Here’s my list of Honours projects for 2016. If you are keen to do one of these, please email me or drop by to discuss.
1. Creating a Differential Image Motion Monitor for Astronomical Seeing
This project will require the student to set up one of the Department’s 40 cm Meade telescopes as a seeing monitor. Seeing is a measure of atmospheric turbulence. This project will require the student to work with the engineering facilities to affix a DIMM mask to the telescope, set up a CCD camera on the telescope and run DIMM observation software to measure atmospheric seeing. The student will have to be comfortable working at night, and have a full driver’s licence.
2. Multidimensional Dataset Visualisation with an Oculus Rift
This project will require the student to investigate the software available for displaying multidimensional datasets using an Oculus Rift. The key objectives are to have a suite of software tools available to allow a user to navigate complex multidimensional data via virtual reality immersion. Students should have a reasonable level of programming ability.
3. Finding Earth-sized planets orbiting White Dwarf stars
This project will require the student to obtain estimates of the number of white dwarf stars visible in the 1.8 meter MOA-II telescope field of view, estimate how many of these systems would have a transiting earth-sized planet, and propose an observation schedule for use by MOA to discover these planets.
4. Detecting Atmospheric Meteor trails
Meteors entering the Earth’s atmosphere leave a trail of ionised particles. We have a software-defined radio system set up to detect radio signals from Christchurch which are forward-scattered off these trails. This system is working successfully, but can be improved upon. The honours project will comprise optimising the system to improve the number of detected meteor trails, to compile statistics of this year’s meteor showers and report them to the International Meteor Organisation. The project would also comprise making the observed data available via the Internet in real-time.