Proposals for thesis
SEARCH FOR EXTRASOLAR PLANETS WITH THE TTV/TDV METHOD
The search and characterization of extrasolar planets is a new, fascinating research field in Astronomy.
Padova is the largest center in Italy for extrasolar planet Astronomy. We have ongoing an observational program (TASTE: http://groups.dfa.unipd.it/ESPG/taste.html) for the detection of planets using the TTV and TDV method Holman (2005 Science, 307, 1288). A huge number of nights at Asiago, Teide and La Palma, as well as CTIO and La Silla telescopes have been assigned for forthcoming months. This data set, and additional, similar observations can become the basis a Master or PhD thesis project.
In addition, we are developing a new satellite for the European Space Agency (CHEOPS: CHaracterizing EXOplanet Satellite). CHEOPS (http://cheops.unibe.ch/) is scheduled for launch in 2017. CHEOPS observations will need TTV/TDV analysis. CHEOPS will search for planet transits in known exoplanetary systems (also see http://www.oact.inaf.it/cheops-it/Home.html). A CHEOPS preparatory science Master and/or PhD thesis is offered.
A thesis on TTV/TDV use in CHEOPS is offered.
SELECTION OF TARGETS FOR PLATO
PLATO (PLAnetary Transit and Stellar Oscillation satellite) is a medium mission selected by the European Space Agency for a launch in 2024. PLATO (http://www.oact.inaf.it/plato/PPLC/Home.html) will search for exoplanets using the transit method. The exoplanet group of the University of Padova has the responsibility of the selection of the 1,000,000 targets for exoplanet search with PLATO. We are also involved in the PLATO preparatory science activities. A Master and/or PhD theses are offered for different preparatory works related to PLATO mission.
MULTIPLE STELLAR POPULATIONS IN STAR CLUSTERS
The recent discovery (by our group) of multiple evolutionary sequences in galactic globular clusters has seriously challenged the paradigm of star clusters hosting a simple stellar population, formed at the same epoch, from the same material. These new findings may have vast implications on star formation processes, and on population synthesis models used to interpret the light from galaxies at cosmological distances. This is a lively debated argument in the present astronomical literature.
G. Piotto has recently granted with a huge amount of Hubble Space Telescope orbits for a Treasury Large HST Program for the study of stellar populations in Galactic globular clusters. Master/PhD theses are offered in order to exploit this huge data base. The student will be inserted in an international collaboration (which the group in Padova is the leader of) and work on the analysis of data from: 1) already approved Hubble Space Telescope programs 2) HST archive data, and 3) approved ESO/VLT programs both with wide field imagers and high resolution spectrographs. The student will gain an expertise on high precision photometry and astrometry on HST data and/or on the exploitation of high resolution spectroscopic data. The possibility of formation stages at ESO, Space Telescope Science Institute, and other European, USA, and australian Universities is offered.
ALL THESIS PROJECTS WILL BE REALIZED WITHIN A LIVELY AND FRIENDLY GROUP OF RESEARCH. ALL OF THEM ARE WITHIN INTERNATIONAL PROJECTS.
For additional information on us and our activities please look at http://groups.dfa.unipd.it/ESPG/index.html.
Born in 1962, Giampaolo Piotto had the Laureato degree in Astronomy in 1986 at the University of Padova, where he also got the PhD in Astronomy in 1990. Presently, he is Full Professor at the University of Padova, where he is teaching "Astronomy I" for the first level degree in Astronomy and “Stellar Populations” for the second level degree in Astronomy.
He has been Associate Researcher at the Astronomy Department of the University of California, Berkeley, in 1987-88 and 1994-95. In 1990, he has been Associate Astronomer at the European Southern Observatory in Garching. He is member of the International Astronomical Union since 1988.
His main scientific interests concern the stellar populations in open and globular clusters, and the search for and characterization of exoplanets. These activities have produced more than 210 research papers in international refereed journals and numerous invited reviews, with more than 11,000 citations, and an H factor of 58. Giampaolo Piotto has been PI of numerous observational projects with the major observing facilities (mainly Hubble Space Telescope and ESO/VLT), including an HST Large Treasury Program.
He has been always interested in astronomical imaging, and member of various scientific committees for the development of astronomical instrumentations.
He has been national PI of two PRIN (Research Project of National Interest), namely PRIN-1999 (Stellar Dynamics and Stellar Evolution in Globular Clusters: a Challenge for the New Astronomical Instruments) and PRIN-2007 (Multiple Stellar Populations in Globular Clusters: Census, Characterization, and Origin).
He has been local PI for three additional PRIN (PRIN-1998, PRIN-2001, PRIN-2003),
He is member of the ESA Science Team of the PLATO project (a satellite recently selected as M3 mission within the ESA Cosmic Vision program) and member of the PLATO Consortium Board. Giampaolo Piotto also is member of the Board and of the Science Team of the ESA satellite CHEOPS for the characterization of exoplanets.
Since 2011 he is member of the Science Team of HARPS-N, an instrument for the search of exoplanets.
He has been referee of many papers (ApJ, AJ, MNRAS. and A&A). He has been member of numerous committees for the assignment of telescope time (including HST and ESO).
Giampaolo Piotto is presently deputy Director of the Physics and Astronomy Department of the University of Padova, and Director of the PhD School in Astronomy at the University of Padova.
Lecturer's Curriculum (PDF): AB50C3103BDB28D666AF17F791059EFD.pdf
List of taught course units in a.y. 2016/17
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