Undergraduate research

Prospective student enquiries

Overview

Applications now open for the AITC/Northrop Grumman Internship program. Select the AITC internships tab above.

RSAA provides a range of opportunities for undergraduate students to take part in research programs with astronomers at the school.

research topic course (ASTR3005) is offered to later-year ANU undergraduates, in which students undertake a research project in any area of astrophysics over the course of a semester.

The RSAA runs an internship program that provides an opportunity for students to do research work at the observatory in parallel to undergraduate study, and hosts a mid-year winter school that provides a select group of ANU undergraduates the chance to experience research and observing activities at the school. 

In addition, ANU summer research scholarship places at RSAA are available to students from around Australia and New Zealand during the university summer break each year.

Projects

A list of potential research projects is available on the potential projects page.

AITC internships

AITC Summer Internship Program / Northrop Grumman Global Externship Program

The Advanced Instrumentation and Technology Centre (AITC), at the Mount Stromlo Observatory, is pleased to partner with the Northrop Grumman Externship Program to offer 9 summer internship positions for undergraduate students studying engineering, science, computer science or mathematics. Interns will complete a defined research project and participate in activities that develop technical skills and help prepare them for professional employment. They will be supervised and mentored by AITC scientists and engineers and will be required to work as a team in completing set tasks.

This program will be conducted in parallel with the ANU Summer Scholars Program at Mount Stromlo. The Summer Scholars program is better suited for students interested in an academic research career. Application details can be found on the Summer Scholars website.

The Program

Students will complete a defined project under the supervision of an AITC staff member. In addition to completing a specified project, all interns will participate in activities that develop their professional skills and expand their understanding of the Australian Space Industry, including:

  • Tour of the AITC and EOS Space Systems
  • Practical introduction to Systems Engineering, Project Management and Risk Analysis from SHOAL (formerly Aerospace Concepts)
  • Visit to Nova Systems and a briefing on their activities
  • Access to technical experts from Northrop Grumman in Australia and the US
  • Visit to the Space Co-ordination Office with a briefing on the role of government
  • Tour of the Canberra Deep Space Communication Complex
  • Expert speaker program in astronomy, instrumentation and space engineering
  • Development of report writing skills
  • Development of presentation skills

Deliverables

  • Project plan (within one week of start date). This must be approved by the project supervisor and will define the project milestones.
  • Literature review. All references and sources must be cited.
  • Progress reports
  • Written project report
  • Abstract for a conference paper and abstract for public talk
  • Public presentation of project and results

Available Projects

Project 1: Atmospheric turbulence measurements for Adaptive Optics System Design
More Information about the project can be found here

Project 2: High-level instrument control software prototype for the Space Debris Tracking and De-Orbiting Adaptive Optics Facility
More Information about the project can be found here

Project 3: Laser Guide Star Uplink Computer Simulations for the Space Debris Tracking and De-Orbiting Adaptive Optics Facility
More Information about the project can be found here

Project 4: Low frequency measurement and analysis of satellite reflected optical energy
More Information about the project can be found here.

Project 5: Methods for identification of orbital object observations
More Information about the project can be found here.

Project 6: Optical Target Detection and Image Analysis
More Information about the project can be found here.

Project 7: Orbit determination and propagation of satellites and space debris
More Information about the project can be found here.

Project 8: Orbital object characterisation and implementation into a catalogue for a Conjunction and Threat Warning Service
More Information about the project can be found here.

Project 9: Space Object Position Uncertainty and Object Collision Prediction
More Information about the project can be found here.

