Student Profile: Cleo Loi
What was my project about?
In February of 2011, NASA's Swift X-Ray Telescope found a previously undetected supernova remnant (SNR), since named G306.3-0.9 after its sky coordinates. Following NASA's report of the discovery, infrared (IR) and radio-wavelength images of G306.3-0.9 that had previously been overlooked were uncovered in existing archives. My project involved first obtaining higher-resolution radio images of G306.3-0.9 using the Australia Telescope Compact Array (ATCA) in Narrabri, where I was posted for several days in March of 2012. I then performed a multi-wavelength analysis of G306.3-0.9, incorporating data from radio, IR, optical and X-ray images, Galactic dust extinction maps, pulsar archives and radio spectral line surveys in order to constrain its age, distance and other properties. Some programming was required to manipulate the raw data, but most of the project involved acquiring a broad understanding of SNR physics in order to synthesize a coherent picture of the newly-discovered object from disparate pieces of evidence.
What I enjoyed about research.
Research is a fusion of logic, creativity, resourcefulness, common sense, diligence and intuition applied to problem solving. I enjoy it because of the intellectual autonomy it allows me to exercise and the escape it provides me from more constrictive pursuits such as coursework. From my point of view as an undergraduate, it has given me an invaluable opportunity to hone a wide range of skills, from technical skills such as numerical analysis and programming to written, verbal and graphical communication skills, to an extent far beyond that achievable along a coursework-only path.
Publications and Media Articles
G306.3-09: A newly discovered young galactic supernova remnant. The Astrophysical Journal Volume 766 Number 2 (15 Mar 2013)
NASA press release (15 Mar 2013)
Sydney University Faculty of Science news (28 Mar 2013)
Sunday Telegraph article (23 Jun 2013)
Women's Agenda article (13 Aug 2013)