Professor Vik Dhillon

Department of Physics and Astronomy

Professor of Astrophysics

Professor Vik Dhillon
vik.dhillon@sheffield.ac.uk
+44 114 22 24528

Full contact details

Professor Vik Dhillon
Department of Physics and Astronomy
E34
Hicks Building
Hounsfield Road
Sheffield
S3 7RH
Profile

I am a Professor of Astrophysics in the Department of Physics and Astronomy at the University of Sheffield, and an Affiliated Researcher at the Instituto de Astrofísica de Canarias (IAC) on Tenerife.

Prior to moving to Sheffield in 1998, I worked at the Royal Greenwich Observatory, first at Herstmonceux/Sussex, then on La Palma, and finally in Cambridge.

I was awarded the Royal Astronomical Society Jackson-Gwilt Medal in 2013. From 2014-2019, I was an ERC Advanced Grant holder.

My primary research interests are in the field of close binary stars, in which at least one stellar component is a white dwarf, neutron star or black hole.

This work has led me and my collaborators to develop a series of high-speed cameras, ULTRACAM, ULTRASPEC and HiPERCAM, as well as a robotic telescope on La Palma, pt5m.

I am also interested in observing gravitational-wave sources in the Universe discovered by the LIGO Scientific Collaboration, most likely emitted by close binary stars.

My effort in this area is currently focused on the construction of GOTO, a wide-field survey telescope on La Palma that will search for electromagnetic counterparts to gravitational-wave transients.

Career history

  • Postdoctoral Research Fellow (1990-1992, University of Sussex)
  • Staff Astronomer (1992-1996, Royal Greenwich Observatory, La Palma)
  • Staff Astronomer (1996-1998, Royal Greenwich Observatory, Cambridge)
  • Lecturer/Senior Lecturer/Reader (1998-2007, University of Sheffield)
  • Professor of Astrophysics (2007-present, University of Sheffield)
Qualifications
  • Physics with Astronomy BSc (1984-1987, University of Sussex)
  • Observational Astrophysics DPhil (1987-1990, University of Sussex/Royal Greenwich Observatory, Herstmonceux)
  • Awarded the Jackson-Gwilt Medal in 2013 by the Royal Astronomical Society.
  • Awarded an Advanced Grant in 2014 by the European Research Council.
  • Awarded Affiliated Researcher status at the Instituto de Astrofisica de Canarias.
Research interests

My primary research interests are in the field of close binary stars, in which at least one stellar component is a white dwarf, neutron star or black hole.

This work has led me and my collaborators to develop a series of high-speed cameras, ULTRACAM, ULTRASPEC and HiPERCAM, as well as a robotic telescope on La Palma, pt5m.

I am also interested in observing gravitational-wave sources in the Universe discovered by the LIGO Scientific Collaboration, most likely emitted by close binary stars.

My effort in this area is currently focused on the construction of GOTO, a wide-field survey telescope on La Palma that will search for electromagnetic counterparts to gravitational-wave transients.