General

  • Students must be enrolled in an undergraduate course at an Australian University. International students who are participating in an approved exchange program at an Australian University are eligible.
  • The primary working location will be the Mount Stromlo Observatory.  
  • Students will be given ANU visitor status. They will have access to a desk, computer, printing and phone.
  • All student interns must maintain a high level of professionalism at all times and comply with university regulations.
  • Neat work attire is expected at all times. Students working in laboratories must comply with all safety and cleanliness requirements, including appropriate clothing, gloves and glasses.
  • Duration of internship: 21st November 2016 – 20th January 2017 (excluding 24th December – 2nd January).
  • Students must be available for the full duration of the internship
  • Work hours: Monday – Friday, 9:00am – 5:00pm (with 1hr for lunch) unless other arrangements are negotiated
  • The program offers approximately 280 hours of supervised work. Requests for additional hours will be considered before the Christmas break on a case-by-case basis subject to the availability of supervisors, the availability of a project, and the performance of the student.
  • Transport to and from Mount Stromlo is the responsibility of the student. A free shuttle bus is available to students between the ANU main campus in the morning (arriving @ 9:00 am) and the evening (departing @ 5:00 pm)
  • Thanks to the Northrop Grumman Global Externship Program, scholarships for up to four interstate students are available to cover travel to and from Canberra and accommodation on Mount Stromlo during the program. Return travel will also be covered to allow students to return home for Christmas. Travel and accommodation arrangements will be made by the ANU.
  • These are unpaid positions.

Applications

These positions are highly competitive and reward students that demonstrate a combination of technical excellence, professionalism and initiative within a team environment.

To apply for a position, please send the following documentation to aitc@anu.edu.au no later than 5:00pm (Canberra time) on Friday 23rd September.

  • A completed application form
  • The details of two referees must be provided on the application form. One referee must be able to comment on the technical capability of the candidate
  • Academic transcript
  • Curriculum vitae
  • A statement identifying your relevant skills and attributes for the project and what you expect to gain from the internship. This should be no more than one single sided A4 document, minimum 12-point font with normal margins.

If you wish to apply for more than one project, please submit a separate application for each project.

Please note, if no suitable applications are received, the project will be withdrawn.

Interviews

  • All interviews will be conducted on 1 or 2 days between 24th and 27th of October.
  • All interviews will be conducted via Skype to maintain equal conditions for all candidates.
  • It is the candidate’s responsibility to establish a connection with sufficient bandwidth to support both video and audio.
  • Each candidate will be allocated a 15min interview slot.
  • The interview panel will consist of representatives from the AITC and industry.

Important dates

  • Applications close: COB Friday 23rd September
  • Shortlist announced: Friday 14th October
  • Interviews: between 24th and 27th of October (1 or 2 days)
  • Students notified: Friday 28th October
  • Program start: Monday 21st November
  • Christmas break: Saturday 24th December – Monday 2ndJanuary
  • Program end: Friday 20th January

Contact

Please direct any enquiries to aitc@anu.edu.au (will be answerd Thursday and Friday only).

A PDF Flyer about the program is available.

This program would not be possible without the support of a number of organisations and individuals. The AITC would like to thank ANU, Northrop Grumman, EOS Space Systems, Space Environment Research Centre, SHOAL (formerly Aerospace Concepts), Nova Systems, the Canberra Deep Space Communication Complex, and the Space Coordination Office.

Summer scholarships

Each summer RSAA offer a number of Summer Research Scholarships, which enable suitably qualified undergraduates to spend 8 to 11 weeks at Mount Stromlo working on a research project under the supervision of an RSAA astronomer. The scholarships provide a first-hand view of the work at a research observatory and scholars have access to state-of-the-art optical, infrared, radio and computational facilities. Areas of research include star formation, stellar evolution, galactic dynamics, observational cosmology, active galactic nuclei, interstellar-medium physics, computational astrophysics and planetary science.

These scholarships are intended for currently-enrolled undergraduate students at universities in Australia and New Zealand completing the third or fourth year of a full-time course leading to an honours degree. Outstanding second-year students who are intending to complete an honours degree may also be considered.

For detailed information about the program and how to apply, see the CMBE/CPMS Summer Research Scholarship page and the ANU Summer Research Scholarship program pages.

