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Young stars and stellar moving groups in the Gaia-ESO survey (Prof Rob Jeffries, Dr Nick Wright)

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  • Full or part time
    Dr R Hirschi
  • Application Deadline
    No more applications being accepted
  • Competition Funded PhD Project (European/UK Students Only)
    Competition Funded PhD Project (European/UK Students Only)

Project Description

The Gaia-ESO survey (GES) is a massive spectroscopic survey taking place at the VLT in Chile. It is obtaining some 100,000 stellar spectra of representative samples of all populations in the Milky Way, from star forming regions to halo stars, with the over-arching goal of understanding the "chemo-dynamical" properties of our Galaxy.

The aim of this project is to use data from the GES to investigate the properties of young, nearby stars that are members of spatially dispersed, yet kinematically coherent, "moving groups". Members of these moving groups have assumed the premier role in understanding the early evolution of stars and their planetary systems, yet their origins are poorly understood.
The GES data will be used to select samples of very young stars and then examine their chemical "DNA" to establish to what extent they are chemically as well as kinematically coherent. The significance of chemical coherency will be tested by using the GES observations of many young, coeval clusters and star forming regions, The student will develop techniques to find young stars, design methods to test their chemical coherence and use the first release of data from the Gaia astrometric satellite to carefully examine their kinematics and estimate their ages. There will be a strong emphasis on team-working with a large European consortium of collaborators. The objective will be to understand whether moving group members originated in coeval clusters that have disintegrated in the Galaxy’s tidal field, or whether their kinematics have been collimated by other dynamical processes.

Funding Notes

100% UK/EU tuition fees for 3 years commencing Academic year 2016/2017. Stipend support for three years at Research Council rates (2015/6 £14,057 per annum).
Jointly supported by STFC and the Faculty of Natural Sciences, Keele University.

UK residents are eligible for full funding (tuition fees and stipend at Research Council rate). EU nationals (who are not resident in the UK) will normally qualify for a fees-only award.

Closing date:
26th February 2016 in the first instance. Applications received by deadline will receive first consideration, applications received after deadline will be considered until the positions are filled.
Available from September 2016.


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