Visitors Programme - University of Central Lancashire, Centre for Astrophysics

Lead Research Organisation: University of Central Lancashire


Astrophysics research at the University of Central Lancashire is concentrated within three broad themes: Extragalactic, Stellar, and Solar Physics. International leadership and participation in multi-institute collaborations requires a vibrant Visitors Programme, in order to sustain a competitive advantage, cross-fertilise skillsets with overseas expertise, and foster new and exciting collaborative links when time-critical targets of opportunity arise. Visitor Programmes are particularly cost-effective in this regard; the efficacy (and importance) of our previous grant is demonstrated graphically by the fact that 1/3 of the Centre for Astrophysics 200 refereed publications since 2003 were written in collaboration with the 35 visitors supported by the grant. This application seeks to expand upon our previously-supported Visitors Programme, to reflect our rapid and significant growth in High Performance Computational Astrophysics, while maintaining support for our existing international links within the stellar and solar physics themes. Examples of research projects involving visitors include fully self-consistent cosmological chemical and dynamical simulations of galaxy formation; age-dating and chemical deconstruction of ancient galaxies throughout the Universe; tracking the origin sites of the chemical elements and isotopes surrounding us today; understanding the growth of supermassive black holes through observations and models of their neighbouring visible star cluster companions; probing the interiors of stars using sound waves; uncovering the mysterious origin of coronal mass ejections; exploring the link between coronal holes on the Sun, their solar winds, and their interaction with the Earth's atmosphere.


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Richard S (2010) Structure, kinematics and chemical enrichment patterns after major gas-rich disc-disc mergers in Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society

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Rahimi A (2010) Chemodynamical analysis of bulge stars for simulated disc galaxies in Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society

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Pilkington K (2011) The cold gas content of bulgeless dwarf galaxies The cold gas content of bulgeless dwarfs in Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society

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Pilkington K (2012) Metallicity gradients in disks Do galaxies form inside-out? in Astronomy & Astrophysics

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Pavlenko Y (2010) First overtone CO bands in the giant component of RS Ophiuchi: the 12 C/ 13 C ratio in 2008 in Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society

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Description We have quantified the role that dust has in shaping the colours and appearances of distant galaxies, and for the fist time, been able to include the effects that energy from exploding stars have upon the structure of galaxies like our Milky Way. As part of the Kepler Mission, we have discovered a new class of binary star and shed new light on the mysterious objects which likely are responsible for mysterious Type Ia supernovae.
Exploitation Route The role of feedback in shaping galaxy evolution must be explored in a more statistical sense; we have helped shaped the international efforts by implementing feedback from exploding stars in a new and unique manner, resulting in systems which, for the first time, look like the Milky Way. The next step must be the gathering of a statistical sample of simulations, spanning a range of masses and assembly histories, in order to assess the veracity of our energy scheme.
Sectors Education

Description 28 visitors were supported in full or in part by this Visitors Grant, spanning the range of of expertise within UCLan's Jeremiah Horrocks Institute. Key results which eventuated directly because of the support provided by this grant include (but are not limited to): (i) the determination of elemental abundance ratios for the stars in the MILES database; MILES is the industry-standard library for stellar population work and population synthesis (Milone, Sansom & Sanchez-Blazquez 2011) - MILES is the fundamental ingredient used in most stellar populations codes used to interpret the colours and spectral features of distant galaxies, and Sansom continues to lead this international effort to enhance its power beyond just 'metallicity', to include elemental patterns above and beyond [Fe/H]; (ii) quantifying the magnitude and impact of dust and PAHs on the spectral energy distributions of disk galaxies (Popescu, Tuffs, et al 2011), as well as the impact of dust on the determination of morphology of bulges from observational survey (Pastrav, Popescu, Tuffs, et al 2012) - the importance of quantifying the role of dust in shaping the spectra and morphology of galaxies is a critical sub-component of the GAMA Survey, in which UCLan (through Popescu & Sansom) are leading figures; (iii) a measure of the dust emission variability in the recurrent nova RS Oph (Rushton, ..., Pavlenko, ..., et al 2010), suggesting that the secondary companion in this unique system is likely a variable, further supported by the team's determination of the 12C/13C ratio in the RS Oph secondary, itself consistent with being a red giant branch star which has evolved past the first dredge-up (Pavlenko, ..., Rushton, ..., et al 2010) - RS Oph is thought to be the Rosetta Stone of potential Type Ia supernovae progenitors, and hence is the focus of a massive international effort, including key leaders from UCLan (Eyres & Rushton); (iv) the discovery of a new class eccentric binaries showing tidally-induced pulsations and distortions, as part of the Kepler Mission (Thompson, ..., Barclay, ..., Kurtz, Hambleton, ..., et al 2012), in addition to the identification of pulsation modes in two sub-dwarf B-stars which do not show expected simple patterns (Pablo, ..., Barclay, ..., Kurtz, ..., et al 2012); (v) the important determination of the impact of binary star nucleosynthetic yields on the spectra of galaxies (Sansom, Izzard & Ocvirk 2009) - while the result shows that the impact is not overly significant, this was the first quantitative determination of this almost universally accepted fact; (vi) with visitors Teyssier & Courty, we have realised the world's first adaptive mesh refinement cosmological hydrodynamics code with self-consistent coupling to a galactic chemical evolution code - called RAMSES-CH (Few et al 2012), this will be released to the world-wide community in 2012-2013; (vii) modelled the chemical evolution of globular clusters withing our unique framework of cluster formation occurring within a Type Ia supernova-enriched region (Sanchez-Blazquez, Gibson, Karakas, Pilkington, et al 2012) - this framework is one of the few in the world which is consistent with all known abundance anomalies in globular clusters, a mystery which has perplexed the community for 40 years; (viii) for the first time, we have applied advanced morphological classification statistics to simulated spiral galaxies, comparing and contrasting with observational data, in order to quantify the short-comings in our sub-grid physics implementation (Hambleton, Gibson, Conselice, et al 2011); (ix) implemented a new and highly successful energy feedback scheme into the Gasoline SPH code, and characterised the internal gas dynamics of the results systems (Pilkington et al 2011), their radial metallicity gradients & metallicity distribution functions (Pilkington et al 2012a,b); (x) finalised work on a new treatment of hydrodynamics scheme for SPH (Kawata,Okamoto, Gibson et al 2012).
First Year Of Impact 2009
Sector Education
Impact Types Cultural,Societal

Description Chemo-RAMSES 
Organisation National Center for Scientific Research (Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique CNRS)
Country France 
Sector Academic/University 
PI Contribution CNRS provided the AMR code; UCLan has been responsible for contributing its expertise in chemical evolution, to expand the code's usefulness to the international community
Collaborator Contribution RAMSES is the industry-standard in Adaptive Mesh Refinements simulations; CNRS has provided expert support (and the code) for our group, in order to allow us to implement, for the first time, a full treatment of chemistry within it
Impact Paper describing the new chemo-version of RAMSES nearing completion; of greater importance will be its release to the international community, later in 2011. Final testing and user's manual current underway.
Start Year 2009