RSAA summer research program contacts

Available summer scholarship projects

Project name Theme
A geometric model for the Fermi bubbles and other giant structures in the Galactic halo Black hole phenomena
A high-altitude survey for nearby supernova Structure and evolution of the Cosmos
Stellar and planetary astronomy
Instrumentation
Asteroseismology with state-of-the-art stellar modelling Galactic archaeology
Stellar and planetary astronomy
Atmospheric turbulence measurements for Adaptive Optics System Design Instrumentation
Convection and radiation in 3D stellar modelling Stellar and planetary astronomy
Data mining in the SkyMapper Southern Survey Galactic archaeology
Structure and evolution of the Cosmos
High-level instrument control software prototype for the Space Debris Tracking and De-Orbiting Adaptive Optics Facility Instrumentation
How did the weather on the early Earth control the recession of the Moon? Stellar and planetary astronomy
Laser Guide Star Uplink Computer Simulations for the Space Debris Tracking and De-Orbiting Adaptive Optics Facility Instrumentation
Low frequency measurement and analysis of satellite reflected optical energy Instrumentation
Magnets in the clouds Structure and evolution of the Cosmos
Measuring the chemical content of an ancient star cluster Galactic archaeology
Metallicity gradients in blue compact galaxies Structure and evolution of the Cosmos
Methods for identification of orbital object observations Instrumentation
Modelling the motions of galaxies Structure and evolution of the Cosmos
Optical Target Detection and Image Analysis Instrumentation
Orbit determination and propagation of satellites and space debris Instrumentation
Orbital object characterisation and implementation into a catalogue for a Conjunction and Threat Warning Service Instrumentation
SkyMapper Supernova Survey Stellar and planetary astronomy
Structure and evolution of the Cosmos
Space Object Position Uncertainty and Object Collision Prediction Instrumentation
Stellar magnetic fields and stellar spectra Stellar and planetary astronomy
Stellar streams around Galactic globular clusters Galactic archaeology
Supermassive black holes and their environments Black hole phenomena
Structure and evolution of the Cosmos
The biogenic elements in stars harbouring planets Stellar and planetary astronomy
Galactic archaeology
The Kepler Extra-Galactic Survey - Supernovae, Black Holes, and Cosmology Structure and evolution of the Cosmos
Stellar and planetary astronomy
The Kepler field: bridging stellar and Galactic astronomy Galactic archaeology
Stellar and planetary astronomy
The millisecond pulsar population of the Galactic Bulge imitating dark matter Galactic archaeology
Unravelling the history of the Milky Way with GALAH Galactic archaeology
Stellar and planetary astronomy
Using ALMA data to understand dusty galaxies in the young Universe Structure and evolution of the Cosmos
Visualising the local universe Structure and evolution of the Cosmos

Winter School

Australian and New Zealand undergraduate students have the opportunity to participate in exciting science at the ANU Research School of Astronomy and Astrophysics (RSAA) Winter School. During the week-long workshop, students will experience cutting edge research and take part in scientific observations on some of Australia’s most advanced telescopes.

The Winter School will be held over seven action packed days and includes real astrophysical investigations, special presentations from leading researchers, and night time access to research telescopes to participate in scientific observations. Participants will travel to Australia’s premier optical and radio astronomical observatories and will carry out their own observations using the ANU 2.3m telescope.

Winter School participants will:

  • Learn about stellar physics, planetary science, black holes & cosmology
  • Tour observatories and research telescopes, including a VIP visit of Australia’s largest optical telescope
  • Have the chance to accompany astrophysicists during scientific observations
  • Receive advice on coursework options, internships and scholarships.

Read about the 2011 RSAA Winter School.

When

27 June - 3 July 2016

Location

Mt Stromlo & Siding Spring Observatories

Cost

Free for selected participants

Information

For details on how to apply, send us an email.

 

Updated:  02 October 2016/Responsible Officer:  RSAA Director/Page Contact:  Webmaster