Publications

Show: Featured publications All publications

Journal articles

All publications

Journal articles

Chapters

Conference proceedings papers

  • de Ugarte Postigo A, Thöne CC, Muñoz-Darias T, Labiano Á, Gil de Paz A, García Vargas ML, Dhillon VS, Izzo L, Kann A, Pérez A , Piqueras López J et al (2020) GATOS: A fast multi-channel imager and spectrograph for the Gran Telescopio Canarias. Ground-based and Airborne Instrumentation for Astronomy VIII, 14 December 2020 - 18 December 2020. RIS download Bibtex download
  • Sappankum P, Komonjinda S, Awiphan S, Rattanamala R, Dhillon VS, Marsh TR & Suphapolthaworn S (2019) Circumbinary planet study around NSVS 14256825. Journal of Physics: Conference Series, Vol. 1380. Songkhla, Thailand, 6 June 2019 - 7 June 2019. View this article in WRRO RIS download Bibtex download
  • Thongpoyai K, Luangtip W, Sawangwit U, Roberts TP, Komonjinda S, Dhillon VS & Marsh TR (2019) Thai national telescope studies of ultraluminous X-ray sources. Journal of Physics: Conference Series, Vol. 1380. Songkhla, Thailand, 6 June 2019 - 7 June 2019. View this article in WRRO RIS download Bibtex download
  • Bezawada N, Gao X, Henry D, Black M, Miller C, Lunney D, Dhillon V, Littlefair S, Kerry P, Gamble T , Dixon S et al (2018) Configuration of readout electronics and data acquisition for the HiPERCAM instrument. Proceedings of SPIE, Vol. 10709, 10 June 2018 - 15 June 2018. View this article in WRRO RIS download Bibtex download
  • Dhillon V, Dixon S, Gamble T, Kerry P, Littlefair S, Parsons S, Marsh T, Bezawada N, Black M, Gao X , Henry D et al (2018) First light with HiPERCAM on the GTC. Proceedings of SPIE, Vol. 10702, 10 June 2018 - 15 June 2018. View this article in WRRO RIS download Bibtex download
  • Green MJ, Marsh TR, Steeghs DTH, Breedt E, Campbell HC, Dhillon VS, Hardy LK & Littlefair SP (2017) Gaia14aae: the first fully-eclipsing AM CVn. 20th European Workshop on White Dwarfs (EuroWD16), Vol. 509 (pp 567-570), 25 July 2016 - 29 July 2016. View this article in WRRO RIS download Bibtex download
  • Gaensicke B, Tremblay P-E, Barstow M, Bono G, Burleigh M, Casewell S, Dhillon V, Farihi J, Garcia-Berro E, Geier S , Gentile-Fusillo N et al (2016) Stellar Archaeology with Gaia: The Galactic White Dwarf Population. MULTI-OBJECT SPECTROSCOPY IN THE NEXT DECADE: BIG QUESTIONS, LARGE SURVEYS, AND WIDE FIELDS, Vol. 507 (pp 159-164) RIS download Bibtex download
  • Bours MCP, Marsh TR, Parsons SG, Copperwheat CM, Dhillon VS, Littlefair SP, Gaensicke BT, Gianninas A & Tremblay P-E (2015) A Detailed Study of CSS 41177: an Eclipsing Double White Dwarf. 19TH EUROPEAN WORKSHOP ON WHITE DWARFS, Vol. 493 (pp 313-318) RIS download Bibtex download
  • Buisset C, Prasit A, Leckngam A, Lépine T, Poshyajinda S, Soonthornthum B, Irawati P, Richichi A, Sawangwit U, Dhillon V & Hardy LK (2015) Progress on the prevention of stray light and diffraction effects on the Thai National Telescope. Optical Systems Design 2015: Optical Design and Engineering VI RIS download Bibtex download
  • Föhring D, Wilson R, Osborn J & Dhillon V (2015) Scintillation Noise in Exoplanet Transit Photometry. Journal of Physics: Conference Series, Vol. 595 (pp 012010-012010) RIS download Bibtex download
  • Kupfer T, Geier S, McLeod AF, Groot PJ, Verbeek K, Schaffenroth V, Heber U, Heuser C, Ziegerer E, Ostensen R , Nemeth P et al (2014) Finding Compact Hot Subdwarf Binaries in the Galactic Disc. 6TH CONFERENCE ON HOT SUBDWARF STARS AND RELATED OBJECTS, Vol. 481 (pp 293-300) View this article in WRRO RIS download Bibtex download
  • Osborn J, Wilson RW, Butterley T, Avila R, Dhillon VS, Morris TJ & Shepherd HW (2013) Stereo SCIDAR: Profiling atmospheric optical turbulence with improved altitude resolution. 3rd AO4ELT Conference - Adaptive Optics for Extremely Large Telescopes RIS download Bibtex download
  • Shahbaz T, Russell DM, Zurita C, Casares J, Corral-Santana JM, Dhillon VS & Marsh TR (2013) Evidence for quiescent synchrotron emission in the black hole X-ray transient Swift J1357.2-0933. EPJ Web of Conferences, Vol. 61 RIS download Bibtex download
  • Randall SK, Fontaine G, Brassard P, Silvotti R, Van Grootel V, Charpinet S, Dhillon VS & Marsh TR (2012) Pulsational Mode Identification Based on Chromatic Amplitude Behaviour: Recent Results for Rapidly Oscillating Subdwarf B Stars. PROGRESS IN SOLAR/STELLAR PHYSICS WITH HELIO- AND ASTEROSEISMOLOGY, Vol. 462 (pp 232-+) RIS download Bibtex download
