HiPERCAM, ULTRACAM and ULTRASPEC are high-speed cameras built by Sheffield/Warwick/UKATC for the study of astrophysics on fast timescales. Extreme astrophysical conditions can be found in our Galactic neighbourhood by studying the compact remnants of stars: white dwarfs, neutron stars and black holes. The dynamical timescales of these compact objects range from seconds to milliseconds, which means that much of the variability observed from them occurs on such fast timescales. Existing common-user instrumentation on the world’s major telescopes is unable to obtain high time-resolution data, which is why we have developed HiPERCAM, ULTRACAM and ULTRASPEC. The aim of this PhD project will be to exploit these unique instruments on the 10.4m GTC, 4.2m WHT, 3.5m NTT and 2.4m TNT to study physics in extreme conditions, such as accretion onto black holes, the structure of white dwarfs, the evolution of close binary stars, and the physics of pulsars.
Science Graduate School: As a PhD student in one of the science departments at the University of Sheffield, you’ll be part of the Science Graduate School – a community of postgraduate researchers working across biology, chemistry, physics, mathematics and psychology. You’ll get access to training opportunities designed to support your career development by helping you gain professional skills that are essential in all areas of science. You’ll be able to learn how to recognise good research and research behaviour, improve your communication abilities and experience technologies that are used in academia, industry and many related careers. Visit http://www.sheffield.ac.uk/sgs to learn more.