The Leiden/ESA Astrophysics Program for Summer Students (LEAPS) 2016
Update: 29, March 2016
The organisers and the advisors of the LEAPS projects thank all the students who applied for the 2016 LEAPS program. Due to the high number (more than 400) and the high-quality of applications, choosing the best candidate has been a hard task. An offer has been made to all the selected students, and we will send an official e-mail to all the candidates shortly. We encourage all the candidates to apply next year.
LEAPS is an opportunity for students with an interest in astronomy and astrophysics to perform a 10-12 week summer research project in collaboration with a research scientist from Leiden Observatory or ESA. The program is open to all students not currently engaged in a Ph.D. program, although most past participants have been senior-undergraduate or masters' students who are enthusiastic about research in astrophysics.
Students will be selected for the program based on their academic achievements and research potential, and will be matched to staff projects based on what they indicate their scientific interests to be. Research at Leiden Observatory and ESA takes place on a diverse array of topics (see below), and student projects will likely consist of anything from the analysis of data from world-class telescopes, to large computer simulations, to hands-on work in the astrochemistry laboratories.
Projects will begin in June 2016 and end before end-August 2016. We expect to make as many as 20 appointments this year, depending on interest and the match of projects to students interests and skills. Details on the application process can be found below.
Leiden Observatory is a world-class institute for research in astronomy and astrophysics based in the Netherlands, approximately 35km from Amsterdam. The atmosphere at the observatory is dynamic, with approximately 100 faculty/research scientists and 70 graduate students engaged in astrophysical research on a wide range of topics. Major fields of interest include extrasolar planets, star formation, cosmology, galaxy formation, instrumentation, and astrochemistry. Multiple research projects will likely be available within these fields.
European Space Research and Technology Centre (ESTEC/ESA)
ESTEC is the main technical centre for the European Space Agency (ESA), responsible for spacecraft integration. ESA develops and manages many types of space missions, from exploration, telecommunications, to earth and space science. The Research and Scientific Support Department at ESTEC consists of approximately 40 staff scientists, with research interests ranging from the geology of planets in our solar system, to plasma physics in the magnetosphere of the Earth, space weather, to observational astronomy with ESA's space missions such as Planck, Herschel, GAIA and EUCLID. Due to tight security requirements for entry to the ESTEC complex, students who work in collaboration with the ESTEC Research Fellows will be based primarily at Leiden Observatory and their advisor will meet with them on a regular basis.
Travel, Housing and Stipend
Students accepted into the LEAPS program will be provided with travel costs to/from Leiden. We will also provide housing accommodations near the observatory, as well as a modest stipend to help with living costs during the internship. Leiden is a small, picturesque university town located between the major cities of Amsterdam and The Hague. Summer is a beautiful time of year to be in Leiden, and we encourage LEAPS students to socialize and use their free time to enjoy the numerous summertime activities available in Holland. English is widely spoken throughout the Netherlands and international students should find it easy to live in the Leiden area. We are planning several field trips for LEAPS students including visits to the ESTEC complex where many ESA satellites are being built, and potentially to the LOFAR radio array, the world's largest low-frequency radio telescope.
How to Apply
The program is open to all international students provided they are not currently enrolled in a Ph.D. program. ESA projects are only available for students from ESA member or affiliate states (Austria, Belgium, Czech Republic, Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Ireland, Italy, Luxembourg, The Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, the United Kingdom and Canada). Students from Cyprus, Estonia, Hungary, Latvia and Slovenia (affilliate members) can also apply for ESA projects. The working language of the observatory is English, and students should be sufficiently proficient in English to perform a research project.
