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Research

Stellar and binary evolution

We study close binary stars containing compact objects such as black holes, neutron stars and white dwarfs. We are particularly interested in the exotic physical processes that drive their interaction and evolution. Observations of compact objects, companion stars and accretion flows are carried out routinely with the world's largest telescopes and satellite missions, including the VLT, Gemini, HST, XMM-Newton, and Chandra.

Interacting binary star
Saturn

Extra-solar planets

Extra-solar planets have come to prominence in the past decade as advanced techniques have begun to detect them in greater numbers. Research at Warwick seeks both to discover new extra-solar planets using the Wide Angle Search for Planets (WASP) telescopes, and to understand their nature by performing follow-up observations with space telescopes such as HST, Spitzer, Swift and XMM-Newton.

Gamma-ray bursts

Gamma-ray bursts (GRBs) are the most luminous events in the Universe and provide powerful probes of high redshift galaxies, universal reionisation, and potentially gravitational waves. Research at Warwick uses the dedicated GRB satellite Swift and a wide range of ground and space-based telescopes, including VLT and HST, to understand what produces these extremely bright events and to employ them as probes of the high redshift Universe.

Swift spacecraft

ULTRACAM


High speed astrophysics


The objects we study are dynamic and can change within minutes, seconds and even milli-seconds. We specialise in the high-speed data acquisition and analysis techniques needed to track them. Members of the group have led the development and exploitation of the ULTRACAM high-speed, multi-colour photometer. ULTRACAM was the first visitor instrument on the VLT.

Star Formation Across Cosmic Time

Galaxies evolve over cosmic time as both their stellar populations and their environments change. Their stars age while new stars are born with ever increasing metal enrichments. Understanding this process involves understanding the galaxies with host star formation across a broad range of redshifts - from very local out to the further reaches of the observable Universe. These galaxies often show complex morphology or evidence for interactions.

Galaxies

HR 4796A as seen with ALMA

Circumstellar disks

We study the disks that orbit other stars like our Sun using theory and observation. Some of these disks are in the process of forming planets, and others are similar to the Solar System’s Asteroid and Kuiper belts. The image at left is an example of the latter - the narrow debris ring that orbits the star HR4796A. These disks reveal information about the origins of other planetary systems, and help place the Solar System in context.