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Summer Student Program 2019

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 Deadline for applications is May 5th, 2019. The selection procedure will be completed by May 31st, 2019. The successful candidates will be informed by email.


Possible subjects:


1. Podczerwona spektroskopia rentgenowskiego układu podwójnego Cyg X-3

Cyg X-3 - masywny układ pobogatą w hel materię z gwiazdy Wolfa-Rayeta (WR) - jest jednym z najjasnieszych obiektów  w Drodze Mlecznej. Zadaniem studentki/studenta będzie analiza widm podczerwonych uzyskanych przy pomocy teleskopu IRTF i pokrywajacych ponad 2 pełne okresy orbitalne. W szczegolnosci, spodziewane jest uzyskanie i zbadanie krzywych predkosci radialnych w oparciu o pomiary linii emisyjnych gwiazdy WR oraz proba wyznaczenia mas składników.

Supervisor: prof. Joanna Mikołajewska (, CAMK Warszawa
Time: July - August 2019


2. The light element beryllium in extremely metal-poor stars: inhomogeneous Big Bang nucleosynthesis?

Big Bang nucleosynthesis is responsible for the formation of most 4He in the Universe, together with some amount of deuterium, 3He, and 7Li. In the standard theory of Big Bang nucleosynthesis, heavier chemical elements are not formed in detectable amounts. There are, however, alternative theories that allow for the creation of other elements such as beryllium (9Be).

Old, extremely metal-poor stars are among the first objects formed in the Universe. Therefore, the determination of abundances of beryllium in these old stars serve as an observational test of different theories of Big Bang nucleosynthesis. Indeed, there are some suggestions that some old stars contain more beryllium than expected. 

In this project, the student will analyse stellar spectra of one extremely metal-poor star (from UVES at the VLT) to determine the physical properties of the star (temperature, surface gravity, metal content) and its abundance of beryllium. A scientific publication may result from this project. 

See the webpage for more details on the project.

Supervisor: Dr Rodolfo Smiljanic (, CAMK Warsaw
Time: July (4 weeks)


3. Vortex-flux tube interactions in neutron stars

Neutron stars are incredibly dense objects, with interior densities that exceed nuclear saturation density. The neutrons and protons in the interior are likely to be in a superfluid/superconducting phase, and in particular in the presence of a type II superconductor the magnetic field is confined to flux tubes. The interaction between superconducting flux tubes and superfluid vortices can give rise to damping, and have an impact on astrophysical phenomena such as pulsar glitches or the gravitational wave driven r-mode instability. This project will focus on large scale models of this interaction and their impact on neutron star models.
Supervisor: Dr Brynmor Haskell (, CAMK Warsaw

Time: July-mid September (4-6 weeks) TBD


4. A NICER view of black hole X-ray binaries

Transient X-ray binaries are the best laboratory to investigate the different regimes of accretion onto a black hole. During an outburst a black hole X-ray binary (BHXRB) goes through well-defined evolutionary patterns. The best approach to study this evolution is to combine the information conveyed by their X-ray spectral and timing properties. The Neutron star Interior Composition Explorer (NICER) is currently the best instrument to carry out X-ray spectral-timing studies of BHXRB. It combines large effective area, high time resolution, and negligible pile-up. During these first years of operation NICER observed several new bright X-ray transients. The project is aimed at exploiting this rich dataset. The student will learn the procedures of NICER data reduction and apply them to the available dataset of BHXRB. The final goal is to extract data products that will then be used for X-ray spectral-timing analysis. The student should have prior programming experience in Python, and be familiar with Linux environment and bash scripting.

Supervisor: Dr Barbara De Marco (, CAMK Warsaw
Time: July to mid-August (4-6 weeks) or September (4 weeks)


5. 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 (, CAMK Warsaw

Time: mid-August - mid-September (4-6 weeks) TBD


6. Spectroscopy of pre-main sequence Delta Scuti stars in the TESS field

The pre-main sequence Delta Scuti stars have spectral and luminosity types similar to the  classical Delta Scuti stars. Therefore, their pulsations are thought to be driven by the hydrogen  and helium ionization zone. An instability strip for the pre-main sequence Delta Scuti variables was suggested by Marconi & Pallac (1998) by mostly basing on the photometric atmospheric parameters. The pulsation of those variables needs to be investigated by the high-quality photometric data (such as TESS photometry), to fully understand the pulsation behaviour of the pre-main sequence Delta Scuti variables. The aim of this project is getting the accurate atmospheric parameters of some pre main sequence Delta Scuti stars to check the reliability of the suggested pre-main sequence instability strip and probing their pulsational behaviour. The Gaia DR2 parallaxes will also use to check the position of the selected stars on the Hertzsprung-Russell diagram. As a result of this study, the general atmospheric parameters, chemical abundances of the pre-main sequence Delta Scuti stars will be derived and a new instability strip for these variables may be suggested. Thus, we will have an opportunity to deeply understand the pulsation mechanism occurs in the pre-main sequence Delta Scuti stars.

