Astrophysics Research at Liverpool John Moores University

Lead Research Organisation: Liverpool John Moores University
Department Name: Astrophysics Research Institute

Abstract

We propose to continue our wide-ranging programme of research tackling cutting-edge astrophysical problems. We address two main topics: Explosive Transients (Theme A) and: Galaxies and Active Galactic Nuclei (Theme B). These Themes cover several of the scientific priorities in STFC's strategic plan under their theme Universal Challenges. In Theme A we will study the physics of Gamma Ray Bursts (GRBs) - the most powerful explosions in the Universe - and use them as environmental probes. Combining cutting-edge theoretical predictions with novel observational experiments on the world's largest robotic telescopes, we will probe regions of extreme physics to determine the fundamental role of magnetic fields. We will use GRBs to probe the environment of massive stars locally and in the early Universe. We will search for the first electromagnetic counterparts to neutrino bursts predicted to be produced by GRBs, detection of which will revolutionise understanding of relativistic explosions. In a second part of Theme A we will investigate the fundamental properties of both Galactic and extragalactic Recurrent Novae, building on our considerable expertise in this area, focussing on the possibility that these objects are the progenitors of the important Type Ia Supernovae, which have become known as one of the primary probes of the scale and nature of the Universe. Theme B explores how the galaxies around us are formed, and how they then evolve over cosmic time. We will investigate what the properties are of the stellar populations which form in galaxies, when in the history of the galaxies the stars were formed, and how this depends upon the surroundings of the galaxies (e.g. whether they are in clusters or not, whether or not they contain the accreting Supermassive Black Holes which power Active Galactic Nuclei). We will use information from the most powerful ground based telescopes, and from optical, infrared and X-ray telescopes in space, combined with theoretical modeling, in an approach known as 'Galactic Archaeology' to uncover information on how the galaxies were assembled. All of our research uses the most advanced ground-based telescopes (such as our own Liverpool Telescope), satellites and data analysis techniques to carry out observations from gamma rays to radio wavelengths and ARI staff are lead many of the new generation surveys with these telescopes. The projects we propose in both themes are technically demanding and require computer software support to aid the delivery of the science. The structure and organisation of the ARI is designed to deliver internationally excellent research. The ARI is also a major international player in developing and exploiting outreach activities to engage the wider population in our science through the National Schools Observatory and the local astronomy visitor centre, Spaceport.

Publications

10 25 50
 
Description Discoveries into the evolution of galaxies and stars, their origin and astrophysical processes.
Exploitation Route Continue to research into unsolved problems in astrophysics.
Sectors Education

 
Description Many outreach activities across all sectors, e.g. Schools, public, policy makers, flower shows
First Year Of Impact 2010
Sector Education,Culture, Heritage, Museums and Collections
Impact Types Cultural,Societal,Economic,Policy & public services

 
Description NSO Presentation in House of Commons
Geographic Reach National 
Policy Influence Type Influenced training of practitioners or researchers
 
Description Consolidated Renewal
Amount £1,200,000 (GBP)
Funding ID ST/R000484/1 
Organisation Science and Technologies Facilities Council (STFC) 
Sector Academic/University
Country United Kingdom
Start 04/2018 
End 03/2021
 
Description EU Framework Programme
Amount £71,038 (GBP)
Organisation European Commission 
Sector Public
Country European Union (EU)
Start 06/2012 
End 06/2015
 
Description EU Framework Programme
Amount £29,175 (GBP)
Organisation European Commission 
Sector Public
Country European Union (EU)
Start 06/2011 
End 06/2013
 
Description STFC Large Awards
Amount £15,000 (GBP)
Organisation Science and Technologies Facilities Council (STFC) 
Sector Academic/University
Country United Kingdom
Start 06/2011 
End 06/2013
 
Description STFC SiS Fellowships
Amount £74,252 (GBP)
Organisation Science and Technologies Facilities Council (STFC) 
Sector Academic/University
Country United Kingdom
Start 10/2011 
End 10/2013
 
