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 is studying extra-galactic Wolf-Rayet stars, Katie Tehrani is investigating Wolf-Rayet stars at X-ray and optical wavelengths. In Spring 2017, Joachim Bestenlehner will be analysing the massive star content of the R136 cluster based in HST/STIS spectroscopy, plus recent VLT/MUSE integral-field observations of the associated HII region NGC2070. We are also involved in the WHT/WEAVE galactic plan survey SCIP, while Bestenlehner is a member of the upcoming VISTA/4MOST spectroscopic surveys of the Magellanic Clouds.

Former students/postdocs are still involved in 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 await results of GAIA DR2. Until then, templates have been produced based on estimated distances - primarily from here

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

  • 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