Studying the Physics of Extreme Accretion onto Compact Objects

Lead Research Organisation: University of Cambridge
Department Name: Institute of Astronomy


During the first two years I will search for winds from Ultraluminous X-ray objects (ULX) in the brightest XMM-Newton mission ULX gratings archive and the newly awarded observations, publish the wind detections and test the theoretical scenarios predicted for ULXs. I will make use of novel techniques in high resolution X-ray spectroscopy. The analysis of the spectral shape and variability of ULXs will also enable the search for intermediate mass black hole candidates.
Following this I will compare the ULX wind energetics with the luminosities of optical nebulae powered by ULXs and the local star formation to constrain ULX feedback. I will also compare theoretical models of super-Eddington accretion with physical characteristics of ultrafast winds (UFOs) in Active Galactic Nuclei (AGN) and ULXs to understand the different launching mechanisms in both AGN and ULXs and their accretion rates.
Simultaneously, I will study supermassive black holes in AGN using various X-ray, optical and infrared observatories to determine the Physics of their variability and obscuration and broaden my knowledge of extreme accretion.
Additionally, I am going to submit proposals to the XMM-Newton, Chandra and NuSTAR X-ray missions and prepare science cases for the new ASTRO-H2 mission (2020), replacing the powerful though brief Hitomi satellite, to observe the highly-energetic Fe K AGN and ULX UFOs with unprecedented resolution and prepare science cases for the very large European and STFC-funded ATHENA mission.


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Kosec P (2018) Evidence for a variable Ultrafast Outflow in the newly discovered Ultraluminous Pulsar NGC 300 ULX-1 in Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society

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Kosec P (2017) Investigating the Evolution of the Dual AGN System ESO 509-IG066 in The Astrophysical Journal

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Kosec P (2018) Searching for outflows in ultraluminous X-ray sources through high-resolution X-ray spectroscopy in Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society

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Kosec P (2018) A stratified ultrafast outflow in 1H0707-495? in Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society

Studentship Projects

Project Reference Relationship Related To Start End Student Name
ST/N503988/1 01/10/2015 30/09/2020
1786890 Studentship ST/N503988/1 01/10/2016 31/03/2020 Peter Kosec