  #stars  #python  #Hubbletension

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Kinematical study of planet forming disks

Anna Miotello & Stefano Facchini

Protoplanetary disks, much like the planets in our Solar System, orbit around the star at their center. We will model this rotation to learn about the mass of the star, as well as the disk properties.

#ALMA  #protoplanetarydisk  #planetformation  #exoplanet  #python  #keplerianrotation  #carbonmonoxide

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Modulated variability: a new window into stellar pulsations

Richard Anderson

Unravel the hydrodynamics of stellar pulsations & the structure of stellar atmospheres using high-precision spectroscopy of Cepheid stars!

#variablestars  #radialvelocities  #python  #Dopplertomography

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Preparing for the Extremely Large Telescope: how will high-redshift star-forming galaxies appear with HARMONI?

Anita Zanella & Chris Harrison

ESO's ELT will be the largest optical/near-infrared telescope in the world. Investigate with us how distant galaxies will appear when observed with it!

#galaxies  #highredshift  #observations  #simulations

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Take a closer look: studying the properties of the planet-forming inner regions of protoplanetary disks

Carlo Manara & Stefano Facchini

Exoplanets form in the inner regions of protoplanetary disks. We will get the still unknown properties of these regions using multi-epoch spectra of young stars periodically occulted by their disks.

#protoplanetarydisks  #exoplanet  #dippers  #planetformation  #innerdisk  #spectroscopy  #python

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Understanding the formation mechanism of galaxies at their (ghostly) extremes

Remco van der Burg & Jérémy Fensch

Extremely faint and large galaxies were recently found to be surprisingly abundant in the local universe. Come and use the deepest HST images available to watch them form at high redshift!

#galaxies  #observations  #HST  #highredshift  #ultradeep  #photometry

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Unveiling the missing population of accreting white dwarfs

Anna Pala, Adam Rubin & Rosita Kokotanekova

The observations of binaries have been fundamental to two major breakthroughs in physics: the discovery of dark energy and the first detection of gravitational waves. Yet, our understanding of binary evolution is still fragmentary, as revealed by the predicted but undetected population of old accreting white dwarfs. Work with us to shed light on these enigmatic systems.

#photometry  #eclipses  #binaries  #python

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Weighing visible and dark matter with the baryonic Tully-Fisher relation

Federico Lelli & Chris Harrison

The baryonic Tully-Fisher relation relates the visible mass of a galaxy to its outer rotation velocity, providing insight into the nature of dark matter. We will explore this fundamental relation with new data and stellar population models.

#galaxies  #darkmatter  #stellarpops  #statistics  #python

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