Massive stars are among the most important cosmic engines, driving the evolution of galaxies throughout the history of the universe. As most of these stars are found in binary and higher multiple systems, an accurate knowledge of their multiplicity properties is crucial to understand the role of the massive stars. On the one hand, the orbital parameter distributions are the tracers of massive star formation. On the other hand, they determine the frequency of evolved massive binary systems, including high-mass X-ray and double compact binaries, Type Ib/c supernovae, short and long-duration gamma-ray bursts. Unfortunately, so far only rudimentary knowledge of the intrinsic distributions of massive wide binaries is available.
In this project, we undertake various observational campaigns at the highest angular resolution and highest contrast possible towards nearby massive stars, aiming at obtaining a complete view of their multiplicity properties over the parameter range relevant to test massive star formation and evolution theories. Specifically, we will explore the range of separations where companions possibly formed by the remnants of the fragmented disk are expected to be found and where the role of triples and higher order multiples are expected to be significant.
Through multiple prestigious grants (FWO, ERC-CoG, KU Leuven C1), the KU Leuven Institute of Astrophysics is establishing a strong research pole on massive stars. Applications are now invited for a postdoc position financed by the Research Foundation - Flanders (FWO) on the topic
Extreme imaging of galactic high-mass stars
The selected candidates will join the team of Prof. Hugues Sana and will work as part of an international network of collaborators. Significant experienced with high-angular resolution and/or high-contrast imaging techniques with instruments such as ESO/VLTI, NACO or SPHERE or equivalent instruments is desirable for this position.
The Host Institute
The Institute of Astronomy (IoA) of Leuven University in Belgium is a young and vibrant research group of some 50 scientists, engineers, and administrative staff (fys.kuleuven.be/ster), including 6 full-time and 3 part-time professors. The institute is an expertise centre in stellar physics and is active in several international consortia and collaborations, involving telescopes at observatories worldwide and in space. Members of IoA have access to parallel computing facilities at Leuven University. The IoA is responsible for the organisation of the 2-year Master in Astronomy & Astrophysics of the Faculty of Science and owns the 1.2m Mercator telescope at Roque de los Muchachos, La Palma Observatory, Canary Islands. The institute has a long tradition in instrumental, observational, and theoretical studies of stellar evolution.
Requirements and Instructions to Apply
Post-doc applicants must hold a PhD in astrophysics or an equivalent diploma. The ideal candidates will have a strong observational and/or data analysis background, including expertise relevant for the project.
The application package should be sent as one single PDF containing:
(i) a curriculum vitae, with a full publication list;
(ii) a statement of interest (max. 2 page);
(iii) a summary of the research experience (max. 3 pages).
Applicants must also provide the names and contact details of two reference persons who would be prepared to send confidential recommendation letters should they be requested to do so. The selection committee will send out requests for such letters for those applicants on the short-list after an initial ranking. The short-listed applicants will be invited for an interview (live or via Skype).
The application material should be sent by e-mail to Clio.Gielen@kuleuven.be with subject “PD-APPLICATIONS-<applicant_surname>” at the latest by February 1st 2018. Applications that do not strictly follow these guidelines may not be properly identified.
Information on the position and on the project may be obtained by contacting Prof. Hugues Sana: email (Hugues.Sana@kuleuven.be) or phone (+32-16-37.43.61)