PhD study at the Astronomical Institute

The Astronomical Institute organizes PhD study in astronomy and astrophysics.

Application deadline: May 15th 2017
Address: Astronomicky ustav SAV
059 60 Tatranska Lomnica
Interviews: July 3th 2017
PhD study (start): September 1st 2017
  1. Extrasolar planets and brown dwarfs
    Supervisor: Dr. Jan Budaj (budaj@ta3.sk)
    Workplace/Affiliation: Astronomical Institute, Slovak Academy of Sciences, Tatranska Lomnica, Slovak Republic
    Brown dwarfs and extrasolar planets are exotic substellar objects which were discovered only recently. They pose and hide an ever-increasing number of interesting problems. Their atmospheres are very cold but they may be strongly irradiated. They form clouds from which iron, glass, or salt can rain. A complex study of these objects may include astronomy, physics, meteorology, astronomy, geophysics, chemistry and even biology. This field of research is evolving quickly and also the focus of the thesis may shift according the current situation, availability of data, as well as interest and activity of the student. Mainly the following areas will be considered and monitored:
    -disintegrating exoplanets or "exo"bodies on close orbits around their parent stars,
    -eclipsing stellar systems with dark dusty disks which may harbour planets (photometry and modelling of spectra and lightcurves),
    -reflection effect and albedo in interacting binaries and exoplanets (photometry and modelling),
    -transit timing variations and search for possible new exoplanets (photometry).
    knowledge of English language, basics of Astronomy and Astrophysics.
    Welcomed experience:
    programming (Fortran), Linux operating system, and astronomical observations.
    Foreign students welcome.
  2. Dynamics and magnetism of selected phenomena in the solar atmosphere.
    Supervisor: Dr. Peter Gömöry (gomory@ta3.sk)
    Consultant: Dr. Christoph Kuckein (Leibniz-Institut für Astrophysik, Potsdam, Germany)
        Goals: Magnetic fields play key role in the solar atmosphere. The improvements in the observing possibilities achieved in the last decade by new ground-based (e.g., GREGOR telescope) or space-born instruments (e.g., IRIS, SDO) allowed unprecedented possibilities of their detailed investigation. But many important questions remain still open. Some of the selected are: how is the vertical stratification of the magnetic vector field in sunspots and other solar magnetic structures, coupling of magnetic fields from the photosphere to the chromosphere and higher levels or influence of magnetic fields on the dynamics of the surrounding atmosphere. Moreover, important interaction processes between the magnetic fields of sunspots and the convection motions happen on the scales of about 75 km, i.e. on scales which is possible to resolve with the new solar facilities. The goal of the thesis is to study magnetic parameters and dynamical properties of selected magnetic features (e.g., sunspots, arch filament systems, fibrils, etc.). The derived results will be analyzed with respect to the prediction of numerical models and previous findings.
        Methods: Imaging, spectroscopic and spectro-polarimetric measurements acquired with very high spatial, temporal, and spectral resolution using large European ground-based solar telescopes (e.g., GREGOR, VTT or SST) and space-born (e.g., IRIS, SDO or Hinode) solar satellites will be investigated. Full-Stokes profiles of spectral lines formed at different heights of solar atmosphere above sunspots will be analyzed. The components of the magnetic vector fields (the magnetic field strength, inclination and azimuth) will be obtained applying inversion codes such as SIR or HAZEL. Standard spectral analysis will be applied to EUV spectra obtained by space instruments in order to determine thermodynamic parameters of the observed plasma.
    Special requirements:
    good background in physics, basic knowledge in programing (IDL, Fortran), basic English Research field:
    Physics of the solar atmosphere.
  3. Interstellar particles in the Solar system's interplanetary medium
    Adviser: RNDr. Mária Hajduková Jr., PhD. (Maria.Hajdukova@savba.sk)
    Affiliation: Astronomical Institute of the Slovak Academy of Sciences, The Departement of Interplanetary Matter, Bratislava
        Focus of the research: The interaction of our Solar system with the interstellar medium, due to the motion of the Sun relative to the local interstellar cloud, should lead to the presence of interstellar particles, or, at least, interstellar dust grains. Viewed from within the Solar system, a flow of interstellar matter should be observed. Since identifying particles of interstellar origin is a challenge, the true abundance of interstellar particles in the Solar system has not yet been unambiguously determined.
        Objectives: The aim of this work is to map the influx of the interstellar particles and follow their trajectories through the Solar system. These are influenced by their interaction with the interplanetary medium and controlled by a number of size-dependent forces. The emphasis of this work lies on large particles approaching the Earth's orbit on hyperbolic orbits with respect to the Sun, which can be observed as meteors.
    Computer simulations of interstellar particles' trajectories will be compared with observational data from the avaliable meteor databases. The substantial question is the ratio of the interstellar particles to those belonging to the interplanetary medium, which we should register in a particular region. This depends on the distance from both the Sun and the ecliptic. Therefore, the results of Earth-based and space-born observations will be synthesized to achieve a broader view.
    programming, the English language
    Research heading:
    The dynamical evolution of the small bodies of the Solar system

For further information, please contact supervisors via email...

In Tatranska Lomnica, February 22nd, 2017

RNDr. Aleš Kučera, CSc.
Director of the AISAS

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