Royal Society Research Fellow
I am a Royal Society Research Fellow, Senior Research Fellow and Proleptic Senior Lecturer in the Department of Physics and Astronomy at the University of Sheffield.
Funding for my research into massive stars and supernovae comes from the Royal Society.
Department of Physics and Astronomy
University of Sheffield
Sheffield, S3 7RH
T: 0114 222 4352
F: 0114 222 3555
Paper about Hubble Space Telescope observations of stellar populations around stripped-envelope supernovae is published in Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society
Review article "Bridging the gap: from massive stars to supernovae" with Paul Crowther, Thomas Janka and Norbert Langer published in Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society A
Funded PhD place available for studies into supernovae, polarimetry and machine learning (for September/October 2018)
GEOMETRIES OF SUPERNOVAE
Given the beautiful images acquired with the world's most powerful telescopes, it is sometimes easy to forget how little we can see. Even with exquisite spatial resolution of the Hubble Space Telescope it is only possible to just see the surface of the largest most nearby stars (have a look here at Hubble's view of Betelgeuse). Most stars appear to telescopes as they do to the human eye: point-like sources of light. One of the great challenges in modern astronomy is how to overcome the problem of distance to measure the shapes of things that you can't see directly. If you want to see the shape of something in astronomy, it either needs to very big (like the size of a galaxy) or you need an exceptional telescope (with a very large diameter). In the Milky Way we can just about see the surfaces and shapes of nearby very large stars, but ordinary small stars (like the Sun) are beyond even this. Now think how difficult this might be for seeing things on the scale of stars that are found in other galaxies!
I am interested in how supernova explosions work and, in particular, what one can say about the extreme physics of these cataclysmic events from the their shapes. Just like a 3D movie in the cinema, the polarization of the light we receive from these events can encode information of the 3D structure. This means we can see the shapes for objects on the far-side of the Universe, without having to build a ridiculously large and expensive telescope (if you want to see a supernova in the next door galaxy M31, you would need a telescope at least 36km in diameter!).
THE RESOLVED ENVIRONMENTS AROUND SUPERNOVAE
I currently teach the astronomy portion of the course PHY119 "Frontiers of Physics" for first years students who are not registered for the astronomy degree program.
I also supervise 4th year PHY480 final year projects on the subjects of massive stars, massive star populations in other galaxies (using the Hubble Space Telescope), machine learning and supernovae.
I keep useful information about the projects on my teaching blog which can found at https://maundjustyn.blogspot.co.uk