The dinosaurs of the Milky Way: high precision chemical abundance measurements of ancient star clusters

This project uses spectroscopic data from the GALAH Survey (Buder et al. 2021) to measure elements across the periodic table in stars that formed only a few billion years after the Big Bang.

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Globular clusters are the oldest objects in the Universe that we can reliably age, however, how they formed is still an open question. This project uses spectroscopic data from the GALAH Survey (Buder et al. 2021) to measure elements across the periodic table in stars that formed only a few billion years after the Big Bang. The elemental abundances will hint towards how these ancient structures were created and will be compared to upcoming data releases of GALAH. This will provide valuable insights into the main drivers of star cluster formation in the early Universe.

 

Research Objectives:

1. Literature Review: understand the different formation scenarios of globular clusters and which elements are important in discriminating between scenarios.

2. Identify high signal-to-noise spectra from the GALAH catalogue and measure the equivalent widths of important absorption features using a custom in-house code.

3. Run the equivalent widths through a differential analysis code to obtain high-precision chemical abundances for stars in the cluster and interpret these results in the context of globular cluster formation scenarios.

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Research Fellow