Most asteroids have a non-spherical shape, resulting in variations in brightness with time (light curves) from which their spin period can be determined. The phase function describes the change in brightness of an asteroid as a function of solar phase angle (the angle between the directions of the Earth and Sun subtended at the asteroid). The form of the phase function varies between and among different spectral classes of asteroids, and contains information on the physical nature of their surfaces. In rare cases brightness changes can also result from albedo variations across the surface, eclipses/occultations of moons and mass ejection from impacts, volatile sublimation or spin-up. In order to detect such effects, which may cause changes in brightness or colour of as small as a few per cent, the underlying rotational light curve and phase corrections need to be well understood. This project will link ongoing observational programmes to characterise asteroid properties with development of new capabilities for moving object observations with our telescopes. It will make use of the OpenScience Observatories' Tenerife facilities PIRATE and COAST (see pirate.open.ac.uk, telescope.org), located at the Observatorio del Teide (OT), Tenerife, Canary Islands, one of the best northern hemisphere observatory sites. The observatory control system requires the addition of a module to track objects moving on solar orbits. This task will be completed in collaboration with the developers of the observatory control software. The data reduction pipeline also needs the addition of an option to deal with moving objects, and to conduct photometry of tracklets. Specifically, the student will take a leading role in the following tasks: (i) Develop and assist in implementing a software algorithm for the telescope mount to track solar system objects (ii) Develop optimized protocols for the automated monitoring of moving objects (iii) Identify opportunities to observe bright near-Earth asteroids during close flybys, which enable large phase angle coverage. (iv) Conduct long-term multi-band photometric monitoring of a sample of asteroids (v) Refine a processing-pipeline for the data stream from the OT to OU, to cater for moving objects
This PhD will work on data from the NOMAD instrument on the ExoMars Trace Gas Orbiter (TGO) mission to Mars. The ExoMars TGO mission is searching for trace gases on Mars, some of which could be linked to the presence of life. The Nadir and Occultation for MArs Discovery (NOMAD) instrument is one of four instruments on TGO, and is co-led by the Open University. NOMAD is an optical spectrometer that will search for a range of trace gases in unprecedented detail, and this project provides an opportunity to work within the NOMAD team to search for these trace gases. This work will have the potential for high impact both scientifically and from a public interest perspective.
The SuperWASP all sky photometric survey (Pollacco et al. 2006) is the most successful ground-based search for transiting exoplanets, having discovered >150 hot Jupiters. In 10 years of operation, it has also produced an archive of more than 30 million high cadence lightcurves comprising over 500 billion individual measurements of bright stars. In recent years we have exploited this photometric archive to address aspects of stellar evolution, focussing on eclipsing binaries and stellar multiplicity (Lohr et al. 2012; 2013a; 2013b; 2014a; 2014b; 2015a; 2015b) and on stellar pulsations (Norton et al. 2016; Holdsworth et al. 2014; Smalley et al. 2011; 2017, Greer et al. 2017).
Abstracts are not currently available in GtR for all funded research. This is normally because the abstract was not required at the time of proposal submission, but may be because it included sensitive information such as personal details.
Butterflies In The City: Landscape Connectivity And Conservation Of Urban Woodland Butterflies.