The goal of the proposed project is to give the students a working knowledge of the technology used in modern astrophysics by exploiting real data from one of the currently flying international space observatories.
The students will learn to process scientific data, perform methodical work in relating experiment to theory, and interpret, evaluate and summarize the results, as well as writing a structured report to present their investigations to other astronomers.
The ultimate goal is the discovery of new celestial X-ray sources and a study of their observational properties
DTU Space has built the X-ray monitor, JEM-X, aboard the ESA satellite INTEGRAL (INTErnational Gamma RAy Laboratory), which has been in orbit, observing the sky, since 2002. The Department of Astrophysics is responsible for the maintenance of the instrument and the continued development of its data analysis software.
New observational data are regularly downloaded and processed at DTU Space with the aim of monitoring the activity, in the 3-35 keV energy range, of X-ray sources such as black holes, neutron stars, and active galaxies. A catalog of more than 200 entries is being maintained to register the X-ray sources that have been detected with JEM-X. Sky images are obtained to measure fluxes, as well as to improve the position of little-known X-ray sources. Light curves are produced from observations to study the time variations of the source X-ray emission. The energy distribution of the X-ray emission is represented by spectra, from which the physical properties of the sources can be further investigated.
The purpose of the project is to explore JEM-X data from both archived and new observations with the aim of populating the JEM-X catalog of detected sources. The determination of the observational properties of the X-ray sources will be an important outcome. In particular, the search for unusual X-ray bursts should be addressed. The students will become familiar with software and methods used in modern high energy astrophysics to analyze the observations.
New discoveries are expected and will lead to publications in order to inform the wider astronomical community.
Some basic knowledge of Linux (or Unix) is preferable.