The 2010 Project


 Test and optimisation of a setup to record meteors as a tracer of cometary properties
Tutors. Jonathan Mc Auliffe & Detlef Koschny
In order to understand the interaction between the Earth and dust particles, the Meteor Research Group (MRG) from the Research and Science Support Department (RSSD) of the European Space Agency (ESA) has been involved in studying meteors since 1998. The Earth's atmosphere acts as a detector of the entering meteoroids, which emit light and become visible as meteors. Many observatories are monitoring these phenomena to understand the distribution and evolution of dust in the Solar System and to link the physical properties of the particles producing the meteors to their parent body. With the data collected, we are writing a code to correct the different geometrical effects of each observation and calculate the spatial number density of meteoroids left by different parent bodies, and the flux of these kind of small bodies arriving to our planet.
Francisco Ocaña González
Universidad Complutense de Madrid

Roger Mor Crespo
University of Barcelona
Searching for rare AGNs through XMM-Newton
Tutors. Norbert Schartel and Maria Santos-Lleo
The aim of the project is to search for those AGNs which don't have a clear counterpart in the X-ray detector on XMM-Newton (EPIC) and try to understand the reasons. Through the comparison between the optical/UV spectrum and X-ray spectrum we selected those which have different behavior from the majority of AGNs.
Finally, we will carry out deeper spectral studies trying to understand the physical mechanisms which make these AGNs special.
EPIC Pattern Characteristics
Tutor. Norbert Schartel
I am working with one of the main instruments on board of XMM Newton, the European Photo Imaging Cameras; there are two MOS CCD cameras and one PN CCD camera. The photons are recorded in one, two or more pixels creating the different patterns.
The main goal of this project is to make an analysis of pattern behaviour, considering the physical nature of the sources and background or flaring events.
Pablo Hernandez Clemente
Universidad Politècnica de Valencia
Julia Marin-Yaseli de la Parra
Universidad de Zaragoza & Universidad Complutense de Madrid
Test and optimisation of a setup to record meteors as a tracer of cometary properties
Tutors. Jonathan Mc Auliffe & Detlef Koschny
Meteors are produced when small dust particles from comets and asteroids, called meteoroids, enter the Earth's atmosphere. The Meteor Research Group (MRG) from the Research and Science Support Department (RSSD) of the European Space Agency (ESA) has been involved in studying meteors since 1998. The main science interests are to understand the distribution and evolution of dust in the solar system and to link the physical properties of the particles producing the meteors to their parent body. According with these points image-intensified video cameras are used to observe the same location in the Earth's atmosphere from two different directions.
The main purpose of my traineeship is to evaluate the viability of the commercial programs, to create specific software coded in C++ and to contrast different orbit data obtained from various methods of calculation. Our software is public code N-Body integrator, called RANBO J (Radiant Attraction N-Body Orbiter Tool) and is able to reconstruct the orbit around the Sun from the stereo observations.
Scheduling Optional Tasks in an Over-Constrained System of Dependent N-ary Resources
Tutor. Harold Metselaar & David Frew
The Mission Independent Group (MIG) is elaborating a Science Operations Planning System (SOPS) to facilitate the SOCs in maximizing the scientific return for planetary missions. Science operations planning leads to complex planning and scheduling problems. The core characteristics of these problems is the allocation of shared and limited resources (e.g. power budget, data storage, downlink time, science constraints, etc.) to competitive activities (observations/measurements by the different instruments onboard a satellite) over a given period of time, taking various dependencies and constraints between the activities into consideration.
The main purpose of the traineeship was to research possible approaches for the above problem, perform a comparative study and to implement a prototype.


Maria del Mar Núñez Campos
Universidad Politècnica de Salamanca, Madrid
David López Paz
Universidad Autónoma de Madrid
Modeling Saturn Rings temperature empirical laws
Tutor. Nicolas Altobelli
Since 2004, The NASA/ESA Cassini-Huygens project has been studying Saturn, its satellites and rings. One of the main instruments of the spacecraft is the Composite Infrared Spectrometer (CIRS), which measures infrared waves coming from objects to learn about their temperatures, thermal properties, and compositions.