To apply, there is a web application form opened from 8, January 2016. The deadline of the applications is February 5 2016. The questions include selecting two projects from the Research Project list below that you are most interested in working on (the research projects are being collected and the list will be updated regularly). Please note that the submission page requires the creation of a username and password. On the submission page you will be required to submit the following documents (in PDF format please):
a one-page document describing your interest in an area of astrophysics research relevant to staff members (see below), as well as details of any previous research experience or relevant research skills (e.g., scientific computer programming).
the name and contact details of an academic who has been asked to submit a letter of reference for you. This person should be able to speak to your potential to carry out scientific research, rather than just your performance in undergraduate lectures. Letters of recommendation must be received by the application deadline, please make sure your referee is aware of this.
a transcript of undergraduate/masters level course grades.
a curriculum vitae (optional, but helpful).
If you have any questions about the application process or the program, please . If you want to know more about the projects on offer, please email the project supervisor directly by clicking on their name below.
LEAPS 2016 Poster:
Research Projects, Categories and Supervisors
These are the proposed research projects for LEAPS 2016. Please note that not all projects will go ahead and some may still be added in the near future. Final funding decisions lie with the Faculty sponsors. And please make a note that if you are interested in an ESA project, to check if your state is an ESA member or affiliate state.
The most massive stars in our Galaxy (with masses greater than 8 times the mass of our Sun) end their lives quite spectacularly when they become supernovae or black holes. Because of this, they are the main contributor to the chemical enrichment and energetic input in the Galaxy. However, despite their importance we still do not fully understand how these massive stars are formed and how they impact their immediate environment as they evolve. To understand this, we need to study the earliest stages of the formation of a massive star.
In this project we will use recently observed data from the Atacama Pathfinder Experiment (APEX) radio telescope, located at 5000 meters of altitude in the Chajnantor plateau in Chile. Using this dataset, we will investigate the chemical environments in which massive stars are born, and will determine how this environment changes from the moment the star begins to form to when it begins to ionize and change its environment with strong radiation once it is fully formed.
Probing the kinematics of protoplanetary disks with ALMA observations
Type of project: Star and Planet Formation, Modelling
Protoplanetary disks are the birth places of planetary systems. The Atacama Large Millimeter/Submillimeter Array (ALMA) is revealing the gas and dust structure of protoplanetary disks around nearby young stars with unprecedented spatial and spectral resolution. Observations of CO (carbon monoxide) rotational transition lines from protoplanetary disks can reveal underlying deviations from the expected keplerian rotation. Such deviations can occur due to the presence of warps or spiral density waves, both of which can be indirect signatures of the presence of unseen planets. This project will involve the numerical modelling of the gas velocity structure in disks (traced in CO line emission) around nearby bright protoplanetary disks which have recently been observed with ALMA. The candidate with quantify the deviation of CO emission from pure keplerian rotation, and fit simple analytical models to the data to determine the likely presence of warps and/or spiral density waves. This project provides a unique opportunity to work directly with ALMA data and the candidate will gain skills in ALMA data analysis and interpretation.
Investigating complex organic molecule formation and survival in the planet-forming regions of protoplanetary disks
Complex organic molecules are thought to be the precursors of prebiotic material, regarded as important ingredients for the emergence of life.
Recent observations from the Atacama Large Millimeter/Submillimeter Array (ALMA) have revealed, for the first time, that the molecular gas in the inner regions of protoplanetary disks is likely as chemically complex as that seen towards the surrounding warm environments of young still-forming stars. The recent detection of CH3CN (acetonitrile or methyl cyanide) by Oberg et al. (2015, Nature, 520, 198) in the inner regions of the warm disk around MWC 480, suggests that the CH3CN arises from evaporation of complex ices within this disks comet-forming zone. However, astrochemical modelling shows that CH3CN may have gas-phase routes to formation and/or decreased destruction routes, when compared with other complex molecules which are also expected to be abundant in the warm gas (e.g., CH3OH, methanol; Walsh, C. 2016, EAS, submitted). The candidate will investigate the formation and destruction routes of gas-phase CH3CN and CH3OH currently included in well-known chemical reaction networks used for interstellar and circumstellar chemical models. The project will involve running and testing astrochemical models, using physical conditions suitable for the inner regions of protoplanetary disks, with a view to quantifying the contribution of gas-phase chemistry and ice chemistry to the production and destruction these important molecules.
