1) Topic 1: Analyse the link between the solar magnetosphere and the solar corona.
In a recent work, we have developed a software and analysis that automatically segments the features of the solar disk using data from several wavelength provided from several missions and instruments currently in orbit. The software is currently executed every day automatically and builds up a result database that is then available for statistical analysis. The database is mainly based on the coronal observations of SWAP/PROBA2 and AIA/SDO.
The research group (basically collaborators in India, Japan and ESA) would like to extend the analysis to the solar magnetosphere and chromosphere using SDO magnetograms and HINODE XRT x-ray images. The student shall study the underlying images, propose algorithms, integrate them into the database and apply a first analysis on the updated database.
2) Topic 2: Internship in the Gaia Project Scientist Team to work in the area of young stars and/or star clusters using Gaia Early Data Release 3.
The year 2021 promises exciting opportunities for the study of young stars and/or star clusters as a result of the availability of Gaia Early Data Release 3. The unique and improved astrometry and photometry that will be part of this release will allow new studies covering a broad range of topics in this field, for instance the characterisation of nearby star-forming regions, the discovery of tidal tails of open clusters, or the study of nearby moving groups. Under supervision of the astronomers in the Gaia group, the trainee will conduct scientific research in the domain of young stars and/or star clusters, with a detailed topic to be agreed between the trainee and supervisors based on the interests of the trainee.
3) Topic 3: Detecting asteroids with LISA.
Keywords: LISA, gravitational waves, detecting small accelerations, asteroids, orbits, python, Mathematica, SPICE kernels.
LISA is a planned ESA mission to observe gravitational waves from space that will launch in 2034. Gravitational waves have become a hotbed of multi-messenger astronomy since their first direct detection in 2015. One of the key technologies for enabling the observation of gravitational waves from space is the ability to shield test masses from most of the non-gravitational forces to a level of about 10- 14 m/s2. The required technology has been successfully demonstrated in the LISA Pathfinder mission. This sensitivity to accelerations allows not only to detect gravitational waves, but also to observe asteroids passing by the spacecraft by evaluating their gravitational pull. The planned activity for the internship is to calculate the force that real asteroids will exert on the test masses of LISA, estimate the resulting signal and classify existing asteroids according to their detectability. A statistical simulation based on the parameters of real asteroids can reveal the potential for LISA to detect yet unknown asteroids. Based on interest, a user interface that allows to vary orbital parameters of asteroids, mission launch dates, noise levels etc. can be developed as an educational tool or demonstrator.
You will get the opportunity to learn about the LISA mission, orbital mechanics, asteroid models, and data analysis techniques to obtain the signal parameters from the data stream.
Exceptionally this year, due to the uncertainties arising from the COVID-19 pandemic, the student internship programme will be offered remotely, with interns working from their place of residence, not hosted at an ESA site. Some Universities might not authorise remote internships, we recommend to consult your university's requirements for compulsory internships. This decision has been taken in response to the COVID-19 measures currently in place in ESA Member States, Associate Member States and Cooperating States and also across ESA establishments.
Candidates must have student status and be enrolled at university for the entire duration of the internship. Applicants should preferably be in their final or second to last year of a University course at Masters Level in a technical or scientific discipline.
The working languages of the Agency are English and French. A good knowledge of one of these is required. Knowledge of another Member State language would be an asset.
The topics listed above respectively require such educational knowledge as:
Knowledge and background in Python or any other high-level programming language (MATLAB, IDL, MATHEMATICA) is an asset.
Affinity with modern programming tools such as Python and Jupyter is an asset.
We expect some basic knowledge in statistics, orbital mechanics and kinematics or the enthusiasm to learn it during the internship. Basic skills in Python and/or Mathematica are an asset, but you will get the opportunity to improve your skills over the course of the internship, if needed. You can expect to get acquainted with SPICE kernels and the related software to obtain positions of spacecraft and asteroids and calculate distances between them. You will also get an insight into the inner workings of the LISA mission and basic data analysis techniques to obtain the signal parameters.