Research

Hicks observatory, photo by Andy Brown

The main interests of this research group is to study massive stars in a variety of environments, and so overlaps with other Sheffield astrophysics research groups involving studies of star clusters and starbursts. Gemma Rate studied Wolf-Rayet stars with ESA GAIA (PhD completed in Dec 2020), Katie Tehrani (PhD completed in Nov 2019) investigated Wolf-Rayet stars at X-ray and optical wavelengths with honourary researcher Andy Pollock. Joachim Bestenlehner is analysing the massive star populations in the Milky Way and Magellanic Clouds, including VLT/MUSE integral-field observations of NGC2070 in the LMC (see Messenger article). We are also involved in the WHT/WEAVE galactic plane Stellar, Circumstellar and Interstellar Physics (SCIP) survey, while Bestenlehner is a member of the upcoming VISTA/4MOST spectroscopic surveys of the Magellanic Clouds 1001MC.

Ultraviolet HST/STIS spectroscopy of the young, rich star cluster R136 is available in ascii format (figure 12 from MNRAS paper, erg/s/cm^2/Ang):

We have recently undertaken spectral analyses of these stars from HST/STIS optical spectroscopy (see MNRAS paper). Former students/postdocs are still involved in our research projects, notably Dr Saida Caballero-Nieves (FIT) involving massive binaries and the R136 star cluster, plus Dr Joanne Pledger (nee Bibby) (UCLan) who is involved with studying Wolf-Rayet populations in nearby star forming galaxies. Template optical spectra of Wolf-Rayet stars in the LMC and SMC (from here) are available in ascii format:

We also host a Galactic Wolf-Rayet Catalogue. Template optical spectra of Milky Way Wolf-Rayet stars will follow based on GAIA EDR3 results. Until then, templates have been produced based on estimated distances - primarily from here

The following articles (for scientists) may be of interest:

  • The VLT FLAMES Tarantula Survey (ESO Messenger 181, 2020)
  • Massive Stars in the Tarantula Nebula: A Rosetta Stone for Extragalactic Supergiant HII Regions (Galaxies, 2019)
  • Dissecting the core of the Tarantula Nebula with MUSE (ESO Messenger 170, 2017)
  • An Astrophysical Laboratory: Understanding and Exploiting the Young Massive Cluster Westerlund 1 (ESO Messenger 159, 2015)
  • Birth, life and death of massive stars (Astronomy and Geophysics, vol 53, 4.30-4.36, Aug 2012) - pdf
  • A second flavour of Wolf-Rayet CSPNe (Gemini Focus vol 44, Jun 2012)
  • The VLT FLAMES Tarantula Survey (ESO Messenger 145, Sep 2011)
  • Dissecting the Galactic Super Star Cluster Westerlund 1 - A Laboratory for Stellar Evolution (ESO Messenger 142, Dec 2010)
  • Monster Stars: How Big Can They Get? (Astronomy Beat, Nov 2010)
  • VLT/FORS surveys of Wolf-Rayet stars beyond the Local Group: Type Ib/c supernova progenitors? ESO Messenger ( 129 Sep 2007)
  • Core-collapse supernovae and their massive progenitors (Astronomy & Geophysics, Feb 2007)

    Current Projects

    Post Docs

    PhD students