Denis Sullivan

Professor - Physics School of Chemical and Physical Sciences

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Research interests

My research interests are focused on a number of areas in stellar astrophysics and astronomy.

A major activity involves the study of compact stars (primarily white dwarfs) using the techniques of asteroseismology, in which the photometrically detected pulsation modes of these stars are used to probe their interior structures and physical processes.

Some of this work is undertaken in collaboration with colleagues at the University of Texas (Austin), and also as part of the Whole Earth Telescope (WET) group. The work involves some instrumentation development.

Another research activity is conducted as part of the NZ/Japan MOA (Microlensing Observations in Astrophysics) collaboration, and it employs transient gravitational microlensing events as astrophysical probes. These events are detected via a photometric survey programme, which uses one of the University of Canterbury 0.6 m telescopes at Mt John (South Island), but in 2005 will use a new Japanese-funded 1.8 m telescope.

A key theme of this particular research is a search for extrasolar planets.