Rob Beswick's Research


My current research interests encompass studies of active galaxies in general, with an emphasis upon the study of the interstellar medium in the centres of these sources at radio and millimetre wavelengths. Although cold gas studies, primarily at high angular resolution exploiting absorption and maser studies, have provided the mainstay of my research, they have been complemented by observational research projects investigating the multi-frequency radio continuum and some optical studies of all types of active galaxies.

Please also see group research pages which show a broader view of some of the work I'm involved in at Active Galaxies Research, Radio Deep Fields, SNe Research, Starbursts & star-formation and Radio & mm-wave Spectral Line Research.

Or see my recent publications here or via ADS.

Of course, this is not all that I'm interested in - just a taster!! If there was more time I would do much, much more....

Also with more time I might even manage to update these pages!!!!!!

1. Neutral gas studies

1.1 High angular resolution absorption & maser studies

A large proportion of my current and previous research has exploited sub-arcsecond angular resolution radio interferometry observations of neutral hydrogen absorption using VLBI and MERLIN (Beswick et al., 2001, 2002a, 2002b, 2003, 2004a) . These works have been complemented by lower resolution H1 absorption and emission studies, undertaken using instruments such as the VLA, WSRT and the GMRT (e.g. Beswick et al, 2002b).

In addition to these studies of neutral hydrogen, my research has involved the high resolution studies of other decimetre absorption lines, such as OH and H_2CO, ( e.g. NGC520, Beswick et al 2003; NGC3079, Strong et al. in prep (papers 1 & 2)) providing milliarcsecond tracers of the cold and dense molecular gas. I currently heavily involved in extending the sample of galaxies studied via radio frequency molecular absorption to include many more starburst galaxies. This extension is epitomised by our ongoing studies of both OH maser emission and OH absorption in the archetypal starburst galaxy M82.

For example, see these movies of H1 and OH absorption in M82.

1.2 Molecular gas

Although I am currently heavily involved in both high resolution neutral hydrogen and molecular studies of active galaxies, I am also playing a key role in the surveying the global gas properties of active galaxies, via in particular CO. One project that is currently be undertaken is to use single dish observations (using SEST & OSO 12-m) to establish the CO properties of the 12micron sample of Seyfert galaxies (Strong et al. 2004).

2. Radio continuum studies & optical comparisons to radio data

Complementing these studies of the neutral gas in all type of active galaxies it is vital to also use observations to study the consequences of the activity, (e.g. the jets and starformation). To this purpose I am in the process of leading several projects to observe the radio continuum and optical emission of AGN dominated active galaxies, such as the radio galaxies (e.g. 3C293 - Beswick et al 2002, 2004a; 3C305, Jackson et al. 2003) or the binary AGN in NGC6240 Beswick et al 2001; Gallimore & Beswick 2000, 2004). Whereas with regards to starburst dominated galaxies I am involved in several observational projects to detect, observe & monitor radio supernovae and radio supernovae remnants in galaxies, also see below (e.g. McDonald et al 2002, Argo et al 2004, Beswick et al 2004b).

3. Radio monitoring of Starburst galaxies and Searches for new radio supernovae

We (Alan Pedlar, Tom Muxlow, Megan Argo, Karen Wills and myself) are currently using the VLA and MERLIN to image 10 nearby starburst galaxies 3 times per year for the next ~5 years. The objective is to detect new radio supernovae and radio supernova remnants, as well as monitoring the luminosity of existing components. It is particularly important to monitor M82 as no new supernova remnants have been seen for 20 years despite an estimated supernova rate of 0.1 per year. The project enables us to investigate methods of measuring star - formation rates in starbursts as well as studying the behaviour of radio supernovae in high pressure enviroments.

The first year of this project has already produced numerous results.

More details of this project are available here

3. Radio deep fields (inc. the Hubble Deep Field North)

Currently much of my research time is spent using extremely deep radio observations to study high redshift galaxies. This work is being undertaken in collaboration with Tom Muxlow, Hannah Thrall and Anita Richards (plus many other collaborators). Much of this work is directly exploiting the MERLIN/VLA deep field observations of the HDFN (Muxlow et al 2005) and using comparing the these observations with those made at other wavelengths such as by the GOODS legacy project.

More information will be added here soon.

Addtional information and Services

In addition I have edited the Active Galaxies Newsletter since October 2000. The newsletter is used to notify others in the field of recently accepted papers, conference proceedings and dissertations, and also contains announcements of jobs and conferences. It is produced monthly and sent via email to over 600 subscribers. Click here to link to the Active Galaxies Newsletter website.

As well as these roles I am also involved within the European Square Kilometre Array project and maintain the UK's SKA related webpages.

Refereeing publications for astronomical and science journals (eg. Science, MNRAS, A&A, AJ etc).

Peer reviewing observing propsals.

Member of the MERLIN Time Allocation Group

Member of the RadioNet Synergy group

List of Publications. Or Search for me on ADS
Links to some example stuff:

Neutral Gas and Dust in the Radio galaxy 3C 293
Neutral Gas and Dust in the Radio galaxy 3C 293: On milliarsecond Scales
Broad HI absorption in the prototypical Luminous Infrared merger NGC 6240
HI absorption in Seyferts

Last changed but not updated properly February 2005 (RJB)