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The Hong Kong Polytechnic University Featured PhD Programmes

Late time spectra modelling of supernovae

Project Description

Supernovae (SNe), stellar explosions staging the final act of a star’s life, play an important role in many astrophysical domains, for instance stellar evolution, feedback in galaxy formation, synthesis and distribution of almost all the elements and raw materials for both star and planet formation.

After a few months from their explosions, supernovae enter in the so called nebular phase revealing spectral fingerprints of their deep interiors, shining by radioactivity produced in the explosion. We are given a unique opportunity to see what an exploded star looks like inside. The line profiles and luminosities of the chemical elements observed their electromagnetic spectrum, contain information about physical conditions, explosive and hydrostatic nucleosynthesis, and morphology of the ejected material, which link to the progenitor properties and the explosion mechanism.

This PhD project will focus on the fundamental properties of spectral formation of supernovae in the nebular phase. The final output will be to create a nebular spectra model which will be based on key physical processes/information happening in the astrophysical event (e.g. ionization, excitation, and radiative transfer). The PhD student will gather knowledge of supernova explosions physics as well as programming/computational skills, experience in observational and theoretical astronomy.

This project will be funded by the STFC.
Applicants should apply to the Doctor of Philosophy in Physics and Astronomy with a start date of 1st October 2020.

In the research proposal section of your application, please specify the project title and supervisors of this project. If you are applying for more than one project, please list the individual titles of the projects in the text box provided. In the funding section, please select ’I will be applying for a scholarship/grant’ and specify that you are applying for advertised funding from the STFC.

Applicants will need to submit the following documents with their application:
- post high school certificates and transcripts to date
- academic CV
- personal statement
- two academic references. Your references can either be uploaded with your application, or emailed by the referee to or

Funding Notes

Funding Notes
Tuition fee support: Full UK/EU tuition fees
Maintenance stipend: Doctoral stipend matching UK Research Council National Minimum

You should have obtained, or be about to obtain a First or Upper Second Class UK Honours degree in Physics , or a related subject, Alternatively, applicants with equivalent qualifications gained outside the UK will also be considered. Applicants with a Lower Second Class degree will be considered if they also have a Master’s degree.
Applicants whose first language is not English are normally expected to meet the minimum University requirements (e.g. 6.5 IELTS)


Jerkstrand A. (2017) Spectra of Supernovae in the Nebular Phase. In: Alsabti A., Murdin P. (eds) Handbook of Supernovae. Springer, Cham -

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