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PhD position in Extragalactic Astronomy: formation and evolution of galaxies as seen with LSST and GALEX

Instituto de Astrofísica de Canarias (IAC)
Fecha inicio solicitud: 
Mar, 13/10/2020
Fecha límite solicitud: 
Mar, 27/10/2020


A four-year PhD (FPI) contract is offered within the project 'The structure and evolution of galaxies and their central regions' (PID2019-105602GB-I00) led by Dr. Johan Knapen. The selected candidate will carry out her/his research activity on the field of galaxy formation and evolution, using data from the upcoming Legacy Survey of Space and Time (LSST; we are recognised collaborators with full data rights) conducted with the Vera C. Rubin Observatory. Extended research stays with collaborators in the USA and/or the UK are envisaged.

Supervisors: Johan H. Knapen and Simón Díaz-García (,

The PhD candidate will exploit state-of-the-art deep imaging from LSST, starting in its commissioning and science verification phases.  The main research project is to characterise statistically the properties of truncations in disk galaxies, testing whether they are a result of a threshold in star formation activity. This project is now finally within reach through a combination of LSST and GALEX imaging. The student will also collaborate closely with computer scientists on topics of machine and deep learning, as well as with experts in the field of extragalactic astronomy at the IAC and elsewhere.

The main tasks will be:

- Select a statistically meaningful sample of a few thousand galaxies for which LSST imaging will be available, spanning a range of properties including morphological type and stellar mass. Derive radial surface brightness profiles from the LSST imaging.

- Collect archival GALEX far- and near-UV images, derive radial surface brightness profiles from them, and infer radial star formation profiles.

- Analyse the properties of truncations in disk galaxies, and establish whether they correspond to a change in the star formation properties at or near the truncation radius. This will be done with the aid of statistical tools and machine learning techniques.

- It is likely that we will identify the need for further observations of specific sub-samples, and it is thus likely that there will be a component of observing with telescopes like the GTC, the JWST, the VLT, or ALMA. This may include deep imaging in emission lines or of the gas to study the specific star formation properties near the truncation.

The student will be based at the IAC and the thesis will formally be registered and awarded by the Universidad de La Laguna. The complete ULL-IAC doctoral programme will be followed, which includes training in research and complimentary skills. The PhD will be defended after three years, and the fourth year of the contract will be 'pre-postdoc'.

Applications must be submitted online at the URL of the Ministerio de Ciencia e Innovación To request the present research project please use the following reference: PID2019-105602GB-I00.

For further information about the scientific aspects of this PhD position, please contact or

We promote a diverse and inclusive environment and strongly encourage women and underrepresented minorities in physical sciences to apply.