An environmental census of black hole activity and star formation

Closing Date

31st December 2020*

Applicants should contact the primary supervisor, and submit their Expression of Interest (EOI) and Application as soon as possible.

*unless filled earlier

The Research Project

Many galaxy properties, including mass, star formation history and morphology, are correlated with their environments. The properties of Active Galactic Nuclei (AGN) hosted by these galaxies are similarly sensitive to where the galaxy finds itself. For example, powerful radio AGN, produced by relativistic jet launching by a combination of spin and accretion onto a supermassive black hole, are found overwhelmingly in galaxy groups and clusters. Interpreting the observable properties of radio AGN is important for quantifying the amount of feedback these objects do on their host galaxies and beyond, yet this too depends on knowledge of the environment into which the jets are propagating.

GAMA Legacy ATCA Southern Survey (GLASS) is a 3000-hour Legacy survey on the Australia Telescope Compact Array (ATCA), Australia's premier radio astronomy instrument. GLASS conducts sensitive observations of 50 square degrees of the sky at 5.5 and 9.5 GHz. A key feature of GLASS is availability of environment measures through deep optical group catalogues covering the survey field. The two main science goals are to measure the demographics of Active Galactic Nuclei and star forming galaxies in both the nearby and high-redshift Universe, as a function of environment.

This PhD project will focus on imaging GLASS data, and constructing catalogues of radio sources and their host galaxies across a wide range of radio, optical and infra-red wavelengths, for a complete census of AGN, star forming galaxies, and their environments. For an interested student, an AGN modeling component using the UTAS-developed RAiSE dynamical model is also a possibility. This project will be performed in collaboration with colleagues CSIRO Astronomy and Space Science.

  • Open to Australian (domestic) candidates and to International candidates
  • Applicants must already have been awarded a first class or second upper Honours degree or hold equivalent qualifications or relevant and substantial research experience in an appropriate sector
  • Applicants must be able to demonstrate strong research and analytical skills
  • Applicants from a variety of disciplines are eligible to apply

See the following web page for entry requirements:

Assessment Criteria
  • Degree-level undergraduate education in physics, astronomy, or a related subject
  • Familiarity with radio astronomy techniques and/or analytical modelling
  • Coding experience
Application Process

Applicants who require more information or are interested in this specific project should first contact the listed Supervisor. Information and guidance on the application process can be found on the Apply Now website.

Information about scholarships is available on the Scholarships webpage.

More Information

Please contact, Stas Shabala for further information.