The physics of energetic transients across the spectrum

Lead Research Organisation: University of Leicester
Department Name: Physics and Astronomy


In this project you will study the biggest explosions in the Universe, with the biggest telescopes on Earth and fastest observatories in space. The transient Universe has brought many unexpected advances in astrophysics in recent years, from discoveries of gravitational waves and their electromagnetic counterparts to new populations of ultralong gamma-ray bursts and relativistic tidal disruption events.

Exploration of these dynamic populations relies upon the acquisition of data of new examples that tracks both the temporal and spectral evolution. This project will enable you to be part of well established international collaborations at world-class observing facilities, as well as present opportunities to lead your own proposals and contribute to defining new strategies to obtain and analyse multi wavelength, high cadence coverage, to probe the origins of extreme events.

The University of Leicester leads the UK science data centre for the NASA Swift satellite, which is the premier detection facility for gamma-ray bursts currently in space, and the international STARGATE collaboration following up bursts with the European Southern Observatory Very Large Telescope. Our team has contributed to the development of Swift and upcoming transient missions including SVOM launching 2021, and are partners in consortia and observing programmes from the highest energy gamma-rays (e.g. CTA) to the lowest frequency radio (LOFAR). Our multi wavelength follow-up of gamma-ray bursts and other transients has led to numerous exciting results revealing some of the physics of the central engines of these extreme events, where accretion onto compact objects can power fast outflows, as well as building a picture of the environments in which these events occur.

This is an observational astrophysics project that will bring together data from across the electromagnetic spectrum to probe the physics of transient sources: chasing new sources as they happen and carrying out population studies.


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Studentship Projects

Project Reference Relationship Related To Start End Student Name
ST/S505511/1 30/09/2018 29/09/2022
2602292 Studentship ST/S505511/1 30/09/2021 30/03/2025 Adam Hennessy
ST/T506242/1 30/09/2019 29/09/2023
2602292 Studentship ST/T506242/1 30/09/2021 30/03/2025 Adam Hennessy
ST/W507611/1 30/09/2021 29/09/2025
2602292 Studentship ST/W507611/1 30/09/2021 30/03/2025 Adam Hennessy