UCL Astrophysics Group


Internship: A Source Catalogue for Differential Photometry at the UCL Observatory

27 April 2021

We are looking for an individual to implement a database which runs alongside the UCLO digital image archive, via a combination of python scripts and database content management.


The UCL Observatory has a digital image archive which has been in place for more than a decade.

This allows students to access many observations of targets of interest which have been observed as long as a decade ago, facilitating deeper integration of objects as well as comparison of long duration transients.  However, the status quo only taps into a small fraction of the potential of this archive as targets are specifically chosen on the grounds of pre-existing knowledge or curiosity.

The discovery space related to variable events and transients (including but not limited to Supernovae, Novae, Microlensing, etc..) rely on the immediate recognition that a variation in photometry of a given object is taking place. Such a tool is to this day implemented in the majority of robotic observatories and allows rapid follow-up of many astronomical events of interest.

The work that the intern will carry out is to implement a database which runs alongside the archive, via a combination of python scripts and database content management, that allow photometry to be extracted from each image acquired and stored in a new UCLO source catalogue which will create "alerts" when a relative variation of a given source is noticed above a set threshold.

The intern will not only gain valuable insight on the process of design of a research facility, but will finetune the python skills learned in a physics/astronomy environment with attention to user-interface detail which is not something that is taught directly in this domain.

The latter is in huge demand when planning or designing software in any field.

Dates: The work is to be carried out for a period of 5 hours a day over 6 weeks in the months of June and July. LLW applies.

Essential requirements for applications:

Students applying for this internship will have:

-) good knowledge of a range of astronomical sources, coordinate systems and data formats (FITS files).

-) familiarity with basic astronomical data analysis such as aperture photometry.

-) Good Python computing skills.

-) Familiarity with Winodws AND Linux operating systems.

Desirable requirements for application:

Students applying for this internship will:

-) be familiar with database content managements (SQL, JSON, ...)

-) have experience in coding for User-Interface (graphical or non)

A one-page CV with a couple of paragraphs justifying the suitability for this project given the requirements expressed above should be emailed to Prof. Giorgio Savini (g.savini@ucl.ac.uk) by May 15th, 2021.