Discipline: 
Physics
Status: 
Available
Level: 
Summer Project
Supervisor(s): 
Professor Michael Drinkwater

Suitable for:  Students with basic programming skills, ideally with a scripting language like Python, Matlab, or IDL.  Placements available for 1-2 students.

Project:  Some star clusters seem to be too massive for the number of stars they contain.  This may be due to a black hole hidden in the centres of these clusters.  We will test if a large star cluster near the centre of our Milky Way galaxy contains a black hole by looking for very fast-moving stars near the centre of the star cluster.  We will measure the velocities of the stars using data we recently obtained from the Keck Telescope in Hawaii.

Expected outcomes:  We will measure velocities for some 800 stars.  These will then be used by a colleague for detailed numerical modelling to test if a black hole is present.  But if we find sufficiently high velocities we could have evidence of the black hole immediately.

Duration:  6-8 weeks

Contact:  Professor Michael Drinkwater, m.drinkwater@uq.edu.au or phone +61 7 336 53428; room 418A, Physics Annexe (6), UQ St Lucia campus.