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Most galaxies host a supermassive black-hole, including our own Milky Way. When these black holes accrete matter it can produce large amounts of energy in the form of radiation, from XRay to infra-red bands. Sometimes these active galactic nuclei (AGN) eject material at relativistic speeds in the form of jets and these emit in radio wavelengths, giving rise to radio galaxies.

Much is still unclear about our picture of the life cycle of AGN, including:
i) Why don’t all compact (i.e. young) radio sources evolve into giant radio galaxies?
ii) What is the relative fraction of ‘quasar’ vs ‘radio’ mode AGN in the nearby and distant universe, what are their physical properties, and how do these affect or feedback into their environment?
iii) Is there a population of high redshift radio AGN and how what are their properties?

Within the GAMA Legacy ATCA Southern Survey (GLASS) project there are several PhD and Masters projects possible in the science area of AGN to answer the above questions and more.

GLASS is a ATCA legacy survey project that has been allocated 3000 hours over six semesters. Our goal is to image the full 50 square degrees of the G23 GAMA field at 5.5 and 9.5 GHz with the ATCA to 10s microJy/beam depths, the deepest ever survey over such a large area. We expect to detect over 13,000 radio sources and combined with the excellent multi-wavelength (UV to infrared) and spectroscopic coverage from GAMA we will be able to study AGN in exquisite detail.

This will be the deepest wide survey at high radio frequencies until the SKA comes online. The first semester of GLASS observations are now complete. The student will have the opportunity to learn radio interferometry, perform observations, and do data analysis in a very hands on fashion, which is not possible in the future with remote facilities such as ASKAP and SKA. Collaboration and travel opportunities exist with many domestic and international scientists, including astronomers based in Croatia, United States, Italy, United Kingdom and India.


A radio galaxy in the extended Chandra Deep Field South. Green shows contours from ATCA 5.5 GHz imaging (Huynh et al. 2012) and greyscale is HST z band imaging, showing the host galaxy.



Active galactic nuclei (AGN) radio jet models (Turner and Shabala 2015)


Professor Lister Staveley-Smith

Director, Science (UWA)

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Dr O. Ivy Wong

Research Fellow

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Dr Anna Kapinska

Research Associate (CAASTRO)

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Dr Nick Seymour

Senior Lecturer

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