  • Kowalski AF, Mathioudakis M, Hawley SL, Hilton EJ, Dhillon VS, Marsh TR & Copperwheat CM (2012) White Light Flare Continuum Observations with ULTRACAM. 16TH CAMBRIDGE WORKSHOP ON COOL STARS, STELLAR SYSTEMS AND THE SUN, Vol. 448 (pp E1157-E1164) View this article in WRRO RIS download Bibtex download
  • Scogna J, Olkowski J, Fatema N, Parameswaran P & Dhillon V (2011) Biologically inspired robotic microswimmers. 2011 IEEE 37th Annual Northeast Bioengineering Conference (NEBEC), 1 April 2011 - 3 April 2011. RIS download Bibtex download
  • Hessman FV, Beuermann K, Dreizler S, Marsh TR, Parsons SG, Copperwheat CM, Winget DE, Miller GF, Hermes JJ, Schreiber MR , Kley W et al (2011) The Planets around the post-Common Envelope Binary NN Serpentis. PLANETARY SYSTEMS BEYOND THE MAIN SEQUENCE: Proceedings of the International Conference RIS download Bibtex download
  • Copperwheat C, Marsh T, Littlefair S, Dhillon V, Ramsay G, Drake A, Gaensicke B, Groot P, Hakala P, Koester D , Nelemans G et al (2011) ULTRACAM observations of SDSS J0926+3624: The first known eclipsing AM CVn star. Proceedings of High Time Resolution Astrophysics (HTRA) IV - The Era of Extremely Large Telescopes — PoS(HTRA-IV), 5 May 2010. RIS download Bibtex download
  • Copperwheat C, Marsh T, Dhillon V, Littlefair S, Hickman R, Gaensicke B & Southworth J (2011) Physical properties of IP Pegasi: an eclipsing dwarf nova with an unusually cool white dwarf. Proceedings of High Time Resolution Astrophysics (HTRA) IV - The Era of Extremely Large Telescopes — PoS(HTRA-IV), 5 May 2010. RIS download Bibtex download
  • Muñoz-Darias T, Martínez-Pais IG, Casares J, O'brien K, Cornelisse R, Dhillon VS, Marsh TR, Steeghs D, Charles PA & Still M (2010) Mapping LMXBs with reprocessed X-ray bursts. Proceedings of Science, Vol. 108 RIS download Bibtex download
  • Shearer A, Kanbach G, Słowikowska A, Barbieri C, Marsh T, Dhillon V, Mignani R, Dravins D, Gouiffés C, Mackay C , Bonanno G et al (2010) High Time Resolution Astrophysics in the Extremely Large Telescope Era : White Paper. Proceedings of Science, Vol. 108 RIS download Bibtex download
  • Dreizler S, Beuermann K, Hessman FV, Marsh TR, Parsons SG, Dhillon VS, Schreiber MR, Kley W, Miller GF, Werner K & Rauch T (2010) Evidence for planets orbiting the post-common envelope binary NN Serpentis. 17TH EUROPEAN WHITE DWARF WORKSHOP RIS download Bibtex download
  • Pereira C, Jeffery CS, Fontaine G, Charpinet S, Aerts C, Ahmad A, Connolly E, Vuckovic M, Dhillon VS & Marsh TR (2008) Multisite multicolour photometric observations of the nonradially pulsating SdB star Balloon 090100001: A white light frequency analysis. HOT SUBDWARF STARS AND RELATED OBJECTS, Vol. 392 (pp 293-+) RIS download Bibtex download
  • Munoz-Darias T, Martinez-Pais IG, Casares J, Cornelisse R, Dhillon VS, Marsh TR, Steeghs D, O'Brien K, Charles PA & Still M (2008) Bowen blend echo-tomography of Sco X-1 and V801 Ara. POPULATION EXPLOSION: THE NATURE AND EVOLUTION OF X-RAY BINARIES IN DIVERSE ENVIRONMENTS, Vol. 1010 (pp 207-+) RIS download Bibtex download
  • Vogel J, Schwope A, Schwarz R, Kanbach G, Dhillon VS & Marsh TR (2008) On the orbital period of the magnetic cataclysmic variable HU Aquarii. UNIVERSE AT SUB-SECOND TIMESCALES: HIGH TIME RESOLUTION ASTROPHYSICS, Vol. 984 (pp 264-267) RIS download Bibtex download
  • Copperwheat CA, Marsh TR, Dhillon VS, Littlefair S, Woudt P & Gaensicke B (2008) ULTRACAM observations of two CV pulsators. HYDROGEN-DEFICIENT STARS, Vol. 391 (pp 289-+) RIS download Bibtex download
  • Munoz-Darias T, Martinez-Pais IG, Casares J, Cornelisse R, Dhillon VS, Marsh TR, Steeghs D, O'Brien K, Charles PA & Still M (2008) Bowen blend echo-tomography of low mass X-ray binaries. UNIVERSE AT SUB-SECOND TIMESCALES: HIGH TIME RESOLUTION ASTROPHYSICS, Vol. 984 (pp 15-22) RIS download Bibtex download
  • Littlefair SP, Dhillon VS, Marsh TR, Gansicke BT & Copperwheat C (2008) On the evolutionary status of short period cataclysmic variables. UNIVERSE AT SUB-SECOND TIMESCALES: HIGH TIME RESOLUTION ASTROPHYSICS, Vol. 984 (pp 23-31) RIS download Bibtex download
  • Dhillon VS, Marsh TR, Copperwheat C, Bezawada N, Ives D, Vick A & O'Brien K (2008) ULTRASPEC: High-speed spectroscopy with zero readout noise. UNIVERSE AT SUB-SECOND TIMESCALES: HIGH TIME RESOLUTION ASTROPHYSICS, Vol. 984 (pp 132-139) RIS download Bibtex download
