ASTRON/JIVE Summer Student Programme 2010

Summer students 2010


Summer students 2010

Counterclockwise, North through East: Vishal, Monica, René, Rurong, Tahlia, Francillia, Rachael, John


Rachael Alexandroff, Princeton University, Princeton, NJ (rmalexan -at-

HI,I originally hail from Canada but am currently completing my undergraduate degree at Princeton University in the United States. This summer I worked at JIVE with Zsolt Paragi and Stephen Bourke using VLBI data of local analogs of high redshift Lyman Break galaxies for a project initiated by Roderik Overzier (Max Plank Institute for Astrophysics). Lyman Break galaxies are believed to correspond to an important phase in galaxy formation and evolution. Observations of such objects could help probe the relationship between star formation and active galactic nuclei (AGN). However, it is difficult to observe low-luminosity AGN at such a high redshift,so instead we studied a sample of relatively nearby starforming galaxies that have similar properties. The sources were observed with the European VLBI Network (EVN), to look for compact emission showing evidence of massive black holes in the nuclei of these galaxies. Most of the targets were undetected on milliarcsecond scales, indicating that their radio emission is dominantly coming from extended starforming regions. There were two sources detected with high significance in the EVN data, J015028+130858 and J092159+450912.

I had a truly wonderful experience working and living in the Netherlands this summer. I began the summer knowing little about radio astronomy and by the end of the summer was able to complete part of a very interesting project using the new tools and techniques I had learned during my 10-week stay. The scientists at JIVE were always friendly and I felt welcomed everywhere in the institute. There are also a great many things to do in your free time. Whether spending a quiet weekend at the guesthouse, visiting Dwingeloo, Wadlopen or travelling across Europe every minute was enjoyable. Theother summer students also helped make this my best summer internship so far! I want to thank everyone who I met for a wonderful summer experience.

John Allan, Macalester College, St Paul, MN (jallan -at-

Rurong Chen, Chinese Academy of Sciences, Beijing (spiritrong -at-

Hi! I'm a PhD student at National Astronomical Observatories, Chinese Academy of Sciences (NAOC). My PhD thesis focuses on giant (> 1Mega-parsec) radio galaxies (GRGs). This summer at ASTRON/JIVE, I have studied GRG 4C73.08, under the supervision of Prof. Richard Strom and Dr. Jun Yang. Using the data of the WSRT observations, we observed highly ordered magnetic fields at the edges of its lobes and hotspots, indicating the existence of strong interactions between jets and the intergalactic medium. Besides, we detected about 40 individual radio sources in the viewing field of the GRG 4C73.08.

People in ASTRON/JIVE are very kind and friendly. I miss the soccer on Tuesday, Bridge on Wednesday and Games evening on Thursday. It was an exciting experience for me to enjoy different traditional food cooked by other summer students. The institute locates in the beautiful park, in which it was pleasant to bike around. There are several interesting events in Holland's summer, such as Wadlopen and Harvest Festival. The summer in the Netherlands is quite beautiful. You would be busy to explore and enjoy it.

Tahlia de Maio, University of Colorado, Boulder, CO (tahlia.demaio -at-

As an undergraduate senior with one more semester to go at the University of Colorado, this past summer I worked for JIVE with Stefanie Muehle studying the formaldehyde in the molecular clouds in the central region of NGC 253. I helped reduce and analyze millimeter data of the formaldehyde spectra to find the temperature of these molecular clouds. Supporting previous similar measurements, we found temperatures significantly hotter than typical molecular cloud temperatures. My first introduction to millimeter spectroscopy, I learned a ton about observations and data reduction in the longer wavelength. Additionally, through the Summer Student lectures, colloquium, and other settings, I was introduced to the mechanics of radio interferometry- including via a tour of LOFAR and Westerbork telescope.

Living outside of Dwingeloo for the summer was absolutely amazing. Located in the forest, there was unending bike trails and nature. I also got to travel quite a bit on the weekends, visiting Paris, Amsterdam, Den Haag, Rotterdam, and Berlin. Between all the travel, weekly bridge games, biking to Hoogeveen for the movies, learning the basics of radio astronomy and working on my summer project I had an AWESOME experience at ASTRON/JIVE.

