Home  /  Undergraduate Research  /  Programs  /  Amgen Scholars  /  Announcements of Opportunity

Amgen Scholars: Announcements of Opportunity

Below are Announcements of Opportunity posted by Caltech faculty for the Amgen Scholars program.

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. For additional tips on identifying a mentor click here.

Please remember:

  • Students pursuing Amgen must be U.S. citizens, U.S. permanent residents, or students with DACA status.
  • Students pursuing Amgen must complete the 10-week program from June 21 - August 25, 2023. Students must commit to these dates. No exceptions will be made.
  • Accepted students must live in provided Caltech housing.

<< Prev    Record 33 of 59    Next >>           Back To List

Project:  Dusty galaxies as seen by SPHEREx
Disciplines:  Astronomy, Computer Science
Mentor:  Andreas Faisst, Dr., (PMA), afaisst@caltech.edu
Mentor URL:  https://sites.astro.caltech.edu/~afaisst/  (opens in new window)
Background:  Dust is an important ingredient in galaxies across cosmic times. There are many mechanisms involved in the formation (and destruction) of dust, for example supernova explosions, winds from stars, strong radiation from the central supermassive black holes, and other chemical processes. All in all, dust affects galaxy evolution as it is directly related to star formation and other internal processes happening in galaxies. Furthermore, the characterization of dust in galaxies in different internal environments can constrain state-of-the-art simulations and spectral models.
The observed effect of dust grains is to scatter and absorb blue light and emit it in the infrared. Infrared imaging and spectroscopy (i.e. the splitting of light in different wavelengths) is important to study dust. SPHEREx (built in parts at Caltech & JPL, and KASI in South Korea) is a new infrared telescope that is about to be launched in early 2025. SPHEREx will obtain low-resolution spectroscopic measurements of the whole sky by taking pictures of ~100 wavelength slices in the near-infrared wavelength range between 0.8 and 5 micrometers. This will enable us to study the dust properties of many galaxies by studying the light emitted by dust grains at different wavelengths.
The goal of this project is to prepare for SPHEREx by exploring what parameter space in galaxy properties SPHEREx will be able to probe based on the sensitivity and resolution of its observations. We will focus on exploring dust emission that could be detected by SPHEREx. This project ideally results in a refereed publication in an astrophysical journal.
Description:  The project has two parts, which will give you the opportunity to work on real imaging data (similar to what SPHEREx will get) as well as simulated SPHEREx observations.
In the first step, you will use imaging data from the Akari infrared satellite to get an idea of the parameter space (for example in colors, dust abundance, and mass) of the galaxies that can be seen with SPHEREx. The goal of this first part is to answer questions like: Where in the sky are the galaxies that will be detected by SPHEREx? How many times will they be observed? What are their properties? What is the range of science that can be carried out with SPHEREx?
In a second step, you will simulate realistic SPHEREx spectra (i.e., the light emission in narrow bins of wavelength) and images for the galaxies identified in part one of the project. This includes using high-resolution model spectra fit to the observed galaxies and characterizing at what spatial resolutions these galaxies will be observed. The goal for this second part is to predict what SPHEREx will see assuming different (yet unknown) dust-model assumptions of the galaxies. These predictions are crucial as they will be matched to real SPHEREx observations and will tell us all about the dust properties of these galaxies!
Depending on progress, you will finish up this project by writing a short paper, which will be published in a renowned astrophysical journal.
References:  AKARI NEP survey:
- Overview: Matsuhara et al. (2006; https://ui.adsabs.harvard.edu/abs/2006PASJ...58..673M/abstract)
- Survey design: Wada et al. (2008; https://ui.adsabs.harvard.edu/abs/2008PASJ...60S.517W/abstract)
- Mid-IR catalog: Takagi et al. (2012; https://ui.adsabs.harvard.edu/abs/2012A&;A...537A..24T/abstract)
- Near- to Mid-IR catalog: Murata et al. (2013; https://ui.adsabs.harvard.edu/abs/2013A&;A...559A.132M/abstract)

SPHEREx telescope
- Public webpage (https://spherex.caltech.edu/)
- Overview Paper (https://ui.adsabs.harvard.edu/abs/2020SPIE11443E..0IC/abstract)
Student Requirements:  You should be interested in astronomy in general, however, astronomy courses are not necessarily required. You should be fluent in Python programming skills (you know how to use Jupyter Notebooks, how to write and run Python scripts, how to plot data, etc). Knowledge of GitHub is a plus as we will publish all our scripts in a GitHub repository.
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.

<< Prev    Record 33 of 59    Next >>           Back To List