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Summer student programme 2015

Nicolaus Copernicus Astronomical Center (NCAC) in Warsaw and Torun offers an opportunity to participate in our scientific research under a guidance of a staff member.


We invite 3rd-4th year undergraduate physics or astronomy students (in exceptional circumstances we would accept younger students). The duration of an individual programme should be 4-6 weeks. Students living outside Warsaw or Torun can apply for an accommodation in student houses.


NCAC offers no remuneration for participating in the programme. Student can be paid by his/her supervisor, from the supervisor's grant funds.


Students interested in participating in our programme should first contact the potential supervisor and agree on the exact time and duration of the programme. An application should be then submitted, giving at least the supervisor's name, duration of the programme, marks for the lectures and course taken, application for accommodation if necessary. All additional information about student extracurricular activities is welcome (participation in observational programms, schools, conferences, scientific publications, etc). Applications should be sent by post to CAMK PAN, Bartycka 18, 00-716 Warsaw, or they can be submitted in pdf form to praktyki@camk.edu.pl. Deadline for applications is 4 May 2015. The selection procedure will be completed by 31 May 2015. The successful candidates will be informed by email.



Possible subjects:


1. Jets in microquasars

Accretion in stellar binary systems containing a black hole is usually accompanied by ejection of matter, forming symmetric twin jets. The jets radiate most of the radio emission of those systems, and contribute to emission at higher energies, from infrared to gamma rays. So far, gamma-ray emission has been discovered from two accreting binaries, Cyg X-3 and Cyg X-1. The project will consist of modelling of jets in accreting black-hole systems, and applying the results to observational data from the radio to gamma ray range.

Place: CAMK Warsaw, time: TBA
Supervisor: prof. Andrzej A. Zdziarski (aaz@camk.edu.pl)


2. Analiza i interpretacja profili radiowych pulsarów

Projekt „obserwacyjny”: Wizualizacja i wszechstronna analiza dużej ilości średnich profili pulsarów obserwowanych w Parkes Observatory.


Projekt teoretyczny: Symulacje numeryczne profili pulsarów.

Place: CAMK Toruń, time: TBA
Supervisor: dr hab. Jarosław Dyks (jinx@ncac.torun.pl)

3. The impact of physical and chemical conditions on the stars formation process in the Outer Galaxy

Since the advent of the Spitzer Space Telescope, young stellar objects (YSOs) in the Galaxy have been studied extensively. Most of these studies, however, have concentrated on individual, well-known star formation regions, leaving the larger environments outside the central regions undiscovered.  Spitzer's combination of sensitivity, high dynamic range, and high observing efficiency enabled the large-scale surveys of the Galactic plane at both IRAC (3.6 - 8.0 µm) and MIPS (24 & 70 µm) bands.  Student will analyze Spitzer data for two swaths in different regions of the Outer Galactic plane to uncover a heretofore completely unstudied population of  intermediate- and low-mass YSOs. The selected swaths are sampling the Outer Galactic plane tracing three different spiral arms: Local, Perseus, and the Outer arm at Galactocentric distance of ~9 kpc,~10 kpc, and ~14 kpc, respectively.

Place: CAMK Toruń, time: TBA
Supervisor: prof. Ryszard Szczerba (szczerba@ncac.torun.pl)


4. CO ladders in low-mass star forming regions revealed by APEX and Herschel


A combination of space-based and ground-based spectroscopy is needed to cover the entire set of CO rotational lines ('ladders') tracing the warm gas in star forming regions.  While previous studies utilized the CO ladders integrated over the large spatial scales, the question on how the CO emission changes with the distance from the central protostar is missing. The student will utilize the 1'x2' CO 6-5, 7-6 maps from the APEX CHAMP+  and CO Jup>14 maps from the Herschel / PACS. Rotational diagrams will be used to determine  how rotational temperatures and column densities change at various positions  on the maps of selected star forming regions. She /he will interpret the results in the  context of the follow-up studies of outflows with ALMA.