The student will work in collaboration with the student working on the project entitled "Understanding the chemical complexity in protostellar outflows".
Understanding the chemical complexity in protostellar outflows
During the early evolutionary stages of star formation, molecular outflows are produced by the shocked interaction between high-velocity jets driven by the protostar and the ambient material. Shocks quickly release the content of interstellar ices into the gas phase and trigger a rich endothermic gas phase chemistry. Molecular outflows therefore offer an ideal laboratory to test the interstellar chemistry since they are known to be chemically complex, with the detection of several dozens of species.
Complex Organic Molecules (COMs), molecules based on carbon chemistry and at the origin of the prebiotic chemistry we see in our Solar System, have been routinely detected around protostars in large quantities. The presence of many COMs has been understood as due to warm surface chemistry triggered by UV photolysis. The recent detection of several COMs towards the prototype L1157-B1 challenges our current understanding of the chemistry producing these COMs since the warm surface chemistry no longer applies in shocks.
In this project, the student will carry out the first comprehensive study of the formation and evolution of complex organics occurring in molecular outflows. He/she will implement the results of a state-of-the-art physical shock model into a gas-grain astrochemical model in order to assess whether or not COMs can be produced in molecular outflows. He/she will then compare the results of the model predictions with recent observations carried out with modern sub-millimeter facilities to derive the physical and chemical conditions involved in their formation.
The codes used in this project are written in fortran while the analysis of the results will be performed with IDL. Some experience in Fortran/C/IDL is therefore favoured. The student will work in collaboration with the student working on the project entitled "Investigating complex organic molecule formation and survival in the planet-forming regions of protoplanetary disks".
Searching for diffuse radio emission from galaxy clusters
Type of project: Observations, radio, galaxy clusters, survey
In a few percent of galaxy clusters radio emission is observed to be associated with the low-density, Mpc-scale plasma that encompasses the cluster. The origin of this rare emission is still debated but the currently favoured theory is that shocks and turbulence can accelerate electrons within clusters to produce substantial synchrotron emission which is observable at radio wavelengths. In this project we will examine the observational properties of radio emission from galaxy clusters to enhance our understanding of the physical processes occurring within the intracluster medium.
Resolving the origin of filaments in the lobes of Centaurus A
Type of project: Observations, radio, radio galaxies
Centaurus A is the radio source associated with the elliptical galaxy NGC5128. At a mere 3.8±0.1 Mpc distance, it is by far the closest active galactic nuclei (AGN) in the Universe. The angular extent of Centaurus A (10 degrees) allows us to study the physical processes that occur in radio lobes in great detail. Previous studies have revealed interesting filamentary structures with enhanced brightness in the radio lobes, but how the particles have been accelerated to produce such structures remains unclear. We have targeted the brightest filament in the giant lobes of Centaurus A with the Australia Telescope Compact Array and in this project we aim to study the polarimetric and spectral properties of this filament to assess how the electrons in this region have been accelerated.
Using neutron stars to understand accretion
Type of project: Computer simulations, theoretical, studying neutron stars
Neutron stars are nature's most extreme astronomical objects, with the densest matter and strongest magnetic fields in the universe. Many of the best-studied neutron stars are in a binary system, and are often seen ‘accreting' -- where gas from the companion star falls onto the neutron star and releases a huge amount of energy (a similar amount to a nuclear explosion). Through a mix of numerical simulations (possibly using AMUSE) and theoretical calculations, we will study how an accretion disc forms around a neutron star in a variety of different circumstances, and how the accreting gas interacts with the neutron star.
The project can be adapted to fit the skills of the student, but for using AMUSE or similar numerical simulation packages, experience in programming (especially in Python or C) and with computers in general will be very helpful.
