[Skip to Content]

Project area/S

  • Extragalactic radio science
  • The Distant Universe

Project Details

Active super-massive black holes lying at the centres of galaxies can produce radio emission extending over hundreds of kiloparsecs, well beyond the size of normal galaxies. This emission is extremely luminous and such `radio galaxies’ can be observed to the earliest epochs of the Universe. In order to study the evolution of radio galaxies we must undertake a careful census of them at different epochs, determining their luminosity distribution for different classes of radio galaxies. To anchor this analysis, we need a `local’ or `low-redshift’ measurement of the radio luminosity function.

This project will revisit previous work on the local radio luminosity function and supplement it with data from new surveys with the Murchison Widefield Array such as GLEAM. The aim of this project is to determine a definitive local luminosity function where we also study the distribution as a function of black hole accretion rate (measured from infrared surveys), galaxy mass and environment using data sets not available at the time of the original analysis. A stretch goal of this project would be to study the evolution of luminous radio galaxies towards high redshift by modelling the data with an evolving function.

Student Attributes

Academic Background

Physics with some Astronomy preferred.

Computing Skills

Python experienced preferred, but most common programming languages are fine if the student is comfortable with it.

Training Requirement

Modest programming with preferred language, using astronomical archives and catalogues, LaTeX .

Project Timeline

  • Week 1 Inductions and project introduction, background reading and familiarization with sample
  • Week 2 Initial Presentation, start compiling the sample and identify the host galaxies
  • Week 3 Cross-match with WISE to obtain their mid-infrared power
  • Week 4 Determine total Luminosity Function at low redshift
  • Week 5 Classify sources by accretion state
  • Week 6 Determine luminosity function for high and low accretors as well as stellar mass and environment
  • Week 7 Fit models to sample (including lower luminosity from the literature)
  • Week 8 Fit model to high redshift data to constrain its evolution
  • Week 9 Final Presentation
  • Week 10 Final Report


Dr Jess Broderick

Adjunct Research Associate

Read More