Vishal Gajjar, Tata Institute of Fundamental Research, Mumbai (gajjar -at-

I am currently pursuing my PhD from NCRA-TIFR, Pune, India. I am very glad that I got a chance to spend my summer in the ASTRON. During my summer school I worked on “Pulsar search pipe-line for LOFAR” with Vlad Kondratiev and Jason Hessels. We developed Python based automatic pipe-line to carry out simple harmonic search on raw LOFAR data to find pulsars. I also worked on debugging some of the LOFAR specific issues related to one of the pulsar analysis package called PRESTO. During the initial testing of the pipe-line, we found all the pulsars expected in a given field centre using our pipe-line. We also found few pulsars situated far away from the field centre which helped us to understand the incoherent beam of the LOFAR antennas. I had fun working with my supervisors and I really appreciate their patience in introducing me to LOFAR. Previously, I never worked with any other telescope than GMRT hence this unique opportunity helped to broaden my knowledge in low radio frequency domain. In working towards developing the pipe-line, I had plenty of fruitful discussions with various ASTRON faculty members which helped to understand Pulsars in general. The organizing committee and other staff members of ASTRON has made various arrangements to keep us involved in many interesting activities (i.e. football, board game nights, bridge nights etc...). All these wonderful activities made my stay most memorable and I thank all the organizers from the bottom of my heart. The accommodation was splendid and especially I was lucky to spend time during the football world cup which never let me forget the joyful time we spent in the TV lounge. I found ASTRON as a wonderful place to work and learn with very friendly atmosphere from the staff members. I would also like to thank all the admin people to be fully supportive in making my first trip outside India trouble-free. Finally, how can I forget thanking all my summer school friends who made this simple Indian boy very happy ;).

Francillia Samuel, DePauw University, Greencastle, IN (francilliasamuel_2010 -at-

Monica Trasatti, Argelander Institute for Astronomy, Bonn (trasatti -at-

Hi! I started with my PhD project in October at the AIfA in Bonn (Germany). For my thesis, I will be investigating non-thermal phenomena in Galaxy Clusters (radio halos and relics) with data from radio continuum observations, including low frequency data from LOFAR.

I spent the summer at ASTRON working under the supervision of Ger de Bruyn and Ronald Nijboer. The goal of my project was to investigate ionospheric refraction and Faraday rotation with LOFAR data. In order to do this I reduced a 6 hours LOFAR observation of a complex wide field with a complex source (3C66) at the center. This was extremely useful for my present work because I learned a lot of things about the LOFAR imaging pipeline and about radio-interferometry in general. ASTRON is the right place for people who love nature because it's located in the National Park Dwingelderveld. I was happy to have the opportunity to know people from different countries and to visit several beautiful cities across The Netherlands. The pantry was always full of all kinds of food, and I miss those pancakes dearly! I learned a lot of things, and I don't mean only scientifically. In conclusion, spending the summer at the ASTRON-JIVE summer school had been a fresh experience, challenging in some ways, and fun too!

Rene Giessuebel, Max Planck Institute for Radio Astronomy, Bonn (rgiess -at-

Hallo, I am a PhD student at the Max Planck Institute for Radioastronomy in Bonn (Germany). For my thesis I study the magnetic field of M31 and I also became part of the magnetic field key science project for LOFAR earlier this year. During my stay at ASTRON my supervisor Ashish Asgekar and I worked together on a slightly different project: Detecting Radio Recombination Lines in LOFAR Imaging Data. In retrospect this task may have been a little bit too ambitious for the time we had, since we were not able to make a detection before I had to leave. However, this does not mean that the Summerschool has not been a success for me! Not only did we manage to set up the basic building blocks for a reduction pipeline (so a detection should only be a matter of time), I also gained valuable experience with LOFAR data, the instrument itself, the software and interferometry in general, which I already benefit from immensely!

The school is accompanied by lectures, guided tours through the institutes and to the telescopes, and of course a lot of fun! The people at ASTRON will make you feel right at home and very welcome. Fritz, the guesthouse caretaker, will really take care of everything, including bikes to explore eg. the Nationaal Park Dwingelderveld right next to the institutes (the heath at night is an enchanting sight). So I'd like to thank again the other summerstudents and everyone at ASTRON and JIVE for the great time. And to you, who is still reluctant: this school is a great experience, don't miss this opportunity!




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