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Project area/S

  • Pulsars and Fast Transients; Extragalactic Radio
    Science; Spectral-line Radio Astronomy

Project Details

The people you surround yourself with influence your behaviours – do neighbouring galaxies similarly influence the production of fast radio burst (FRB) progenitors?
FRBs are extremely powerful radio transients, so luminous they are visible across the Universe, which occur within mere milliseconds. Yet, to date the origin of FRBs is not yet known. To best address this, we need to better understand the host galaxies FRBs
reside in, and their surrounding environment.
Recently we have followed up on two FRB host galaxies detected by the Commensal Real-time ASKAP Fast Transients Survey (CRAFT), with the MeerKAT radio telescope in South Africa, searching for the cold, neutral gas which births stars in both the FRB host galaxy and neighbouring galaxies.
In this project the student will analyse the new radio data and investigate the environments around the FRBs, and help contribute towards the question of how FRBs are formed.

Student Attributes

Academic Background

Preferably astronomy/physics background

Computing Skills
Experience with Unix or linux, python

Training Requirement

Some basic Linux and supercomputing usage may be useful

Project Timeline

  • Week 1 Inductions and project introduction
  • Week 2 Background reading and Initial Presentation
  • Week 3 Learning basics of matter content of galaxies and FRBs, focus on HI and data reduction
  • Week 4 Searching via CARTA and learning how to run the SoFiA source-finding algorithm
  • Week 5 Creating HI moment maps and spectra of the FRB host and neighbouring galaxies
  • Week 6 Analysis of each detection in combination with ancillary (e.g. optical, UV, infrared) data
  • Week 7 Analysis of the FRB host environments and comparing with previous detections in the literature
  • Week 8 Analysis of the FRB host environments and comparing with previous detections in the literature
  • Week 9 Final Presentation
  • Week 10 Final Report
HI Observation of FRB host galaxy

One of the FRB host galaxies observed with MeerKAT for this project. ASKAP, the telescope that detected and localised the FRB (originating from the region enclosed by the red ellipse) to the centre of this nearby spiral galaxy, simultaneously detected the cold hydrogen gas in the same galaxy (white contours). With MeerKAT, we will see much fainter gas at greater detail and even detect the gas in neighbouring galaxies. Image credit: Glowacki et al. 2023.


Dr Karen Lee-Waddell

Director (Australian SKA Regional Centre)

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Dr Clancy James

Senior Research Fellow

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