  • Dhillon VS (2008) ULTRACAM: An ultra-fast, triple-beam CCD camera for high-speed astrophysics. HIGH TIME RESOLUTION ASTROPHYSICS, Vol. 351 (pp 133-152) RIS download Bibtex download
  • Silvotti R, Fontaine G, Pavlov M, Marsh TR, Dhillon VS & Littlefair SP (2007) Search for p-mode pulsations in DA white dwarfs with VLT-ULTRACAM. 15TH EUROPEAN WORKSHOP ON WHITE DWARFS, PROCEEDINGS, Vol. 372 (pp 593-+) RIS download Bibtex download
  • Marsh TR, Dhillon VS, Littlefair S, Groot P, Hakala P, Nelemans G, Ramsay G, Roelofs GHA & Steeghs D (2007) SDSS J0926+3624, the first eclipsing AM CVn star, as seen with ULTRACAM. 15TH EUROPEAN WORKSHOP ON WHITE DWARFS, PROCEEDINGS, Vol. 372 (pp 431-+) View this article in WRRO RIS download Bibtex download
  • Burleigh MR, Marsh TR, Gansicke BT, Goad MR, Dhillon VS, Littlefair SP, Wells M, Dobbie PD, Farihi J, Bannister NP , Casewell SL et al (2007) The nature of the close magnetic white dwarf plus probable brown dwarf SDSS J121209.31+013627.7. 15TH EUROPEAN WORKSHOP ON WHITE DWARFS, PROCEEDINGS, Vol. 372 (pp 477-482) RIS download Bibtex download
  • Barros SCC, Marsh TR, Dhillon VS, Groot PJ, Littlefair S, Nelemans G, Roelofs G, Steeghs D & Wheatley PJ (2007) Photometry of V407 Vul and RXJ0806.3+1527: Twin systems ?. MULTICOLORED LANDSCAPE OF COMPACT OBJECTS AND THEIR EXPLOSIVE ORIGINS, Vol. 924 (pp 873-876) RIS download Bibtex download
  • Van Den Besselaar EJM, Greimel R, Morales-Rueda L, Nelemans G, Thorstensen JR, Marsh TR, Dhillon VS, Robb RM, Balam DD, Guenther EW , Kemp J et al (2006) DE CVn: A bright, eclipsing red dwarf - White dwarf binary. Proceedings of the International Astronomical Union, Vol. 2(S240) (pp 105-108) RIS download Bibtex download
  • Schwarz R, Schwope AD, Dhillon VS & Marsh TR (2006) XMM monitoring of the eclipsing polar HU aquarii. Proceedings of the X-ray Universe 2005, Vols 1 and 2, Vol. 604 (pp 295-296) RIS download Bibtex download
  • Marsh TR & Dhillon VS (2006) The high-speed camera ULTRACAM. Recent Advances in Astronomy and Astrophysics, Vol. 848 (pp 808-809) RIS download Bibtex download
  • Jeffery CS, Aerts C, Dhillon VS & Marsh TR (2006) Ultracam photometry of pulsating subdwarf B stars. BALTIC ASTRONOMY, Vol. 15(2) (pp 259-268) RIS download Bibtex download
  • Aerts C, Jeffery CS, Dhillon VS, Marsh TR & Groot P (2006) High-speed ultracam colorimetry of the subdwarf B star SDSS J171722.08+58055.8. BALTIC ASTRONOMY, Vol. 15(2) (pp 275-278) RIS download Bibtex download
  • Mathioudakis M, Bloomfield DS, Dhillon VS & Marsh TR (2005) Intensity oscillations during a flare on EQ PEG. Proceedings of the 13th Cambridge Workshop on Cool Stars, Stellar Systems and the Sun - Proceedings, Vols 1 and 2, Vol. 560 (pp 803-805) RIS download Bibtex download
  • Casares J, Munoz-Darias T, Martinez-Pais IG, Cornelisse R, Charles PA, Marsh TR, Dhillon VS & Steeghs D (2005) Echo tomography of Sco X-1 using Bowen fluorescence lines. Interacting Binaries: Accretion, Evolution, and Outcomes, Vol. 797 (pp 365-370) RIS download Bibtex download
  • Watson CA & Dhillon VS (2004) Roche tomography of the secondary stars in CVs. ASTRONOMISCHE NACHRICHTEN, Vol. 325(3) (pp 189-192) RIS download Bibtex download
  • Dhillon V, Marsh T & Team ULTRACAM (2002) ULTRACAM - an ultra-fast, triple-beam CCD camera. The Physics of Cataclysmic Variables and Related Objects, Vol. 261 (pp 672-673), 5 August 2001 - 10 August 2001. View this article in WRRO RIS download Bibtex download
  • Beard S, Vick A, Atkinson D, Dhillon V, Marsh T, McLay S, Stevenson M & Tierney C (2002) The ultracam camera control and data acquisition system. Proceedings of SPIE - The International Society for Optical Engineering, Vol. 4848 (pp 218-229) RIS download Bibtex download
  • Dhillon V & Marsh T (2001) ULTRACAM - studying astrophysics on the fastest timescales. NEW ASTRONOMY REVIEWS, Vol. 45(1-2) (pp 91-95) RIS download Bibtex download
  • Harlaftis E, Dhillon VS & Castro-Tirado AJ (2001) UKIRT IR spectra of the microquasar GRS 1915+105. ASTROPHYSICS AND SPACE SCIENCE, Vol. 276 (pp 35-38) RIS download Bibtex download
Grants
  • Consolidated Grant for Sheffield Astrophysics, STFC, £1.3M (2021-2024, PI)
  • European Research Council (ERC) Advanced Grant, 3.5Meuros (2014-2019, PI)
  • Consolidated Grant for Sheffield Astrophysics, STFC, £1.2M (2015-2018, CoI)
  • Consolidated Grant for Sheffield Astrophysics, STFC, £613K (2012-2015, CoI)
Teaching interests
  • PHY320: Nuclear Astrophysics
  • PHY326: Dark Matter and the Universe
Teaching activities

