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Modern aspects of theoretical- and observational (ground-based and space-borne) astrophysics

Research project P4/05 (Research action P4)

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Description :

Several domains of astrophysics are dealt with in this network composed of teams at ULg, KUL, and ORB/KSB: theoretical cosmology, quasars and gravitational mirages, the chemical evolution of our galaxy, globular clusters, stellar evolution, asteroseismology, massive stars and evolved stars.

The advantage of the partnership is to coordinate research carried out in the three institutes and to exploit certain complementarities in expertise and means.

In the case of gravitational mirages, photometric monitoring of quasars is carried out by the ULg and ORB/KSB teams, notably with the Mercator telescope that the KUL is installing in the Canary Islands, the aim being to derive a more accurate value of the Universe's expansion constant and to study microlensing phenomena. The three teams will carry out also deep imaging of gravitational mirages, using large telescopes available on the ground via ESO (NTT, VLT,...) or other organisations, or in space via ESA (HST). The images are analysed with the help of a new deconvolution program developed in ULg. The ULg and KUL teams use also this program in the context of studying globular clusters, while the ULg and ORB/KSB teams will use it in the framework of their research on populations of massive stars in regions of recent star formation.

The chemical evolution of our galaxy and stellar evolution are two additional topics to be studied by all three partners. The approach is both theoretical (ULg, KUL) and observational (ULg, KUL, ORB/KSB). The research is based on data obtained or to be obtained on the ground, using very high spectral resolution or series of observations over long periods, for example with Mercator, or by means of artificial satellites such as ISO, for which the KUL team has developed appreciable expertise, or XMM in which the ULg team is involved.

The ULg and ORB/KSB teams conduct studies on various phases of massive star evolution, in our galaxy and neighbouring ones, while the ULg and KUL teams are the main investigators of evolutionary phases of evolved stars. In all cases, the work involves multi-wavelength observations from the ground and/or from space and confrontation with theoretical models under development, at ULg in particular.

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