MDR Vacation Bursary Project: Automated Extraction of Multi-band X-ray Spectra
August 16, 2013
by Benjamin Tunbridge
By Ben Tunbridge, undergraduate student (MPhys Physics with Astronomy), Faculty of Physical Sciences and Engineering.
I am a student of the School of Physics & Astronomy preparing to commence my fourth and final year on the Physics with Astronomy (MPhys) here at the University of Southampton. For the year ahead, I will be heading out to the U.S. for my year abroad part of my degree.
Galaxy clusters are some of the largest gravitationally bound structures in the universe and can interact on extremely large timescales. Studies of these massive and vast structures can teach us much of the large scale world and the mysteries of the Universe. From our Earthly snapshot views we can determine important features of these clusters including large scale radio relics, shock waves and temperature jumps in the structures medium; remnants of the clusters history such as past inter-cluster mergers.
Currently this process requires several interactions which can take considerable human time. Working under the supervision of Dr Anna Scaife, the aim of this project is to remove the need for lengthy human input by developing a pipeline program to automatically process this data. Key interfering processes which must be considered and dealt in the development of scientific standard quality images include such analysis techniques as the removal of interfering solar flares from data sets and cross-correlating data from the four (3 soft and 1 hard X ray) detectors on board the Suzaku satellite to determine common events. This could improve the effectiveness of data analysis and therefore the science we wish to investigate.
During the summer I will be working through this procedure step by step on particular galaxy clusters starting with one known as A2256 (or more imaginatively the toothbrush cluster) and as I go I will be developing the pipeline program using python programming language along with wrapped C++ library routines to investigate and process this data into workable scientific images ready with minimal human input.
Extra galactic studies is an ever improving field in astronomy and with the development of observational power, reaching further out into the universe and with much more detail than before it is a very exciting time to be part of the astrophysical community and certainly an area I would like to explore further in my academic path.
Supervisor: Dr Anna Scaife
Visit: The School of Physics & Astronomy at the University of Southampton.
MDR Vacation Bursary blog series available at: http://blog.soton.ac.uk/multidisciplinary/tag/vacation-bursary/
Categories: Blog. Tags: Ben Tunbridge, Dr Anna Scaife, Faculty of Physical Sciences and Engineering, Multi-band X-ray Spectra, Physics & Astronomy, and vacation bursary. Project names: Automated Extraction of Multi-band X-ray Spectra.