Transient radio astronomy focuses on tracking down the strange signals that go bump in the night. What strange bursts of radiation are out there?
Radio signals of astronomical objects
I am a radio astronomer, meaning I study the radio signals of astronomical objects we see in the sky.
My expertise is with transient and variable radio signals, or things that turn on and off in the sky instead of being constantly there. This can be caused by various things, from stars giving off flares of radiation or colliding neutron stars. My first paper, for example, was about a black hole that ate a star!
Currently I am working on studying Supernova 1987A– a star which exploded in a satellite galaxy of our own Milky Way, 170,000 light years away, and whose light reached us in 1987. Despite this distance, exploding stars are so rare that Supernova 1987A was the closest one observed since the invention of the telescope! Radio radiation from SN 1987A teaches us how the shockwave from the star that exploded still travels through and interacts with the material surrounding the star, and provides astronomers with important information on how supernova remnants evolve. My research involves analyzing data from the Australia Telescope Compact Array (ATCA), and making radio images of the supernova remnant.