Place: CAMK Toruń, time: TBA
Supervisor: prof. Ryszard Szczerba (szczerba@ncac.torun.pl)


5. Accretion onto compact objects in High Mass X-ray Binaries

High Mass X-ray Binaries (HMXBs) consist of a compact object (either a neutron star or a black hole) orbiting its massive, early type, stellar companion. The massive (optical) companion in our analysis is an evolved supergiant star. These systems exhibit strong, radiatively driven, stellar winds. These winds are captured by the compact object and therefore trigger emission in the X-ray regime. The X-rays ionize the local gas and subsequently sculpture the local environment significantly. The interplay between the compact object and the stellar wind of the massive star allows to understand both characteristics of the stellar wind and properties of the compact object and how accretion works. The project will involve either (or both):
i) data analysis from public data obtained from major ESA’s (XMM-Newton, INTEGRAL) and/or NASA’s (RXTE, Swift) satellites.
ii) numerical codes simulating the interplay between stellar wind and compact object and accretion onto compact objects.

Both simulations and observations can constrain physical properties of these systems.
The exact details and the nature of  this project can be set after discussion with the potential student.

Place: CAMK Warsaw, time: TBA

Supervisor: dr Antonios Manousakis (antonism@camk.edu.pl)
Language: Greek, English

6. Analiza fotometrii klasycznych gwiazd pulsujących

Wielookresowe gwiazdy pulsujące są niezwykle interesujące – pozwalajaą na testowanie teorii pulsacji i ewolucji gwiazd oraz wyznaczanie parametrów gwiazd. Zadaniem praktykanta będzie analiza fotometrii dla Cefeid i gwiazd RR Lutni z masowych przegladów nieba, przede wszystkim OGLE oraz ASAS. Celem jest poszukiwanie gwiazd wykazujących zmienność wielookresowa lub modulowana w czasie i analiza tej zmienności.

Place: CAMK Warsaw, time: TBA, 4-6 weeks
Supervisors: dr Radosław Smolec (smolec@camk.edu.pl), prof. Paweł Moskalik (pam@camk.edu.pl)


7. Chemical tagging and Galactic archeology


Galactic archeology is the study of how our own Galaxy was formed and how it evolved with time until its present state. This requires a detailed understanding of the chemical and dynamical properties of a large number of individual stars. Chemical tagging is a method to identify stars that were possibly formed together by studying their chemical composition. Stars formed at the same place, and at the same time, should be twins in terms of chemical composition. However, it has not been proved yet that chemical tagging really works.


This project will use data from a large spectroscopic survey (The Gaia-ESO Survey, a large international collaboration) to test the chemical tagging approach, and help understanding if it is a useful tool for Galactic archeology. A few different specific projects are possible, depending on the interests of the student.


The project can involve, for example:

1) Statistical study of chemical properties of field stars

2) Study of stars in open clusters

3) Comparison of observational data with a simulation of the Galaxy

4) Study of the methods of stellar chemical analysis and its limitations

5) Computation of stellar kinematics and orbits

Place: CAMK Toruń, time: TBA

Supervisor: dr Rodolfo Smiljanic (rsmiljanic@ncac.torun.pl)

Language: English


8. The internal evolution of giant stars

Stars are objects that also have an evolutionary cycle, they are born, evolve and die. During their evolution, internal processes (nuclear reactions, convection, rotation, hydrodynamical instabilities...) can change the chemical composition the star and be detected through the analysis of the stellar photosphere. The detailed behavior of these changes, how they depend on stellar mass, age, and initial chemical composition are still under study.

In this project, the student will join an ongoing project analyzing high-resolution spectra of a large sample of red giants in open clusters. We will compute abundances for a few different chemical elements (Li, C, N, O, and Na) and compare them with predictions of stellar evolutionary models. The calculation of a few stellar evolution models using a public code might also be conducted. We will then investigate the physical mechanisms that can explain the observed composition of the stars.

