Michael Ashley's Research Projects
Michael's research interests centre around astronomy from Antarctica. This includes the design and construction of instrumentation for use in Antarctica, and in the analysis of data collected by the instruments. See http://mcba11.phys.unsw.edu.au/~plato-a/ and http://mcba11.phys.unsw.edu.au/~plato-r/
Recently acquired data requiring analysis include:
- Near-infrared spectra of the Antarctic sky, to quantify the effects of airglow and aurorae on astronomical measurements.
- Some 15 terabytes of optical images from the AST3-2 telescope were obtained in 2016. There is interesting work to be done in calibrating the images and developing a data reduction pipeline for precision photometry and astrometry. The images can be used for the detection of supernovae, exo-solar planets, and variable stars. There are also some high-speed (millisecond exposure times) images that can be used to study the astronomical seeing in Antarctica.
On the instrumentation side:
- The NISM near-infrared photometer should be returning to UNSW from Antarctica in 2018. The instrument needs a series of calibration tests.
The image below shows the HEAT terahertz telescope at Ridge A in Antarctica. HEAT operated for 4 years until 2016. The person behind the instrument is Dr Craig Kulesa from the University of Arizona. UNSW PhD student Matthew Freeman visited Ridge A with Dr Kulesa in 2014.