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Project area/S

  • Extragalactic radio science
  • The Distant Universe

Project Details

Active super-massive black holes lying at the centres of galaxies can produce luminous radio emission outshining their host galaxies and sometimes extending well beyond them. To study the evolution of such radio galaxies requires deep radio surveys of the sky. Australia hosts two of the most powerful survey telescopes in the world with the Australian Square Kilometre Array Pathfinder and the Murchison Widefield Array. These two facilities are currently conducting unprecedented surveys of the southern skies.

This project will use the latest data from one, or both, of these telescopes to create deep images of well-studied regions of the sky. These data will be calibrated and processed using the Pawsey Supercomputers. To obtain deep images many observations will need to be combined. As well as producing a deep final image to be used for studies of the radio galaxy population, this data set can also provide light-curves of these radio galaxies. Variation of the radio brightness can be a useful probe of either variation of black hole accretion or the intervening interstellar medium/free floating objects. Either way new parameter space in variability will be explored.

Student Attributes

Academic Background

Physics with some Astronomy preferred.

Computing Skills

The supercomputing is managed via Bash shell scripts.

Training Requirement

Experience with managing large data sets and using super-computers, using astronomical archives and catalogues, LaTeX.

Project Timeline

  • Week 1 Inductions and project introduction, background reading and familiarization with MWA and ASKAP as well as accessing Pawsey supercomputers
  • Week 2 Initial Presentation, familarisation with downloading and processing one set of data on Pawsey
  • Week 3 Build this up to processing many data sets at once
  • Week 4 Produce catalogues from the first data processed as other data is calibrated and imaged
  • Week 5 Combine all images for a deep data set and produce catalogues for deep image and each individual epoch
  • Week 6 Look for varying radio galaxies
  • Week 7 Cross-match deep catalogue with other surveys are radio, optical and IR wavelengths
  • Week 8 Perform analysis on the radio population
  • Week 9 Final Presentation
  • Week 10 Final Report


Dr Jess Broderick

Adjunct Research Associate

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