Surveying the plane of our galaxy
The richness and high stellar density of the galactic plane makes it both a challenging and rewarding region that represents the bulk of the stellar content of our galaxy. For a thorough understanding of the structure of the galaxy as well as to capture a good census of the types and numbers of sources in it, the galactic plane needs to be mapped.
Thanks to the advent of large CCD detectors with many megapixels, we can now survey such environments with high spatial resolution and over large areas. These modern surveys represent a huge improvement over the photographic surveys of the past, and many exotic sources still await discovery. Several large surveys targeting the galactic plane are either underway or will soon commence providing us with large datasets in the next few years. The Warwick astrophysics group is involved in several of these which present opportunities for Ph.D projects in support of these large (and international) surveys. These include the exploitation of the CCD imaging data in order to identify rare objects such as interacting binary stars, nebulae, X-ray sources and crucial phases of stellar evolution. Warwick is also leading the use of fiber-fed multi-object spectrographs on large telescopes to followup promising sources identified in these surveys. The research will involve the analysis of both imaging and spectroscopic data using a variety of telescopes as well as the development of efficient tools in order to manage and exploit the large volume of data. Given the wide scientific scope and large data volumes of these surveys, projects can be tailored to the interest of the student.
For further information please email Danny Steeghs
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