I am a Postdoc in the Astronomy and Astrophysics department at Tel Aviv University and an Honorary Fellow of the University of Warwick. I study the evolution of binary systems, and especially in compact binaries.
I research short-period binary systems from several angles. The first is an attempt to understand the general population of unresolved, short-period binaries. Close binary systems show a range of photometric signatures, including ellipsoidal modulation, Doppler beaming, and reflection. I am currently working to identify a catalogue of short-period binaries showing these signatures using TESS lightcurves. This catalogue will be a resource for studying the populations of close binaries.
Among the systems we find will hopefully be a number of stars with detached black hole and neutron star companions — non-accreting counterparts to X-ray binaries. It is clear that such systems must exist, but only a handful of candidates have so far been found.
I am also interested in AM CVn binaries, a class of accreting, ultracompact binary system that includes the shortest-period binaries known. In 2014 the first fully-eclipsing AM CVn was discovered, Gaia14aae, offering an unprecedented wealth of information on the structure and evolution of these systems. My own papers on this system came out in 2018 and 2019.
Across the last few years, the trend for AM CVn binaries seems to be that the donors are hotter and higher mass than predicted by models. This has evolutionary implications — it seems to suggest that the predicted white dwarf donor systems are not seen, perhaps because they do not survive.
First Author Publications:
- “Spectroscopic and Photometric Periods of Six Ultracompact Accreting Binaries” — MNRAS (2020), 496, 1243
- “Phase-Resolved Spectroscopy of Gaia14aae: Line Emission From Near the White Dwarf Surface” — MNRAS (2019), 485, 1947
- “A 15.7-Minute AM CVn Binary Discovered in K2” — MNRAS (2018), 477, 5646
- “High-Speed Photometry of Gaia14aae: An Eclipsing AM CVn That Challenges Formation Models” — MNRAS (2018), 476, 1663
For a full list of co-authored publications see my Google Scholar page.
I volunteer for the department’s planetarium, which is used on visits to local schools. I have been a regular writer for Astrobites, who summarise astro-ph papers aimed at an undergraduate level.
In my spare time I enjoy creative writing. For some samples of things I have written, check out the ‘Writing’ tab above!