Directly observing galaxies at high-redshift (z>7) is the new frontier for galaxy evolution studies. This is the era in which the first galaxies began to form their stars and the universe became reionized. While dozens of candidates have been discovered through deep imaging, the increasingly neutral intergalactic medium at these times often absorbs primary line used to confirm redshifts, the Lyman-alpha line of Hydrogen. As such, the vast majority of photometric candidates cannot have their redshifts confirmed spectroscopically. However, the brightest emitters or ones with favorable circumgalactic gas distributions may still have detectable Lyman-alpha. The key, then, is multiplexing capacity to study as large a number of these candidates as possible. This is ideally suited for the 3D-HST survey
, a near-infrared slitless grism spectroscopic survey performed with the Hubble Space Telescope. The key advantage of grism spectroscopy compared to traditional slit spectroscopy is that it simultaneously obtains a near-infrared spectrum for every object in the field-of-view. The student will first analyze the spectra of the high-redshift photometric candidates with a code that systematically detects emission lines. That information will be combined with a search for the highest equivalent-width lines, i.e. those lines that do not have a counterpart in the continuum imaging. Individual detections can be followed-up with powerful ground-based telescopes, such as the VLT, and the overall statistics of Lyman-alpha emission will be able to constrain the luminosity function at these redshifts in a consistent way for the first time.
Examining the Conditions of Multiple Star Formation in Perseus and Orion
There is mounting evidence that more than half of all newborn stars
form in binary or multiple systems. To characterize the frequency of
multiplicity, unbiased radio-wavelength surveys are being conducted toward
the Perseus star forming region and the more populous Orion star forming region
using the Very Large Array (VLA) and the Atacama Large
Millimeter/Submillimeter Array. The project will focus on
finding new multiple systems in the recently acquired VLA data on Orion
and performing statistical comparisons with the results from Perseus to determine
if the two regions are forming multiple star systems with comparable frequency and
separation; both of which are related to the physical process that forms the multiple
systems. Furthermore, the multiplicity of systems in Orion will be examined in the
context of the protostellar luminosities and evolutionary states, as well as the density and temperature of the surrounding cloud, using data from the Herschel Space Observatory
and single-dish radio telescopes.
Probing star forming regions and their circumstellar/protoplanetary discs
Type of project: Star formation, millimetre interferometry, ALMA data analysis and imaging
The birthplace of stars are often more complex and dynamic than the simple
isolated star paradigm. Using the Atacama Large Millimetre/Sub-millimetre Array (ALMA)
data the student with investigate both the continuum 'dust' and molecular emission from
complex star forming regions and study their protoplanetary discs that allows them to
form. The project can also be expanded to include modelling of the regions and discs
to understand the protostellar and disc geometries and kinematics.
Habitability in the Universe
Type of project: Analyzing cosmological simulations
The habitable zone around stars is the region where water in its liquid form can exist on the surface of the planet. Thinking in scales that are many orders of magnitude larger than individual stars, there are also parts of a galaxy that are more likely to host earth-like planets than others: Heavy elements (heavier than iron) need to be produced within the cores of previous generations of stars through stellar nucleosynthesis and released back into the interstellar medium. Only if the gas has been enriched enough with metals, a new planetary system with rocky planets can form out of it. On the other hand, the highly energetic supernova explosions that are also responsible for the redistribution of heavy elements could harm the evolving life if they are too close.
In this project, we will identify zones in simulated galaxies where complex life finds the best conditions to develop. We will work with the EAGLE simulations, which are cosmological simulations that contain the formation and evolution of many thousands of galaxies. The aim of the project is to answer the question: At which place in the Universe and at which time during the cosmic history is the probability for complex life to form the highest?
We have mapped large areas of the low-frequency sky with unprecedented sensitivity using the new LOFAR radio telescope. We are now in a position to begin exploiting our images and one of our first aims is to combine it with high-quality auxiliary data. In this project, we will match the LOFAR-detected radio sources with novel wide-angle spectroscopic and photometric redshift catalogues of galaxies, based on surveys such as SDSS, 2MASS, and WISE. Once complete, this cross-matching of radio sources will allow us to characterise the radio properties of nearby galaxies with the aim of further understanding the radio emission from Active Galactic Nuclei (AGN). An additional outcome of the project will be detailed multi-wavelength characterisation of very rare and interesting extragalactic sources.