Place: CAMK Toruń, time: TBA
Supervisor: dr Rodolfo Smiljanic (rsmiljanic@ncac.torun.pl)
Language: English


9. Analiza danych z detektorów fal grawitacyjnych

Tematem praktyk jest analiza danych z detektorów fal grawitacyjnych we współpracy Virgo/LIGO, oraz projektowanego detektora trzeciej generacji Einstein Telescope. Interferometry Virgo i LIGO są obecnie rozbudowywane, a ich oczekiwana czułość znacząco zwiększy prawdopodobieństwo pierwszej bezpośredniej detekcji fal. Celem projektu jest opracowanie nowych (bądź optymalizacja istniejących) metod numerycznych analizy już zebranych danych, oraz przygotowanie się do analizy danych dostępnych w przyszłości (Advanced LIGO/Virgo, Einstein Telescope), w poszukiwaniu periodycznych fal pochodzących z rotujących, nieosiowosymetrycznych gwiazd neutronowych.


Place, time: CAMK Warsaw, August-September
Supervisor: dr Michał Bejger (bejger@camk.edu.pl)
10. Energetics of jets in quasars and radio galaxies

In many Active Galactic Nuclei (AGN) accretion of matter onto black hole is accompanied by production of narrow streams of matter called 'jets'. These jets are often relativistic and some of them reach powers comparable to the accretion power. Their launching via Blandford-Znajek mechanism must involve  fast rotating black holes and  so strong magnetic fields that they  may  dynamically dominate over  innermost portions of the accretion flow. This challenges the standard accretion disk models and supports the magnetically-arrested-disk scenario. The main purpose of the project is to verify consistency of  such a scenario by studies of the jet production efficiency in quasars and radiogalaxies with double radio structures. Available in catalogs optical and radio data would be used in this research.


Place, time: CAMK Warsaw, 16 July - 15 August
Supervisor: prof. Marek Sikora (sikora@camk.edu.pl)


11. Super-Eddington, collimated radiation from the thick accretion disk funnels


The student will work under guidance of Marek Abramowicz and Marek Sikora on calculating radiation from thick accretion disks (with a possible application to ULXs). No previous knowledge of the subject is assumed. Marek Abramowicz will give one-week course (12 hours) explaining all mathematical details needed and introducing to the subject.

Place, time: CAMK Warsaw, TBA

Supervisors: prof. Marek Abramowicz (marek.abramowicz@physics.gu.se); prof. Marek Sikora (sikora@camk.edu.pl)


12. Test models for testing the correctness of the MOCCA numerical code


The MOCCA code is one of the most advanced numerical codes to study the evolution of real star clusters. The scope of work includes the preparation of different initial conditions for the MOCCA code in order to verify the correctness of its operation. A student will prepare several scripts to analyze in graphical form the output of the code, for quick evaluation of the results. The aim is to build the code verification tools. Requirements: basics of programming (preferably Fortran, C, Java, Python)


Place: CAMK Warsaw, time: July or September; 4 weeks
Supervisor: dr hab. Mirosław Giersz (mig@camk.edu.pl)

Requirements: basics of programming (preferably fortran, c, java, python)