Undergraduate taught courses (recent)

  • PHY105 Observing the Night Sky (1998-2010)
  • PHY213 Stellar Structure and Evolution (1998-2014)
  • PHY217 Astronomical Techniques (2010-2014)

Projects/Field Trips/Year Abroad schemes

  • PHY319 Astronomy project (Field trip to La Palma)
  • NUL301 Industrial Experience (Year abroad on La Palma)
Professional activities
  • Head of the Astrophysics Research Group, University of Sheffield.
  • Past member of the STFC Astronomy Grants Panel (AGP), Projects Peer Review Panel (PPRP), Fellowships Panel, and the Panel for the Allocation of Telescope Time (PATT).
  • Past (ad-hoc) member of the STFC Particle Physics, Astronomy and Nuclear Physics Science Committee (PPAN).
  • Past member of the European Southern Observatory's (ESO) Observing Pro-grammes Committee (OPC).
  • Past member of the Instrumentation Working Group (IWG) of the Isaac Newton Group of telescopes (ING).
  • Past member of the Royal Astronomical Society Committee on Diversity in Astronomy and Geophysics (CDAG).
  • Member of the European Extremely Large Telescope (E-ELT) UK Steering Commit-tee.
  • Principal Investigator of ULTRACAM, ULTRASPEC and HiPERCAM.
  • Fellow of the Institute of Physics.
  • Chartered Physicist.
  • Fellow of the Royal Astronomical Society.
  • Member of the International Astronomical Union.
  • Member of the Steering Committee for the WEAVE Spectrograph on the William Herschel Telescope
  • Member of the Science Advisory Committee for the Isaac Newton Group of Telescopes
  • Chair of the Executive Board of GOTO (the Gravitational-wave Optical Transient Observer)

Public engagement

  • Deep Sky Videos: Contributor from Sheffield to YouTube channel – www.deepskyvideos.com
  • I also provide astronomy talks to local schools and amateur societies.