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Summer student program 2018

Nicolaus Copernicus Astronomical Center (CAMK PAN) offers an opportunity to participate in our scientific research under a guidance of staff members in Warsaw or Toruń. The program is intended for EU citizens.


We invite 2nd, 3rd, or 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.


CAMK PAN 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 submitted in PDF form to praktyki@camk.edu.pl. Deadline for applications is May 6th, 2018. The selection procedure will be completed by May 31st, 2018. The successful candidates will be informed by email.


Possible subjects:


1. Astronomical instrumentation in application to space sector

The “Solaris” network of robotic telescopes offers considerable opportunities for development and deployment of small astronomical instruments. Additionally, this is supported by a recent opening of a laboratory at CAMK Toruń fully equipped to carry out small instrumentation projects. Telescopes of our network are capable of observing satellites and space debris on all orbits (LEO-GEO). The project may encompass contributions to  (1) development of instruments enhancing the capabilities of our telescopes to observe and characterize resident space objects (RSO, this involves lab work), (2) undertaking observing campaigns to detect, monitor and catalogue RSOs (this includes writing pieces of software, data reduction).

The details of the possible tasks is available here.

Supervisor: Prof. Maciej Konacki (maciej@ncac.torun.pl), CAMK Toruń
Time: June-mid September (4-6 weeks) TBD


2. Mock Observations of Eclipsing Binaries in Simulated Star Clusters

Variable stars have been extremely useful in understanding stellar formation and evolution. Observations of eclipsing binaries in dense stellar systems like globular clusters provide direct distance estimates and can also help to constrain the turn-off masses in these systems. In this project, the student will work on simulating mock observations of results of numerical star cluster simulations using the COCOA code. The main task of the project will be to further develop the COCOA code by accurately computing changes in magnitude for binary stars that will eclipse each other during periodic observations.
COCOA creates synthetic observational data from the projected snapshot of a star cluster simulation, it can also be used to create a sequence of projected snapshots in which positions of stars in binaries can be tracked. When these positions of stars in some these binaries will overlap during the eclipses, the total magnitude of the binary will decrease which will be detectable through photometry of the mock observations. By doing this, it will be possible to compare the population of eclipsing binaries in simulated star cluster models with real observations. Programming experience particularly in Python along with knowledge of reducing photometric observations will be particularly helpful for the implementation of this task.

Supervisor: Dr Mirosław Giersz (mig@camk.edu.pl), CAMK Warsaw
Time: July-September (4-6 weeks) TBD


3. Kinetic simulations of magnetic reconnection

The goal of this project is introduction to kinetic numerical simulations of the process of magnetic reconnection using the particle-in-cell (PIC) method. Reconnection is a process of dissipation of magnetic energy with broad applications to high-energy astrophysics. The starting point would be analysis of simulation results including the description of particle acceleration and production of radiation during reconnection. The project may be expanded to include preparation and execution of PIC simulations by the student.

Supervisor: Dr Krzysztof Nalewajko (knalew@camk.edu.pl), CAMK Warsaw
Time: mid-July - mid-September (4-6 weeks) TBD


4. Constraints on the molecular abundances in envelopes of evolved stars with Herschel/HIFI archival observations

The envelopes of evolved stars are sites of rich chemistry.  To understand chemical processes one needs at first to understand observations by analyzing distribution and abundance of molecules in the envelope. One of difficulties of these analyses is sensitivity of the molecular emission to the mechanism of excitation, e.g.  some molecules, like ammonia or water, are excited by the infrared radiation formed mainly in the circumstellar dusty envelope, and for this reason are sensitive to the variability of the central source.

The goal of the project is to study excitation mechanism and variability of selected molecules and to compare computations with the archival data of the Herschel mission, particularly with observations made with the heterodyne HiFi instrument, providing data of high resolution.

The student will be provided with the introduction to non-lte processes governing excitations of molecular levels and the basic knowledge how to run and use codes for spherical transfer in outflowng gas used in our group.


Supervisor: Dr Mirosław Schmidt (schmidt@ncac.torun.pl), CAMK Toruń
Time: mid-July - mid-September (4 weeks) TBD


5. Full 3D numerical simulations of thin accretion disk

Building on our successful numerical simulations of the thin accretion disk with the PLUTO code in 2D axi-symmetric setup, we move to the full 3D setup. The initial conditions are set by the analytical solution for the disk in full 3D hydro-dynamical case, given by Kluźniak and Kita (2000). We will first simulate the purely hydro-dynamical solution in 3D, focusing on the solutions with the viscous alpha parameter alpha<0.685. We will check the conditions in the disk with the backflow, and the stability of the solution. Then we proceed to set-up the stellar dipole magnetic field, and perform the test runs in the full 3D. We aim to find conditions for launching of the outflows from the star-disk magnetosphere in our simulations.

Student will work with the template of the 3D setup, to obtain the working simulation and present the results. Familiarity with Linux environment and basic programming skills in C and Python would be a plus.

Supervisor: Dr Miljenko Cemeljic (with Prof. W.Kluźniak) (miki@camk.edu.pl), CAMK Warszawa
Time: mid-July - August (4-6 weeks) TBD


6. Neutron stars: astrophysical laboratories for nuclear physics 

Neutron stars are formed in supernovae during the collapse that marks the end of the life of stars with a mass of about 10 solar masses. Although they have been observed in all wavelengths for 40 years, and gravitational waves were recently detected from a binary neutron star system, their structure and the properties of the matter inside them are still poorly known. The project will explore how to constrain the properties of neutron star matter using multimessenger observations, combined with laboratory experiments. It will consist in running numerical calculations of neutron star properties like the mass, radius, moment of inertia etc. that are currently measured or will be in the near future, for different models of interior and confronting the results with observations. The intern should ideally have a prior experience in Python and C or Fortran.

Supervisor: Dr. Morgane Fortin (fortin@camk.edu.pl), CAMK Warszawa
Time: July or September (4 weeks)


7. Digging in a potential asteroseismic goldmine: early B-type stars in Kepler/K2 space photometry

The Kepler mission acquired the highest-precision stellar brightness measurements available in astrophysics. Consequently, many new results on variable stars were derived. However, some stars are still relatively poorly studied due to the sheer amount of data available that astronomers need to handle. The present summer project is aimed at discovering pulsating massive stars in the K2 database of the Kepler mission. The work comprises of detrending the space photometry, followed by determining and analysing its periodic content. On the basis of these analyses we shall try to understand the cause and physics of their light variability. Data and software for this project are available, and a scientific publication may result.

Supervisor: Prof. Gerald Handler (gerald@camk.edu.pl)
Time: July/August 2018 (4-6 weeks) TBD