Symbiotic stars are composed by two stars that interact with each other. Normally they
are binary systems of a cool giant star and a white dwarf. Due to their proximity, the mass
lost by the the giant is accreted by the white dwarf. This process provokes a growth on the
white dwarf, what can induce a supernova explosion. This type of supernovae explosions are
used in cosmology to measure the accelerated expansion of the Universe. The aim of this
project is to analyse multifrequency observational data of these objects to measure their
sizes, brightness, and masses so that we can predict if they will indeed explode as a supernova.
Rosetta: From Science Fiction to Science Fact
Type of project: Science Communication, Content Analysis
The European Space Agency's Rosetta mission has been featured heavily in several media outlets: from newspapers, TV programmes and internet. One of the Rosetta communication products was the science fiction short movie Ambition, with more than 2 million views. Through the content analysis of on-line comments we will explore the public attitudes towards Ambition and the mission itself.
M87 is the brightest central galaxy of the nearby Virgo cluster. It is one of the closest, most famous examples of active galactic nuclei (AGN) feedback in action, where a relatively small but extremely massive black hole influences the evolution of much larger structures, up to galaxy and even galaxy cluster scales. Following a large observational campaign, we now have several data-sets obtained with the Very Large Array (VLA) and the Low Frequency Array (LOFAR) radio-interferometers to study this object at the lowest radio frequencies (< 500 MHz), where the AGN feedback phenomenon becomes most evident. These datasets will produce the highest resolution and deepest images ever obtained of this source.
The project will be focused on the data reduction and scientific exploitation of the VLA dataset. The student will learn how to reduce radio-interferometric data with special attention to the problems related with low-frequency observations. Once the final image is produced, the student will proceed with the scientific interpretation of the data by combining their result with LOFAR and other archival images.
This project will give the student experience in dealing with large data-sets and in solving computational challenges. Knowledge of the Python programming language is an important asset.
Straylight correction for the TROPOMI and S5 instruments
Type of project: Earth observation, Data analysis, instrument optics
TROPOMI sets the new standard in air quality measurements from space and it will be launched in May 2016. This means that the first results will be coming in at the time of LEAPS 2016.
TROPOMI (http://www.tropomi.eu/) is a push broom imaging spectrometer observing the Earth in the UV, VIS, NIR and SWIR wavelength ranges. It measures absorption of trace gases and thereby produces trace gas concentration maps over the complete Earth to provide air quality and climate data. Some examples can be found in the website but there is much more.
TROPOMI is the result of a lot of hard work on a lot of disciplines. One of the more challenging topics is how to characterize and correct for instrument stray light. Therefore, as part of the on-ground calibration campaign, many measurements were done to determine this stray light.
This project aims at studying in particular laser measurements. The aim is to construct stray light kernels that describe as a function of wavelength and field position the stray light seen in all other wavelengths and field positions. Once constructed, these can be used in an algorithm to correct the in-orbit observations. In principle this is sufficient to cover the LEAPS summer period but we would also like to challenge you to develop the outline of a correction algorithm that makes use of the derived kernels.
Searching for observables of planet formation and evolution (ESA Project)
Type of project: planet formation and data analysis
In this project we will search for ways to observe the surface rocks of extra-solar planets. Impacts on, or destructive collisions between planets or planetesimals release large clouds of small (micron sized) particles. These small particles, containing minerals from the planet's surface and the interior, can be observed over astronomical distances using infrared space telescopes. In this project you will analyse large amounts of observed infrared spectra of such extra-solar dust clouds as well as measurements of minerals in the laboratory in search for matches between them. From the different minerals we find in these dust clouds we can start to infer what happened on the surface of these planets (for example processes like vulcanism or mineral alteration by the presence of water).
