Research Projects

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

Six research projects will be offered for the programme in 2022; applicants should identify two projects on their application form using the project identifiers A-F 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 key topics and skills that characterise the projects.. 

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!


Wind-blown bubbles around accreting neutron stars and black holes

Marianne Heida & María Díaz Trigo 

How do accreting stellar-mass black holes and neutron stars affect their environment? Search for signs of winds and jets blowing bubbles in the interstellar medium.

#Xraybinary #photometry #neutronstar #blackhole #accretion #outflows

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Changing monsters: How do blazars change their power across the spectrum? 

Paula Sánchez Sáez, Gabriela Calistro Rivera & Martin Zwaan

Are the optical and radio variations of Blazars connected? Help us to understand the physical processes behind the variability in luminous super massive black holes, and to improve our understanding of the ALMA calibrators.

#BlackHoles #Blazars #time-domain #astrostatistics #lightcurves #modelling #ALMA #ZTF

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Extragalactic planetary nebulae in the central regions of galaxies

Magda Arnaboldi & Johanna Hartke (Oxford) 

With this project, by searching for "the needle in the haystack", we are after the green light emitted by the nebulae of dying stars at the centers of galaxies. We will learn about these stars’ mass loss and how they contribute to the dust and metals in the heart of galaxies.

#spectroscopy #MUSE #VLT #optical #dyingstars #planetarynebulae #python #oxygen #dust

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Hide and seek with brawling stellar couples

Julia Bodensteiner, Jakub Klencki & Henri Boffin

Massive stars are the energetic engines of the Universe. Most of them are born in tight pairs in which they strongly interact with their partners, one of them sometimes acting as a vampire. Join us on a journey to the cores of young star clusters in one of our neighboring galaxies, the Large Magellanic Cloud, to hunt for stars that are the products of such brawls.

#MassiveStars #StellarEvolution #BinaryInteractions #MUSE #IntegralFieldSpectroscopy

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Probing the building blocks of planets with ALMA

Louise Dyregaard Nielsen

Learn about stellar activity signals that obstruct the characterisation of young planets. Using data from the high-resolution spectrograph ESPRESSO on the VLT you will investigate how we can separate stellar 'noise' from bonafide exoplanet signals.

#exoplanets #spectroscopy #gaussianProcesses #Python #youngplanets #radialvelocity

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Learning the secret of the elixir of youth: a study of blue stragglers with Gaia

Henri Boffin & Nicola Gentile Fusillo

Using the Gaia DR3 that will be released just before the start of the Summer programme, we will try to understand what governs the formation in open clusters of the puzzling stars known as "blue strugglers" . Join us in this exciting mining of the new Gaia data release, looking for those stars that shouldn’t exist, and in the process, learn about how couples of stars interact!

#GaiaDR3 #datamining #StellarEvolution #binarystars #BlueStragglers #variability 

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