13. Numerical simulations of very high energy gamma-ray photon detection by the Imaging Atmospheric Cherenkov Telescopes

Observations of astrophysical objects in the field of very high energy (>100GeV) gamma-ray astronomy is done using ground-based Cherenkov telescopes through detection of Cherenkov light from extensive air showers generated by high-energy photons. Examples of such observatories are H.E.S.S. (www.mpi-hd.mpg.de/hfm/HESS) or MAGIC (magic.mpp.mpg.de). Currently, the next generation very high energy gamma-ray observatory, the Cherenkov Telescope Array (CTA; www.cta-observatory.org), is under construction. Poland is designing and building a prototype of a small size telescope, so called SST -1M telescope and is planning to build, in cooperation with Switzerland, a mini array of five SST-1M telescopes. During the project student will perform Monte Carlo simulations of gamma-ray detection process for a single SST-1M telescope and the array of SST-1M telescopes to determine the parameters such as the effective area, sensitivity, angular and energy resolution. Simulations will include both a formation and development of the air showers in the atmosphere, Cherenkov radiation emission by the particles of the shower, and the process of detection of radiation by a telescope: detection of photons by photomultipliers and reconstruction of the shower parameters. The simulations will make use of the existing software and will be conducted using high performance computer clusters and grid infrastructure of EGI (www.egi.eu).

Place and time: CAMK Warsaw; August-September
Supervisor: dr hab. Rafał Moderski (moderski@camk.edu.pl)
14. Sterowanie zrobotyzowanymi teleskopami globalnej sieci projektu SOLARIS

Dzięki finansowaniu z European Research Council (grant w ramach konkursu "Ideas", 1.5 mln Euro), FNP (grant FOCUS), MNiSW (grant wspomagający) oraz NCN (grant badawczy) na łączną kwotę ponad 10 mln PLN Supervisor uruchamia wraz ze swoją grupą sieć zrobotyzowanych teleskopów (4 teleskopy 0.5m - Australia, Południowa Afryka i Argentyna). Strona projektu: http://www.projectsolaris.eu/. Poszukujemy studentów/studentki, którzy/które wsparli/ły by projekt umiejętnościami programistycznymi wykonując fragmentyoprogramowania do zarządzania zrobotyzowanymi teleskopami oraz dostarczanymi przez nich danymi. Wiedzia astronomiczna nie jest wymagana.

Place: CAMK Toruń, time: TBA

Supervisor: prof. Maciej Konacki (maciej@ncac.torun.pl)

15.  Astroseismologia - Konstruowanie modeli sejsmicznych gwiazd Gamma Pegasi i Nu Eridani

W jasnych gwiazdach Gamma Pegasi i Nu Eridani wykryto kilkanascie pulsacji z okresami od kilku godzin do prawie dwóch dni. Dopasowanie teoretycznego widma oscylacji do obserwowanego pozwoli zrozumieć szczegóły budowy wewnętrznej tych gwiazd i zachodzących w nich procesów fizycznych (reakcje jądrowe, konwekcja, rotacja) oraz sprawdzić/zmodyfikować istniejące dane fizyki atomowej dot. transferu energii w wysokotemperaturowej plazmie (w warunkach zbliżonych do wybuchów termojądrowych). Projekt bedzie polegal na konstruowaniu wielu modeli tych gwiazd i obliczeniu ich oscylacji w celu znalezienia modeli najlepiej odtwarzających dane obserwacyjne. Szegolowe cechy obserwowanych oscylacji w tych dwoch gwiazdach sa blizniaczo podobne. Obydwie gwiazdy sa na liscie głównych obiektow badania za pośrednictwem rodziny  nanosatelitow BRITE (w tym dwóch polskich).

Wymagania: znajomosc Fortranu na przynajmniej średnim poziomie, pozwalajacym rozumieć
i modyfikowac gotowe programy.

Place: CAMK Warsaw, time: TBA
Supervisor: dr hab. Aleksiej Pamiatnych (alosza@camk.edu.pl).


16. Meteory bazowe Polskiej Sieci Bolidowej


Tematem praktyk będzie analiza danych ze stacji wideo Polskiej Sieci Bolidowej oraz wyszukiwanie i analiza ciekawych zjawisk bazowych. Analiza ta ma doprowadzić do wyznaczenia trajektorii i orbity ciała, a także miejsca potencjalnego spadku meteorytu.


Place: CAMK, Warszawa

Time: July-September
Supervisor: dr hab. Arkadiusz Olech (olech@camk.edu.pl)