Large-scale vortices at the Earth's magnetopause during extreme solar events (ESA Project)
Type of project: space science, space weather, data analysis from Cluster spacecraft
The Sun constantly emits a stream of plasma, the solar wind, which flows into the interplanetary space and interacts with all the planets of our solar system. The Earth is shielded from this flow by its magnetosphere, created by its internal magnetic field. Occasionally, violent eruptions eject large amounts of solar particles and magnetic field from the Sun and cause strong disturbances in the Earth's magnetosphere, the so-called geomagnetic storms. The most widely known effects of these geomagnetic storms are the aurorae, but they can also endanger technological systems and human activities in space and on the ground. How energy is transferred from the solar wind to the magnetosphere is one of the outstanding questions in space plasma physics. This is mainly thought to take place through two processes: magnetic reconnection and the Kelvin-Helmholtz instability (KHI). Magnetic reconnection occurs when anti-parallel magnetic fields reconfigure, while the KHI results in the generation of vortices at a boundary between two fluids with different velocities. In this project, we will investigate whether extreme solar events called magnetic clouds, which drive the fiercest geomagnetic storms, affect the development of the KHI. The study will be based on the data collected in the Earth's environment over the past 15 years by ESA's Cluster mission and by other spacecraft.
Links relevant to the project:
Meteoroid properties from meteor spectroscopy (ESA Project)
Type of project: Small bodies of the Solar System (meteoroids, comets, asteroids), Data reduction (meteor spectrum), modelling (spectrum)
Within ESA's Meteor Research Group (MRG), quite a number of visual meteor observations are available. In addition, the group has spectral data from meteor entries from the Leonids campaign 2000, 2001 and the Geminid campaign 2010.
Meteor spectroscopy is a tool for studying the composition of meteoroids and their interaction with the atmosphere. Measurements of volatile materials as well as the different metals in the meteor spectra provides us with clues about the composition of the parent body (comet or asteroid), its nature, and the chemical species brought by interplanetary matter into the Earth's atmosphere.
A set of procedures/tools exists to calibrate the spectral data (video data). One important tool, a special software that allows to identify the main spectral features in a meteor spectrum, measure the spectral line intensities, and compute so-called synthetic spectrum, is not yet available. The main task of the student will be to understand the spectral identification and the adaptation of existing tools or the rewriting of a new procedure to do intensities measurements along the whole path of the meteor. If time permits, the full spectral calibration pipeline shall be demonstrated on a few meteor examples and a proposal done for the full automatization of the spectral calibration pipeline.
On-going star formation leaves a tell-tale imprint in the form of rest-frame ultraviolet (UV) emission emanating from young massive stars. As, on average, star formation takes place within the stellar disks of galaxies, a galaxy's extent in the UV and at longer wavelengths (which trace out older stellar populations) will be similar. A number of physically interesting star formation scenarios, however, are potentially characterized by a mismatch between the UV and optical sizes of the galaxies in question. These include:
i) Star formation in the cooling medium/flow around the central galaxies of galaxy groups and clusters.
ii) Triggered star formation in extended gas disks around isolated galaxies
Although both scenarios hold broader implications for galaxy evolution in general, helping to characterize the state of the intergalactic medium in a critical range of environments (i), and elucidating the physics of the onset of star formation in gas dominated systems (ii), both remain poorly studied and constrained due to a lack of observations.
Wide-field multi-wavelength galaxy surveys including coverage in the UV therefore represent the ideal resource to identify and study these interesting phenomena. This project will make use of the GALEX-GAMA UV survey, performed with the GALEX satellite, in combination with the full multi-wavelength database of the Galaxy And Mass Assembly survey (including characterizations of the galaxies' environment in terms of dark matter halo masses) to identify systems in which the UV and optical sizes of a galaxy are mismatched.Follow-up and characterization, guided by the initial results and focussed according to mutual interest, will then be possible with available spectroscopy, multi-wavelength broadband photometry and high resolution imaging, shedding light on the physical origin of these phenomena.
Please note that the ESA projects are only available for students from ESA member or affiliate states (Austria, Belgium, Czech Republic, Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Ireland, Italy, Luxembourg, The Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, the United Kingdom, and Canada). Students from Cyprus, Estonia, Hungary, Latvia and Slovenia (affilliate members) can also apply for ESA projects.
