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Title: Robotic spectroscopy with the Liverpool telescope and its applications to be star variability
Author: Barnsley, Robert M.
ISNI:       0000 0004 2734 7610
Awarding Body: Liverpool John Moores University
Current Institution: Liverpool John Moores University
Date of Award: 2012
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The work presented in this thesis provides an account of the assembly, testing (with subsequent empirical characterisation) and instrument software development phases undertaken by the author as part of the commissioning process for the Liverpool Tele- scope's fibre-fed integral field unit spectrograph, FRODOSpec. The software developed comprises a fully autonomous data reduction pipeline that has since been integrated into the processing workftow for all observations taken with FRODOSpec. Along with producing a set of science-ready data products, the pipeline constructs a composite raster image of the reduction products which is made available online for quick preview, allowing users to assess their observation shortly after it's taken place and without needing to perform any time-consuming reduction of their own. Coupled with the robotic nature of the Liverpool Telescope, FRODOSpec and its reduction pipeline provide a unique observational tool, and their conjunct use is particularly well suited for programmes within the field of observational time domain astrophysics where rapid response and analysis is an asset. In addition to the commissioning of FRODOSpec, a study into the variability of a 'sam- ple of 58 Be stars has been conducted. Building upon a dataset first observed with the INT ten years ago, four further epochs of data have been obtained using FRO- DOSpec and reduced using its pipeline. A method to assess the frequency of targets changing between disk emission and non-emission phases using the Ha equivalent width is explained and applied to consecutive epochs, with the resulting timescale for phase changing events predicted to be considerably larger than the current paradigm of several years to decades. The reduced frequency observed fon these events would consequently need to be explained by any theoretical model of disk decretion and dis- sipation in these stars. A corollary to this work also finds that partial variability of Ha emission is more fre- quently observed in stars with earlier spectral subtypes, indicating that the circum- stellar disk in later subtypes may be more stable over the timescales probed in this ) study.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available