GRAVITY: Observing the universe in motion
FCT / IDPASC call 2012
Universidade do Porto
SIM Unidade FCT n.4006
GRAVITY is the most advanced ground based astrophysics instrument ever. It is currently being built by a consortium for the European Southern Observatory. The SIM team is a full partner of the GRAVITY consortium together with MPE (PI), IPAG, Koln U., MPIA and PHASE. The instrument adaptive optics corrects the incoming wave-fronts of the four telescopes and then a beam combiner coherently combines the light, which is then dispersed in a spectrograph. GRAVITY allows narrow-angle astrometry with a precision of 10 micro-arcseconds and phase referenced and closure phase imaging with one milliarcsecond angular resolution. The instrument was designed to be able to probe the properties of the Milky-way black-hole near its Schwarzschild radius. Within the Portuguese participation in GRAVTY, namely the construction of the instrument acquisition camera, we are proposing at thesis addressing instrumentation and scientific preparation/exploitation of the instrument. In the instrumentation part the student will work on the acquisition camera software developing algorithms for image acquisition, image processing and tilt measurement following ESO standards. In the scientific preparation and exploitation part the student is expected to apply inverse problem techniques to GRAVITYs interferometric signal. The inner region is currently unresolved and the goal is to devise techniques to recover stars and/or flaring signals from material orbiting this inner region. The thesis theme requires a student with a strong programming and physics background. A detailed work-programme is available on request.
January 01, 2013