The aim of this traineeship was to develop the necessary interfaces to query the CIRS data set, and to use it to infer temperature empirical laws for the whole rings geometry. Due to the huge amount of data and the high dimensionality of the parameter space, machine learning and statistical inference techniques where used to assist the mathematical modeling.
Study of the Properties of a Selected Sample of X-ray Bursters with INTEGRAL
Tutor. Celia Sanchez
The goal of my project is to discover X-ray Bursts of a transient source and understand their behaviour using the data given by the satellite INTEGRAL.
The X-ray bursters are accreting neutron stars in LMXB (Low Mass X-ray Binaries) systems, in which the Hydrogen and Helium accumulate on the surface forming a thick layer that periodically explode in thermonuclear flashes. We characterize our source of study in terms of recurrence, persistent emission fluxes, bursts temperature, mass accretion rate, type of fuel burning, burst duration and integrated flux during the burst. We can also estimate the source distance and the neutron star radius.  
Ester Aranzana
Universidad Complutense de Madrid
Marc Costa Sitja
Universidad Politécnica de Madrid
Geometry Analysis for Planetary Science Planning
Tutors. Miguel Almeida & Raymond Hoofs
In planetary missions the geometry of the observations is of key importance. The observations can be characterized by all types of positions and attitudes of the spacecraft with respect to the planet, various Sun angles, or even star positions. Different payloads pointing requirements are not always compatible and decisions have to be made on which experiments take priority. Therefore the full knowledge of a given observation is extremely important in the decision‐making process. Given the large amount of observation possibilities the conflict resolution process can be long and hard to optimize. The present project purpose was to provide a faster method to analyze real‐time the different observation options available.
The result of the project has been a tool named VisualOPS. VisualOPS has been developed in IDL (Interactive Data Language) using an object oriented approach and SPICE, a planetary data information system developed by the Jet Propulsion Laboratory. The tool allows the user to visualize in a dynamic three‐dimensional environment a requested pointing for a given instrument, spacecraft attitude at a certain time and obtain a large and tailored list of requested outputs such as the field of view of the instrument, the thermal constraints of the spacecraft, or the complete geometry of the observation.
Gallery of selected galactic supernova remnants
Tutors. Martin Stuhlinger & Ignacio de la Calle
Supernova remnants are at the top of the short list of the most impressive X-ray images. Especially in the case of a thermal origin of the X-rays, supernova remnants can show very different appearances dependent on how the images are generated. During my project, I entered deeply into the X-ray analysis of XMM-Newton EPIC and RGS data by the generation of images and spectra and learning about the electronics of these instruments testing a double background correction method for extended sources developed in LINUX/UNIX environment .
During this project I worked with the XMM-Newton calibration team testing this method and worked with a lot of people around the world, which has been a very nice and very interesting experience.
Enrique Sanchez
Universidad Complutense de Madrid
Athanasia Xagkoni
National Technical University of Athens
Weighing the densest stars in the universe
Tutor. Erik Kuulkers
Neutron stars are the densest objects of our universe, discarding black holes. They are far more energetic, reaching values not reproducible on earth. Matter in these conditions can thus only be probed through astrophysical observations. One of the holy grails of astronomy, and more specifically X-ray astronomy, with the Integral Mission leading, is to measure the equations of state of a neutron star. Up to now, neither the mass, nor the radius, have been directly measured. Multiple phenomena have been observed for one neutron star, which could in principle be used to break degeneracies and uniquely determine the equation of state. The constraints on the equations also had to be derived. In the meantime more information has become available, so one can update and/or refine the resulting parameters. My focus was to make sense of these observations, tie them all together, see what constraints they can give on the mass and radius, and finally determine whether they are consistent. In this whole exercise the uncertainties of all the measurements had to be taken carefully into account, so that we could come up with the correct statement about current affairs. My approach was mainly statistical; provided the latest mathematical tools, equation-solving became even more interesting.
