Observations

Jan 20, 2018

Observing the Transient Universe

2016-2-LSP-001

This large SALT program is aimed at studying “things that go bang in the night”, namely transient objects in the Universe which either are newly discovered objects, or known objects who suddenly change their appeatance. Such things include binary stars with accreting compact companions, many of them X-ray or gamma ray sources, eruptive stars which suddenly brighten, black holes systems, including active galaxies powered by them, and all manner of explosions including the most energetic of all, gamma ray bursts.

Jan 18, 2018

HRS spectra of non-radially pulsating Algol components

2017-1-MLT-013

Algols are binary stars that “waltz” around their common centre of mass in very close orbits. While doing so, one or both members of the pair can exchange material from its surface to the other star, from time to time. We learn a lot about the way stars evolve by studying Algols. In this project, we are also going to explore how one (or both) of the members of certain Algol systems oscillate, as such oscillations provide us with invaluable information about the interior structure and dynamics of a star.

Systematic radial velocity monitoring of likely intermediate period post-AGB binaries

2017-1-MLT-010

We are searching for binary stars in some of the most beautiful stellar remnants in the Galaxy.

Jan 17, 2018

2017-2 Activity in close-in planet hosts: establishing a homogeneous database

2017-2-SCI-020

We are observing stars with planets orbiting very close to them. These planets complete an orbit around their star in about a day. This means the planets are heated and pulled by the star’s gravity and magnetic field. We are looking at the signatures of that in emission from calcium in the outer layers of the star’s atmosphere.

Systematic radial velocity monitoring of likely intermediate period post-AGB binaries

2017-1-MLT-010

We are searching for binary stars in some of the most beautiful stellar remnants in the Galaxy.

Spectroscopic Survey of the Central Molecular Zones of Southern Galaxies

2017-2-SCI-042

The centers of galaxies host dense populations of stars and super massive black holes. In this study we are undertaking a pilot spectroscopic survey of southern galaxies to better understand how the central regions of nearby galaxies are evolving over time. This project makes use of the capabilites of the Robert Stobie Spectrograph on SALT to diagnose the degree to which the supermassive black hole is an active power source, levels of star formation and the degree to which these actions have perturbed central disks of interstellar gas.

The Lithium Abundance of the Large Magellanic Cloud

2017-2-SCI-022

The creation of the first chemical elements, which took place just minutes after the Big Bang, provides an intimate view of the physical laws that governed our Universe during its first moments. At present, the Standard Model of cosmology and particle physics is unable to fully explain the relative abundance of these primordial elements. In particular, there is a significant disagreement between the measured and predicted abundance of lithium. We propose to conduct a novel survey that will provide a new, reliable measure of the lithium abundance of gas clouds in a nearby galaxy.

Variability Of CaII K and NaI D lines in the Direction Of Vela Supernova Remnant

2017-2-SCI-025

The interaction of supernova remnants (SNR) with the surrounding interstellar medium (ISM) plays an important role in the study of many areas in astronomy ranging from the dynamics of the ISM, chemical evolution of the Galaxy to star formation. The process of how supernova ejecta merges with surrounding, irregular cloudy ISM is the focus of our study. The nearest SNR to us is the Vela SNR that exploded 11000 years ago. The properties of the SNR medium are proposed to be studied by observing the stars in and behind the SNR through high resolution absorption line spectroscopy with HRS on SALT.

Jan 16, 2018

Systematic radial velocity monitoring of likely intermediate period post-AGB binaries

2017-1-MLT-010

We are searching for binary stars in some of the most beautiful stellar remnants in the Galaxy.

Masses, Orbits, and Merger Rates of Double White Dwarfs

2017-2-SCI-027

Measuring the orbits of double white dwarfs.