Previous LEAPS Successes
LEAPS 2015 was a great success! Twenty-two students from four continents spent their summer in Leiden doing astrophysics research.
Joshua Borrow (with supervisor Pedro Russo) published a paper on astro-ph entitled "A Blueprint for Public Engagement Appraisal: Supporting Research Careers."
Lukasz Tychoniec (supervised by John Tobin) presented his research at the Polish Astronomical Society Summit, and his research already contributed to one published paper and he is preparing a paper on the full results.
Tessa Wilkinson (supervised by Anna-Lea Lesage) presented her research at the 2016 American Astronomical Society meeting.
Jeremy Dietrich (supervised by Christian Ginksi) submitted a paper to MNRAS "Archival VLT/NaCo multiplicity investigation of exoplanet host stars".
Maria Vincenzi (supervised by Carlo Manara) presented a poster at the workshop: "The accretion/outflow connection in YSOs" at ESTEC in October and a paper is in preparation.
Hope Boyce (supervised by Nora Lutzgendorf) presented a poster at the Canadian Conference for Undergraduate Women in Physics and a paper is in preparation.
The 2013, and 2014 groups of LEAPS students also performed very well and the first scientific publications are out!
Ryosuke Goto and his advisor Sean McGee published a paper on galaxy formation in the Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society on his LEAPS project; "The stellar mass function and efficiency of galaxy formation with a varying initial mass function". See here.
Steffi Yen and her advisor, Adam Muzzin, presented a poster at the American Astronomical Society (AAS) winter meeting in Washington DC, "Searching for the Most Distant Galaxy Clusters". See here.
Fiona Thiessen and her advisor Sebastien Besse submitted a paper on Lunar surface composition and lava flows (figure below).
Conny Weber worked with Agnes Kospal on infrared variability of young stars in Chamaeleon which featured on a poster at the "The Universe Explored by Herschel" conference in Noordwijk (conference website). See the poster here.
Hannah Harris, a 2014 LEAPS student, and her advisor Pedro Russo published a paper in the Space Policy Journal, "The Influence of Social Movements on Space Astronomy Policy." See here.
Saul Kohn (now a PhD student at UPenn) and his advisor David Sobral published a paper in Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society on his LEAPS project; "The most luminous Halpha emitters at z~0.8-2.23 from HiZELS". See here (link here).
LEAPS student Michael Hammer (from Cornell University) and his adviser Lucie Jilkova studied close stellar flybys that lead some stars to lose parts of their circumstellar discs. Using simulations in the AMUSE framework (www.amusecode.org), they showed that if the two stars approach each other close enough, part of the disc lost from one star can be transferred to the other one. These close encounters can happen shortly after stars form when many stars are clustered together. They further showed that even our Solar System might have experienced such an interaction and stolen some material, which is now orbiting in its outer parts, from another star. Michael presented a poster on the results of his LEAPS project on the 225th AAS meeting. The project eventually resulted to publication in an international refereed journal, which led to several press releases, for example: New Scientist, Scientific American, Universe Today.
Figure of the submitted paper by Fiona Thiessen, students of the LEAPS 2013 class. (a) M3 color composite image of the Imbrium basin (red: IBD1000, green: IBD2000, blue: R750 nm). Numbers indicate the basalt units mapped in this work. Large and spectrally bright craters are mapped separately in grey and were excluded from the basalt units. The surrounding highlands and kipuckas inside the Imbrium basin are also shown in grey. Dark strips correspond to portion of the lunar surface not observed with M3 using OP1B. (b) Eratosthenian basalt flows from Schaber  with flow phases I-III.
ESTEC group picture (joint tour with ASTRON summer school).
The rain could chase us away from LOFAR! (not quite drenched yet in this picture).
The 2013 LEAPS students (and some supervisors) on their visit to the Westerbork Radio telescope in Dwingeloo, the Netherlands.