Automated Analysis of Large Planetary Datasets
Tutors. Albrecht Schmidt & Erwan Treguier
The aim of this traineeship was to finish porting a Matlab-based infrastructure, developed at Ecole Central de Nantes and ESAC, to an open-source tool set and to compare different factorisation algorithms. The context of the work was the large-scale analysis of hyperspectral images taken during planetary missions, such as by the Mars Express instrument OMEGA, or Rosetta's OSIRIS. The ultimate aim of the project was to automate the analysis of the data as much as possible and to apply it to one of ESA's archived science data, both as a test case and on the way towards producing science.
Camille Pelloquin
Ecole Central de Nantes
Maria Elena Manjavacas
Universidad Complutense de Madrid
Study and Application of Superresolution Techniques to the Images from the OSIRIS camera onboard Rosetta
Tutors. Micheal Kueppers & Jose Luis Vazquez
Rosetta is an ESA mission that will study the comet Churyumov-Gerasimenko. One of the instruments on board the orbiter, the OSIRIS camera system, is made up of a wide-angle camera and a narrow-angle camera to obtain high-resolution images of the comet's nucleus and two asteroids (Steins and Lutetia). One of the ways of improving the quality of the images taken by OSIRIS could be the increase of its resolution by 'artificial' means. Superresolution algorithms are a set of mathematical techniques to improve the resolution of a set of images when the physical characteristics of the acquisition sensor are fixed. The aim of this project was to study the state-of-the-art superresolution techniques, and its application to the OSIRIS images, and concentrate on two pre-selected algorithms, which were tested with OSIRIS images of Mars and the Earth, taken during fast flybys of those planets in 2007.
Neutron Stars and Black Holes on the Edge
Tutors. Maria Diaz Trigo & Arvind Palmer
A low-mass X-ray binary is a system with either a neutron star or black hole accreting from a low-mass companion star via an accretion disk. About 10 of these systems show dips in their light curves recurrent at the orbital period of the system and share the property of being observed at high inclination. The observation angle makes the dippers particular interesting since a number of characteristics (e.g. complex spectral changes during the dips or occasional disappearance of dips) are observed which are not easily explained. The aim of this project was to analyse the X-ray data sets available for all the dipping sources observed with Suzaku and XMM-Newton which have not yet been published. The proposed data sets provide us with a unique opportunity to understand the complex relations between dips, variability of the source and reprocessing of emission combining the unique capabilities of Suzaku and XMM-Newton.
  Guillermo Jenaro Rabada
Observatoire de Paris
Elena Racero Perez
Universidad Complutense de Madrid
  Very High Energy Gamma-ray Spectra in the Virtual Observatory
Tutors. Ignacio de la Calle, Deborah Baines, Aitor Ibarra & Jose Luis Contreras (Universidad Complutense de Madrid)
Supernova, Active Galaxies harbouring supermassive black holes and Gamma-ray Bursts are amongst the most violent events in the Universe. Broadband spectral studies, covering the whole electromagnetic spectra from radio to very high energy gamma-rays, are the only means to ultimately understand the mechanisms of acceleration of ultra-relativistic particles in these objects. The goal of this project was to build the Spectral Energy Distribution (SED) of the TeV blazar Mrk 421, covering from radio to high energy gamma-ray data, and building the SED from data within the Virtual Observatory and archives. The project aimed at addressing the long and short term variability of the spectra properties, with the ultimate goal of understanding how particles are accelerated in these objects to relativistic velocities.
Parallel 3D Models of the Flow in the Colliding Winds of Binary Systems of Hot Stars
Tutors. Andy Pollock & Ruben Alvarez
Strong winds flow away from the surfaces of hot stars driven by radiation pressure. Hot stars, both with strong winds, are often to be found in pairs orbiting one another in eccentric binary systems. This makes the flow of material more complicated and it becomes difficult to understand properly how the X-rays that are observed from such systems get emitted and absorbed when the geometry is changing all the time. In the recent past, sophisticated hydrodynamic simulation codes have been offered to the public that can be used to tackle such problems. These codes are parallelised to run on a grid and one called Athena-3D has been installed on the grid at ESAC. the aim of the project was to get the code running on the ESAC grid to make models of the X-ray measurements of some well-known binary systems.
