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SURF: Announcements of Opportunity

Below are Announcements of Opportunity posted by Caltech faculty and JPL technical staff for the SURF program. Additional AOs for the Amgen Scholars program can be found here.

Specific GROWTH projects being offerred for summer 2019 can be found here.

Each AO indicates whether or not it is open to non-Caltech students. If an AO is NOT open to non-Caltech students, please DO NOT contact the mentor.

Announcements of Opportunity are posted as they are received. Please check back regularly for new AO submissions! Remember: This is just one way that you can go about identifying a suitable project and/or mentor.

Announcements for external summer programs are listed here.

Students pursuing opportunities at JPL must be
U.S. citizens or U.S. permanent residents.

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Project:  Probing the Ambiguous Accretion-Powered Transient ASASSN-18zp
Discipline:  Astronomy
Mentor:  Tom Holoien, Carnegie Postdoctoral Fellow, (PMA), tholoien@carnegiescience.edu
Mentor URL:  http://users.obs.carnegiescience.edu/tholoien/  (opens in new window)
Background:  Accretion onto supermassive black holes (SMBHs) powers some of the most energetic transient events in the universe, and studying these events allows us to probe the properties of SMBHs and learn more about accretion physics. Active galactic nuclei (AGNs), powered by gas accreting onto SMBHs, and tidal disruption events (TDEs), powered by stars falling into SMBHs, are the primary events that we use for these studies, and in recent years both AGNs and TDEs have been discovered with increasing frequency by survey projects like the All-Sky Automated Survey for Supernovae (ASAS-SN). By discovering more accretion-related events and observing them in detail, we can both learn about individual SMBHs and build a large sample of events to perform population studies of SMBHs, improving our understanding of accretion physics and black hole evolution.
Description:  You will help with analyzing and interpreting follow-up observations of ASASSN-18zp, an accretion-powered transient discovered by ASAS-SN in late 2018. These data include X-ray, UV, and optical photometry from the Swift space telescope and optical spectra and photometry obtained from numerous facilities on the ground, including the Swope, du Pont, and Magellan telescopes at Las Campanas Observatory. The analysis will include image processing, data reduction, and image subtraction techniques to construct light curves and model the transient's emission properties. After characterizing the emission of ASASSN-18zp, we will compare it with TDEs and AGNs in literature to determine the nature of this transient and learn about the SMBH at the center of the host galaxy.

Carnegie will fund your trip to present the results of this study at the 2020 AAS meeting.
References:  http://users.obs.carnegiescience.edu/tholoien/research/tdes.html
http://adsabs.harvard.edu/abs/2017ApJ...838..149A
http://adsabs.harvard.edu/abs/2014ApJ...788...48S
Student Requirements:  Some proficiency with Unix and Python programming is highly suggested.

Position available to Caltech students only. Research will be conducted at Carnegie Observatories in Pasadena as part of the summer student program which runs from June 17 - Aug 23. Students must be present for the full duration of the program.
Programs:  This AO can be done under the following programs:

  Program    Available To
       SURF    Caltech students only 

Click on a program name for program info and application requirements.


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