Welcome

I lead a double life - most of my time is spent as a software developer for the TEMPO atmospheric pollution monitoring mission, under development at the Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics, but I'm also an astrophysicist specialising in X-ray studies of galaxy groups, elliptical galaxies and galaxy clusters. These pages focus on my astrophysics research. From 2009 to 2011 I was a Marie Curie research fellow in the Astrophysics & Space Research (ASR) Group at the University of Birmingham, and I am still working closely with friends there on a variety of projects.

Recent results

X-ray/radio/optical image of the poor cluster AWM 4, showing the jets of the central radio galaxy extending out into the hot, X-ray emitting plasma of the cluster halo.
SDSS optical image of AWM 4.
Mouseover to see X-ray and radio

I've had the good fortune to work on a number of interesting systems, including the poor cluster AWM 4, shown to the left. This is a system of around 50 galaxies dominated by the giant elliptical NGC 6051. Using a combination of GMRT low-frequency radio data and a deep Chandra X-ray observation, we investigated the interaction between the 10 million K gas of the cluster halo (blue in the image) and the hundred thousand light-year long jets of relativistic particles (shown in red) thrown out by the black hole in the core of NGC 6051.

Chandra was able to resolve the small-scale cooling region in the core of NGC 6051 which fuels the black hole, and allowed us to measure the total energy released in the jets, about 1051 J, equivalent to the radiant output of the Milky Way over a million years. We were also able to examine the particle content of the radio lobes, and show that the jets have caused motions in the hot gas, lifting about a million solar masses of Iron out of the galaxy (where it had been deposited by supernovae) and mixing it into the halo. More detail can be found in two papers: the first describes the cool core, the properties of the radio jets and lobes, and the AGN energy output in AWM 4; the second focuses on the uplift of enriched gas by the radio jets.

What's new