With this vacancy, we are looking for a motivated PhD student to join the IvS to pursue a research program aiming at a. produce a reference catalog of high-resolution stellar spectroscopy from a large amount of data (existing in house). b model these spectra and compare them with the observations in order to critically assess the quality of existing databases of fundamental atomic parameters.
This research program will be conducted in collaboration between the KU Leuven and the Royal Observatory of Belgium. The student will have the opportunity to share his/her time between the two institutions and to collaborate with specialists of very different observational as well as theoretical backgrounds.
Accurate atomicline transition data are fundamental input parameters in astrophysics. They are central for the development of complex models that try to describe stars, their internal structures, atmospheres and evolution in relation to the stellar environment. Uncertainties and errors in adopted fundamental atomic data may systematically propagate throughout all fields of astrophysics, from star formation to galactic evolution.
It is very difficult to obtain accurate fundamental atomic data of astrophysical interest from laboratory measurements, and important quality assessments of the provided atomic data are scarce. This very much complicates the validation of results that follow from their application.
The current project aims at taking a first, although crucial, step towards removing systematic errors in atomic input data required for quantitative stellar spectroscopy. To reach this goal, we will compare very high-quality observed stellar spectra with state-of-the-art theoretical spectra. Although the observations are still ongoing, a very large collection of high-resolution spectroscopic data already exists.
The first goal of the project is to produce a uniform catalog of very high quality spectra and spectral templates from these data. This catalog will be made available to the entire astronomical community. We expect it to be used for various purposes by the astronomical community, offering the student many opportunities for collaborations.
In a second step, the main goal of the thesis will be addressed by comparing the spectra to state-of-the-art spectral modeling in order to retrieve the fundamental atomic parameters. Finally, these measurements will allow a critical assessment of the quality of the information offered by the various atomic repositories.
- has a Master diploma in Astrophysics, Physics or Mathematics
- has good knowledge of the English language
- some coding experience is an asset
The initial contract is for two years and, following standard practice at KU Leuven, shall be prolonged with another two years after positive evaluations.The starting date will be 1 September 2015. The net monthly salary is according to the governmental regulations and depends on the applicant’s work experience but is not less than 1800 Euro (pocket salary). The applicants will be required to receive approval from the Arenberg Doctoral School of the KU Leuven prior to the start of the PhD.
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