  Rodolfo Ostilla Monico
Universidad de Sevilla
Roque Ruiz Carmona
Universidad Complutense de Madrid
Pulse Profile Evolution in GX 1+4
Tutors. Peter Kretschmar & Erik Kuulkers
GX 1+4 is an accreting X-ray pulsar close to the Galactic Centre region. It has been monitored regularly over the past years by the Integral Galactic Bulge Monitoring programme (PI E. Kuulkers). In a previous trainee project and subsequent masters' thesis its period evolution has been studied in detail and the results are being published (A. Gonzalez-Galan et al., in prep.). As a side effect of the period evolution study, significant variations of the source's pulse profile (light curve folded with pulse period) have been observed, but not yet systematically studied. The study of these variations and possible correlation with source luminosity changes was the core of this project, plus the analysis of new Integral data of GX 1+4.
Gaia. Young Stars Spectroscopic Library
Tutors. Alcione Mora & Ralf Kohley
The Gaia mission will produce a three-dimensional map of the positions and proper motions of one billion stars in the Galaxy with unprecedented astrometric precision. Gaia will obtain RVS, an intermediate resolution (R ~ 10000) spectrometer, spectra of pre-main sequence stars down to solar masses for the whole extension of the Gould Belt, which encompasses the nearest star forming regions up to a distance of ~500 pc. The evolution of intermediate mass stars in the solar neighbourhood could be traced from a few Myr down to the ZAMS using a complete and unbiased survey.
In this context, it is essential to study the behaviour of the different lines in the RVS range for young stars. Variability, emission and circumstellar absorption are typical phenomena that could render the lines useless for physical parameters determination. The aim of this project was to build an intermediate resolution spectral library of PMS stars using archive data. The data were reduced and resampled to the range and resolution provided by Gaia. Observed spectra were compared to synthetic templates to identify stable photospheric lines.
  Susana Mejido
Universidad Autonoma de Madrid
Tarek Hassan Collado
Universidad Complutense de Madrid
  Study of Extended Far-infrared Diffuse Emission Structure in Star Forming Regions Based on Herschel Large-Scale Maps
Tutors. Roland Vavrek
Herschel imaging photometry provides the highest ever spatial resolution imaging in the far-infrared. Large-scale maps of star forming regions show emission of the diffuse background with details which have never been characterised compared to lower-resolution experiments flown in the past. The goal of the project was to define a suitable statistical descriptor of complexity based on multiresolution image analysis techniques. The data used was from the public domain of the Herschel Science Archive and from Guaranteed Time proposals of the Herschel Science Centre.
Simplified Access to INTEGRAL Data, Data Products and Visualization Tools
Tutors. Marion Cadolle Bel & Silvia de Castro
The INTEGRAL Science Operations Centre (ISOC) provides a number of services to the gamma-ray community. Amongst these are the INTEGRAL Observation Schedule Application (IOSA) and the ISOC Science Data Archive (ISDA). The IOSA allows astronomers to browse details of INTEGRAL observations, both in the past and in the near future. The ISDA provides users with a powerful and flexible interface to select and download data and perform some data visualisation and analysis. The ISDA includes a VIRTUAL Observatory (VO) interface allowing external VO applications to access the data. The aim of this project was to integrate the IOSA and ISDA such that the IOSA can be used to download data from INTEGRAL observations and to launch the tools for visualizing INTEGRAL data. All communication between the two packages will be via the existing VO interface in the ISDA. The aim was not to reproduce the functionality of the ISDA, but to provide a greatly simplified view of the INTEGRAL data in an environment which is already familiar to the majority of the gamma-ray community.
  Teresa Garcia
Universidad Completense de Madrid