The student will work on the high-resolution and high signal-to-noise spectra of the selected variables to derive the atmospheric parameters of the systems. Data and the software for the project are available. The student should be familiar with Linux environment and have a basic experience in Fortran.


Supervisior: Dr Filiz Kahraman Alicavus (, CAMK Warsaw

Time: July-mid August (4-6 weeks)

7. Evolutionary and pulsation modelling of eclipsing binary systems
Thanks to the Araucaria project (, precise physical parameters are available for tens of stars - members of eclipsing binary systems. Most of these stars are helium burning giants. Some of them pulsate as classical Cepheids: their size and brightness undergo periodic variation. Stars with precisely determined physical parameters are excellent testbeds for stellar pulsation and stellar evolution theories. The student will model evolution and pulsation of one such binary system using the evolutionary and pulsation codes included in Modules for Experiments in Stellar Astrophysics (MESA; The goal will be to adjust the parameters of the evolutionary model to match the current position of binary components in the HR diagram. For pulsating component, the goal will be to reproduce the light and radial velocity variation. Basic introduction to stellar evolution and stellar pulsation theories and tutorial on the MESA code will be provided.
Supervisor: Dr Radoslaw Smolec (, CAMK Warsaw
Time: July-September (4-6 weeks) TBD
8. Opportunities for carrying out a summer project in Prof.  Kluźniak's group
This could be on the physics of shells ejected from the surface of  neutron stars, as well as on numerical simulations of accretion disks and jets around Young Stellar Objects.

Below, a specific collaborative project with Dr. Miljenko Čemeljić is described. For the other projects please feel free to contact Prof. Kluźniak by e-mail.

The JET project:

Of particular interest is the launching of an asymmetric jet in Young Stellar Objects.

In 2D axisymmetric simulations with PLUTO v.4.1, a conical outflow and axial jet, similar to Romanova et. al (2009) and Zanni & Ferreira (2013) has been obtained by M. Cemeljic in a restricted polar domain. We would like to obtain the axial jet (with and without the conical outflow) in the setup with theta=[0,pi]. This would be important step towards the full 3D simulations, as in such simulations we do not prescribe the disk equatorial boundary condition.

We will use the resolution RxTheta=(250x100)grid cells in the radial domain extending to Rmax=50R_*, in the full meridional plane, Theta=[0,pi]. We should try to obtain the results in the parameter space  of YSOs.

It would be interesting also to see if the jet persists with the viscosity parameter alpha_v<0.685, and for what values of magnetic viscosity alpha_m. Can we relate the result with the jet to some interval in the magnetic Prandtl number, Pm=3*alpha_v/(2*alpha_m)?
Supervisior: Prof. Włodek Kluźniak (, CAMK Warsaw
Time: July - mid September, TBD
9. Galactic mergers 

Publicly available data from large-scale cosmological simulations are a very useful tool when studying various aspects of the evolution of the Universe. The focus of this project will be on galaxies that underwent a relatively recent galactic merger. Such simulations have a limited resolution for particular galaxies but they provide a huge set of diverse simulated galaxies evolved in the cosmological context. They are the perfect playground for galactic astronomy - small private universes, but with 3d information including dark matter and full history!

The student will learn about a series of the state-of-the-art hydrodynamic cosmological simulations, Illustris, and the available data. For a selected set of interesting merger remnants, the student will process the particle data and will measure quantities, such as the amount of stars in the visible tidal features or the merger-induced star formation. These measurements will help in the understanding of the galaxies and processes within them in the real Universe.


Supervisior: Dr Ivana Ebrova (, CAMK Warsaw
Time: mid July - mid September, TBD


10. Modelowanie emisji rentgenowskiej z akreujących czarnych dziur
Emisja rentgenowska z akreujących czarnych dziur w aktywnych galaktykach i rentgenowskich układach podwójnych jest podstawowym nośnikiem informacji o procesach fizycznych zachodzących w ekstremalnych warunkach spadku materii na czarne dziury. Analiza widm i zmienności czasowej takiego promieniowania daje informacje o geometrii akrecji oraz zachodzących tam procesach fizycznych.

W ramach projektu mogą być wykonane następujące zadania:

  1. Zapoznanie się i uruchomienie kodu numerycznego typu Monte Carlo, symulującego widma i zmienność promieniowania powstającego w wyniku odwrotnego efektu Komptona, w bliskim otoczeniu akreujących czarnych dziur w różnych wariantach geometrycznych.
  2. Analiza wcześniej uzyskanych wyników z innego kodu tego typu, wynikiem której będą wielkości, które można potencjalnie porównać z danymi obserwacyjnymi.


Wymagana: zadanie 1. wymaga dobrej znajomości Fortranu; zadanie nr 2. wymaga znajomości C w celu zrozumienia kodów uzytych do wygenerowania danych, oraz umiejętności napisania prostych kodów do analizy tych danych (Fortran, C, Python, etc...).

Supervisior: Prof. Piotr Życki (, CAMK Warsaw
Time: mid August - mid September, TBD