Personal Information

Sarah Pearson
Hubble Postdoctoral Fellow
PhD Astronomy, Columbia University, 2018
M.A. Astronomy, Columbia University, 2015
B.S. Physics, University of Copenhagen, 2012
Contact Information
Email:spearson AT
Personal Home Page:
CCPP Advisor:David Hogg

Sarah is NASA Hubble Fellow who uses numerical simulations, analytic theory, and comparisons to observations to study galactic dynamics. She is particularly interested in how to use stellar streams in galaxies beyond the Milky Way to learn about the nature of dark matter.

Stellar streams are beautiful, mathematically simple structures that carry gravitational secrets from the past. Stellar streams form when a dwarf galaxy or a cluster of stars is torn apart due to gravity from a larger galaxy, leaving behind a swath of thousands of stars that exhibit coherent, ordered motion. These streams take the form of thin structures that wrap around entire galaxies. Stellar streams reveal parts of galaxies that are otherwise difficult to investigate: their halos, where most galactic dark matter resides. Several stellar streams have been observed in other galaxies, but very few have been used for dark matter research, despite their unique ability to map, otherwise invisible, dark matter. Sarah's research is changing that.

Selected Publications:

Pearson et al. 2022b, Mapping Dark Matter with Extragalactic Stellar Streams: the Case of the Dwarf 3 Stream in the Stellar Halo of Centaurus A, ApJ, 941, 19, 17, arXiv: 2205.12277

Pearson et al. 2022a, The Hough Stream Spotter: A new method for detecting linear structure in resolved stars and application to the stellar halo of M31, ApJ, 926, 166, arXiv: 2107.00017

Pearson et al. 2017, "Gaps and length asymmetry in the stellar stream Palomar 5 as effects of Galactic bar rotation", Nature Astronomy, V. 1, p. 633, arXiv: 1703.04627