Multiwavelength Accretion and Transients
Southampton Group

Our group carries out frontline research on observational astrophyics. In particular, we study black holes across the electromagnetic spectrum, the formation and growth. For this, we use frontline photometric and astrometric surveys to find new and hidden black holes, and study how they are growing. We also focus on rapid time-domain studies at multiple wavelengths, including sub-second transients and variables in the night sky.

December, 2020

Come join our team as a postdoc working on the frontline of searching for and characterising black hole binaries in the Milky Way. We have a 2+1 year postdoc position open (advert will go live in early 2021 Jan, deadline Feb 12). If you have an interest in black hole formation mechanisms and familiarity with Gaia/Chandra/other large surveys, we would love to hear from you.

Group News

  • Dec 2020: Claire Greenwell wins a prestigious ESO Studentship to work on 4MOST and AGN science at Munich for one year!
  • Dec 2020: Peter Boorman wins Springer Thesis accolade! Buy it here.
  • Sep 2020: Gaia Paper IV on orbital wobble searches for Galactic black hole binaries submited:
    Using astrometric excess noise, we select a sample of candidate accreting X-ray binaries, in a bid to enhance searches for these systems.
  • May 2020: Ady Annuary has her third paper published on searches for some of our nearest-neighbour growing monster supermassive black holes.
  • May 2020: Gaia Paper III on Cyg X-1 and its parent cluster published.
  • May 2020: Gaia Paper II on Galactic height vs. orbital period published:
    Using Gaia data along with other distance estimates and system characteristics, we find an interesting correlation connecting system location in the Galaxy and the orbital period of the binary, a possible manifestation of specific formation pathways.
  • Mar 2020: John Paice wins a STAG prize for best publication in Astrophysics!
  • Mar 2020: Our LASr project's big new paper is out. Paving the way to a complete census of AGN in the local universe. Project was conceived as an eROSITA external collaborator contribution and we are grateful to the eROSITA team for discussions.
  • Feb 2020: Michael Johnson is a Dr.!
  • Oct 2019: OPTICAM's core instrument paper is published, thanks to Angel Castro's hardwork. We look forward to many fruitful years of data ahead.
  • Oct 2019: John Paice has a press release accompanying his Letter. Check out the animation he made melding real data with artistic vision.
  • Sep 2019: Nature paper on dicovery of amazing heartbeat-like variability in an AGN! Work led by Giovanni Miniutti. I could not help but be reminded of the iconic beats from Contact.
  • July 2019: Thanks to all XCalibur2019 participants for an excellent conference.
  • July 2019: Peter Boorman is a Dr.!
  • May 2019: Gaia Paper I on astrometry of black hole X-ray binaries published:
    ESA's Gaia satellite released a treasure trove of stellar astrometric data in April 2018. Our group was eagerly awaiting this, and we rapidly analysed and published a work on the distances and space velocities of Galactic black hole binaries. At least one immediate and huge surprise in there.
  • Mar 2019: Johnson et al. publish prospects on using LSST for X-ray binary studies, as a contribution resulting from our LSST:UK affiliation.
  • Mar 2019: SITARE GCRF first phase complete.
    Our Global Challenge Research Fund project SITARE, funded by the STFC, just completed its first phase. With workshops across India/Nepal culminating in a UK camp, Masters' students were trained in quality education and carried out research/outreach projects. We are fostering future research stars ('sitare')!