Galactic Center

X-ray datasets are information-rich, a fact that has guided my interest in applying cutting edge statistical techniques to modern problems in observational astrophysics. My research on dust scattering requires attention to calibration details and the statistics of X-ray photon counting. 

I apply my Chandra data expertise to study Sgr A*, the supermassive black hole at the center of our Milky Way. The quiescent emission from Sgr A* is surprisingly dim, and is easily outshined by nearby objects. I developed observational techniques to extract and model the low signal-to-noise quiescent spectrum of Sgr A*, made possible by the Chandra Galactic Center X-ray Visionary Project.

Earth’s position near the outskirts of the Milky Way means that the GC is obscured by a particularly large amount of dust and gas.  The dust scattering halos around compact objects in the dense GC environment cause significant blurring, casting a fog over the heart of our Galaxy.  By using X-ray flares from GC compact objects to study the foreground ISM, I seek to measure and correct images of Sgr A* for the effects of dust blurring.

Links to papers:

Interpreting Low-Luminosity Accretion From the Extended Quiescent Emission of Sgr A*

The Chandra High-resolution X-Ray Spectrum of Quiescent Emission from Sgr A*

The Chandra Dust-scattering Halo of Galactic Center Transient Swift J174540.7-290015