Dr. Sarah Pearson

Astrophysicist, Science Communicator & Public Speaker

Numerical tools & codes

The Hough Stream Spotter (HSS) code was released in Pearson et al. (2022a). The code is a stream finding algorithm that transforms individual positions of stars to search for linear structure in discrete data sets. The HSS requires only the two-dimensional plane of galactic longitude and latitude as input, and the code is automated and optimized to detect extragalactic streams. Pearson demonstrated that the code combined with data from NASA’s upcoming Nancy Grace Roman Space Telescope will facilitate the first detections of thin globular cluster streams in galaxies other than the Milky Way, and she used the code to set limits on the population on thin streams from globular clusters in the Andromeda galaxy. You can find a link to the code on Github here.

In collaboration with Princeton PhD student, L. Lancaster (now Simons Fellow at Columbia), Pearson & Lancaster built a new tool and released the code: walter, which enables calculation of the expected number density of stars, exposure times needed, and estimates of the crowding limit for future Roman observations (Lancaster, Pearson et al. 2022). The code can be found on Github here.

In addition to developing her own numerical tools, Pearson uses a wide variety of codes and softwear packages in her work such as Gala (Price-Whelan et al. 2017), astropy (AstropyCollaboration et al. 2018), NBODY6 (Aarseth et al. 2003), FindTheGap (Contardo et al. 2022), and Identikit (Barnes & Hibbard 2009).
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