Description University Widening Access
Amount £1,283,000 (GBP)
Organisation Liverpool John Moores University 
Sector Academic/University
Country United Kingdom
Start 09/2011 
End 09/2017
 
Description ARI Engagement 
Form Of Engagement Activity A talk or presentation
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach National
Primary Audience Public/other audiences
Results and Impact The ARI Outreach team delivers 50 events per year in addition to School based activities. These include, astronomy and science societies and associations, public open events, theatre, street theatre etc..art exhibitions, church societies, cubs, scouts, brownies etc..
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2009,2010,2011,2012,2013
 
Description Input to Parliamentary Inquiry 
Form Of Engagement Activity A formal working group, expert panel or dialogue
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Type Of Presentation Keynote/Invited Speaker
Geographic Reach National
Primary Audience Policymakers/politicians
Results and Impact Provision of evidence and acting as expert witness for House of Commons S&T Committee Inquiry into astronomy and particle physics.

Recommendations in final report supporting the Liverpool Telescope and National Schools' Observatory.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2011
 
Description NSO-Garden Chelsea 
Form Of Engagement Activity Participation in an activity, workshop or similar
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach International
Primary Audience Public/other audiences
Results and Impact In 2015 the NSO exhibited a garden called Dark Matter; at the Chelsea Flower Show winning a Gold medal and Best in Class" (Fresh Gardens). The aggregate audience was estimated at 211 million. The garden has an extensive legacy value at the STFC Daresbury Laboratory and is highlighted on the front cover of the 2015 STFC Impact Report.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2015
URL http://www.stfc.ac.uk/files/impact-report-2015/
 
Description National Schools Observatory 
Form Of Engagement Activity Participation in an activity, workshop or similar
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach International
Primary Audience Schools
Results and Impact Enhanced interest and uptake of STEM subjects

Each year the NSO delivers just over 40 different events or visits to or involving schools. This reaches a total of about 4,500 pupils per year in about 80 different schools.

Increasing schools registration on NSO - more than 4000 currently
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity Pre-2006,2006,2007,2008,
URL http://www.schoolsobservatory.org.uk/
 
Description National Schools' Observatory in Primary Schools 
Form Of Engagement Activity Participation in an activity, workshop or similar
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Type Of Presentation Workshop Facilitator
Geographic Reach National
Primary Audience Schools
Results and Impact 1000 Primary school teachers and their pupils engaged with astronomical research using the Liverpool Telescope and resources of the NSO website. Over all NSO activity (Primary, Secondary, FE) over the period: 30,000 observing requests were delivered and just under 3,000,000 educational webpages viewed. This is in addition to the engagement activity entered into eVal for the previous period.

www.schoolsobservatory.org.uk
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2011,2012,2013
URL http://www.schoolsobservatory.org.uk
 
Description Press coverage relating to the Liverpool Telescope 
Form Of Engagement Activity A press release, press conference or response to a media enquiry/interview
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Type Of Presentation Paper Presentation
Geographic Reach National
Primary Audience Media (as a channel to the public)
Results and Impact 12+ significant stories covered by the media through press releases related to the Liverpool Telescope.

This is in addition to the outputs reported for the previous period through eVal.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2011,2012,2013
 
Description School and Public Talks 
Form Of Engagement Activity A talk or presentation
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Type Of Presentation Keynote/Invited Speaker
Geographic Reach National
Primary Audience Public/other audiences
Results and Impact 50+ public talks and 200+ schools talks based around science from the Liverpool Telescope.

This is in addition to data entered through eVal for the previous period.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2011,2012,2013
URL http://www.astro.ljmu.ac.uk/outreach
 
Description TV and radio coverage 
Form Of Engagement Activity A press release, press conference or response to a media enquiry/interview
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Type Of Presentation Keynote/Invited Speaker
Geographic Reach International
Primary Audience Public/other audiences
Results and Impact Contributions to TV and radio broadcasts featuring LIverpool Telescope science. Total 20+ in this reporting period.

This is in addition to the outputs reported for the previous period through eVal.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2011,2012,2013
URL http://www.schoolsobservatory.org.uk