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Summer Student Program 2020

Due to the current situation related to the COVID-19 epidemic, we are forced to cancel our Summer Student Program this year. We hope to return with the program again next year.
However, it is still possible to remotely participate in research projects under the supervision of our researchers. Suggestions of topics are listed below. If you are interested in participating in this type of internship, please contact the selected scientist directly to arrange the details.

 

Spectral changes in the stellar-merger remnant of the famous object V838 Mon

Supervisor: dr Tomek Kamiński (e-mail: tomkam@ncac.torun.pl)

 

In 2002 in a stellar merger event, V838 Mon became the brightest object of the Local Group. The research group in Toruń (T. Kamiński, R. Tylenda and M. Schmidt) regularly observes this peculiar object to learn what remains after the stellar coalescence and how matter was dispersed during the merger. Optical spectra of V838 Mon obtained at high and moderate resolutions provide valuable insight on changes that take place in this object and its immediate surroundings. They also display spectacularly strong bands of titanium oxide and lines of alkali metals, including an unusually strong line of lithium. The summer project composes of reduction and systematic analysis of spectra acquired for V838 Mon at UVES and Xshooter at VLT, some of which has not been published. The spectral analysis will provide insights into the changes within V838 Mon's environment. We will also attempt an estimate of the abundance of lithium which is important for understanding the nature or age of the star that was consumed by V838 Mon in 2002. We have also foreseen a preparation of an ESO proposal for further spectral monitoring of V838 Mon with VLT. We seek students who like spectral data reduction (with ESO pipelines) and who would like to learn about stellar and circumstellar spectroscopy of cool media rich in molecules.

Within this project (founded by the National Science Centre, no: 2018/30/E/ST9/00398), undergraduate students from Polish universities will have an opportunity to receive a stipend of up to about 4500 PLN per month. Applicants interested in the stipend should send their CV and a scan of the signed GDPD form (NCN GDPD document available at:  https://www.camk.edu.pl/en/about/ochrona-danych-osobowych/), before 1 June 2020 to tomkam@ncac.torun.pl. A committee will evaluate the applications and the stipend awardees will be announced by 14 June 2020. The project execution time is flexible but is foreseen to take place in July-September 2020.

 

Searching for molecular gas in historical and young classical novae

Supervisor: dr Tomek Kamiński (e-mail: tomkam@ncac.torun.pl)

 

We have searched for molecules in classical novae for a long time, mainly to understand dust formation taking place during their outbursts but also -- owing to the presence of the isotopic shift in molecular spectral features -- to measure isotopic ratios of elements produced in thermo-nuclear reactions on the surface of a white dwarf.  T. Kamiński (CAMK Toruń) has gathered rich observational material at millimeter wavelengths in search of molecular emission in old and young novae. Data were collected at several telescopes: IRAM 30m, APEX, Submillimeter Array, and ALMA, but so far they have all resulted in nondetections. The task presented to the student is to gather and classify all the data, estimate upper limits on the emission, and prepare a publication (or its essential parts). The publication or a final report should present and summarize all the surveys at the mentioned telescopes. It may be helpful to run simple radiative transfer simulations to aid better understanding of how constraining the upper limits are. As part of the project, we will prepare an observing proposal requesting observations at the Submillmeter Array or IRAM 30m for GK Per which remains the only classical nova with known millimeter-wave emission in the CO molecule. The lack of emission in the tens of investigated novae provides evidence that molecules are effectively destroyed shorty after dust formation and it emphasizes the unique nature of the so-called red novae -- eruptive variables that produce a lot of molecular gas which can be observed even centuries after their outbursts.

Within this project (founded by the National Science Centre, no: 2018/30/E/ST9/00398), undergraduate students from Polish universities will have an opportunity to receive a stipend of up to about 4500 PLN per month. Applicants interested in the stipend should send their CV and a scan of the signed GDPD form (NCN GDPD document available at:  https://www.camk.edu.pl/en/about/ochrona-danych-osobowych/), before 1 June 2020 to tomkam@ncac.torun.pl. A committee will evaluate the applications and the stipend awardees will be announced by 14 June 2020. The project execution time is flexible but is foreseen to take place in July-September 2020.

 

Binaries in Simulated Star Clusters

Supervisor: prof. Mirek Giersz (e-mail: mig@camk.edu.pl)

 

Binaries are extremely useful in understanding stellar formation and evolution, as well as the  evolution of star cluster itself. Observations of binaries in dense stellar systems, such as globular clusters, provide direct distance estimates and can also help to constrain the initial properties of binaries. In this project, the student will work on analysing results of thousands of numerical simulations of real star clusters. The main task of the project will be to develop scripts for analysing the database of models to extract necessary data from the point of view of spatial distributions of different types of binaries which can be directly observed (e.g. cataclysmic variables, X-ray binaries, eclipsing binaries, …).  The goal of the project is to provide information on dependence of observational properties of such binaries on the type of cluster evolution and initial cluster properties, and also what are the best cluster regions to observe such binaries.

 

Binary Cepheids in the Small Magellanic Cloud

Supervisor: dr Bogumił Pilecki (e-mail: pilecki@camk.edu.pl)

Cepheids are probably the most important class of variable stars, being very useful in many different areas of astrophysics. Because of the period-luminosity relation they obey, they are important distance indicators in the local universe. They are also key objects for testing the predictions of stellar evolution and stellar pulsation theories.
In the Araucaria group, we have observed and analyzed Cepheids in eclipsing binary systems, which gave us an opportunity to accurately measure their masses, radii and other physical parameters. Because of its influence on the P-L relation, the binarity of Cepheids itself has also gained attention. In our project, we have collected hundreds of observations of Cepheids in the Small Magellanic Cloud. For some of them, signs of orbital motion were found in the radial velocity curves. In the course of the project the student would have to analyze the collected data to confirm the binarity, and if possible to find orbital periods and amplitudes. As additional proof, the student will also have to prepare O-C diagrams using available light curves. Programming skills will be essential for the necessary analysis and visualization.

 

Modeling of eclipsing binary systems in the Milky Way and beyond

Supervisor: dr Bogumił Pilecki (e-mail: pilecki@camk.edu.pl)

 

Detached double-lined eclipsing binary systems are excellent tools to measure the masses and radii of the stars with sub-percent accuracy. Moreover, it is possible to measure distances to such systems located in other galaxies in an almost purely geometrical manner. For example, in the Araucaria group, we have measured the distance to the Large Magellanic Cloud with the accuracy of close to 1% using observations of a sample of binary systems composed of giants. The current project will consist of modeling of a selected sample of binary systems of different types and in different environments (and galaxies) using various sources of data (TESS, OGLE, ASAS, etc.) and modeling tools (WD, PHOEBE, JKTEBOP). Multiband lightcurves and radial velocity curves will be analyzed. The focus will be put also on the automatic estimation of the initial parameters, using e.g. artificial intelligence or other methods developed by the student. Programming and computer skills will be essential for the successful completion of the project.

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