Press release on X-ray reverberation:

  • ESA - XMM-Newton maps black hole surroundings
  • Uni of Cam - Astronomers use ‘cosmic echo-location’ to map black hole surroundings
  • National Geographic - Astronomers just got a deep peek at a black hole

  • My Research...

    My research involves the application of novel analysis methods to astronomical data. The main focus is time series analysis of light curves from accreting compact objects (black holes and neutron stars), where the goal is to understand gravity in the strong field regime, extreme physics and the role these objects play in shaping the universe. In particular, I use X-ray reverberation mapping and quasi-periodic oscillations (QPOs) to study matter spiralling in the inner accretion flow around a black hole. I am currently working on neural network methods to find important signals in the presence of red noise. Full CV here.

    The blue lightcurve shows the quasi periodic oscillation (QPO) from the supermassive black hole in the centre of the active galaxy RE J1034+396 (see Alston et al 2014). The background image is an artist's impression of the accretion disc and jet around an accreting black hole (credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech)

    Recent Publications

    Full ADS search, Refereed journal ADS search

    1. (34) A dynamic black hole corona in an active galaxy through X-ray reverberation mapping
    2. (arXiv, ADS, Nature Astronomy, Nat. Astron. free access)
      Alston, Fabian, Kara, Parker, Dovciak, Pinto, Jiang, Middleton, Miniutti, Walton, Wilkins, Buisson, Caballero-Garcia, Cackett, De Marco, Gallo, Lohfink, Reynolds, Uttley, Young & Zogbhi, 2020, Nature Astronomy
    3. (33) Searching for Ultra-fast Outflows in AGN using Variability Spectra (arXiv, ADS)
    4. Igo, Parker, Matzeu, Alston, Alvarez Crespo, Buisson, Fürst, Joyce, Mallick, Schartel, Santos-Lleó, 2020, MNRAS, in press
    5. (32) Modelling X-ray RMS spectra I: intrinsically variable AGN (arXiv, ADS)
    6. Parker, Alston, Igo & Fabian 2020, MNRAS, 492, 1363
    7. (31) Discovery of a soft X-ray lag in the Ultraluminous X-ray Source NGC 1313 X-1 (arXiv, ADS)
    8. Kara, Pinto, Walton, Alston, Bachetti, Barret, Brightman, Canizares, Earnshaw, Fabian, Furst, Kosec, Middleton, Roberts, Soria, Tao & Webb 2019, MNRAS, 491, 5172
    9. (30) XMM-Newton Campaign On Ultraluminous X-ray Source NGC 1313 X-1: Wind vs. State Variability (arXiv, ADS)
    10. Pinto, Walton, Kara, Parker, Soria, Kosec, Middleton, Alston, Fabian, Guainazzi, Roberts, Fuerst, Earnshaw, Sathyaprakash & Barret, MNRAS, in press
    11. (29) The Unusual Broadband X-ray Spectral Variability of NGC 1313 X-1 seen with XMM-Newton, Chandra and NuSTAR (arXiv, ADS)
    12. Walton et al MNRAS, sub
    13. (28) The discovery of weak coherent pulsations in the ultraluminous X-ray source NGC 1313 X-2 (arXiv, ADS)
    14. Sathyaprakash, Roberts, Walton, Fuerst, Bachetti, Pinto,
      Alston, Earnshaw, Fabian, Middleton & Soria, 2019, MNRAS, 488, 35
    15. (27) Non-stationary variability in accreting compact objects (arXiv, ADS)
    16. Alston, 2019, MNRAS, 485, 260
    17. (26) The remarkable X-ray variability of IRAS 13224--3809 I: the variability process (arXiv, ADS)
    18. Alston, Fabian, Buisson, Kara, Parker, Lohfink, Uttley, Wilkins, Pinto, De Marco, Cackett, Middleton, Walton, Reynolds, Jiang, Gallo, Zogbhi, Miniutti, Dovciak & Young, 2019, MNRAS, 482, 2088
    19. (25) NuSTAR reveals the hidden nature of SS433 (arXiv, ADS)
    20. Middleton, Walton, Alston et al, Submitted
    21. (24) A high-density relativistic reflection origin for the soft and hard
      X-ray excess emission from Mrk 1044
      (arXiv, ADS)
    22. Mallick, Alston, Parker, Fabian, Pinto, Dewangan, Markowitz, Gandhi, Kembhavi & Misra, 2018, MNRAS, 479, 615
    23. (23) The 1.5 Ms Observing Campaign on IRAS 13224-3809: X-ray Spectral Analysis I (arXiv, ADS)
    24. Jiang, Parker, Fabian, Alston, Buisson, Cackett, Chiang, Dauser, Gallo, García, Harrison, Lohfink, De Marco, Kara, Miller, Miniutti, Pinto, Walton & Wilkins, 2018, MNRAS, 477, 3711
    25. (22) Ultrafast outflows disappear in high radiation fields (arXiv, ADS)
    26. Pinto, Alston, Parker, Fabian, Gallo, Buisson, Walton, Kara, Jiang, Lohfink & Reynolds, 2018, MNRAS, 476, 1021
    27. (21) Is there a UV/X-ray connection in IRAS 13224-3809? (arXiv, ADS)
    28. Buisson, Lohfink, Alston, Cackett, Chiang, Dauser, De Marco, Fabian, Gallo, García, Jiang, Kara, Middleton, Miniutti, Parker, Pinto, Uttley, Walton & Wilkins, 2018, MNRAS, 475, 2306
    29. (20) Revealing the ultra-fast outflow in IRAS 13224-3809 through spectral variability (arXiv, ADS)
    30. Parker, Alston, Buisson, Fabian, Jiang, Kara, Lohfink, Pinto & Reynolds, 2017, MNRAS, 469, 1553
    31. (19) The response of relativistic outflowing gas to the inner accretion disk of a black hole (arXiv, ADS)
    32. Parker, Pinto, Fabian, Lohfink, Buisson, Alston, Kara, Cackett, Chiang, Dauser, De Marco, Gallo, Garcia, Harrison, King, Middleton, Miller, Miniutti, Reynolds, Uttley, Vasudevan, Walton, Wilkins & Zoghbi, 2017, Nature, 543, 83
    33. (18) From ultraluminous X-ray sources to ultraluminous supersoft
      sources: NGC 55 ULX, the missing link
      (arXiv, ADS)
    34. Pinto, Alston, Soria, Middleton, Walton, Sutton, Fabian, Earnshaw, Urquhart, Kara & Roberts, 2017, MNRAS, 468, 2865
    35. (17) The Future of X-ray Reverberation from AGN (arXiv, ADS)
    36. Fabian, Alston, Cackett, Kara, Uttley & Wilkins, 2016, Astro. Nach., 338, 269
    37. (16) Ultraviolet and X-ray variability of active galactic nuclei with Swift (arXiv, ADS)
    38. Buisson, Lohfink, Alston & Fabian, 2016, MNRAS, 464, 3194
    39. (15) False periodicities in quasar time-domain surveys (arXiv, ADS)
    40. Vaughan, Uttley, Markowitz, Huppenkothen, Middleton, Alston, Scargle & Farr, 2016, MNRAS, 461, 3145
    41. (14) A global look at X-ray time lags in Seyfert Galaxies (arXiv, ADS)
    42. Kara, Alston, Fabian, Cackett, Uttley, Reynolds & Zoghbi, 2016, MNRAS, 462, 511
    43. (13) Quasi periodic oscillations in active galactic nuclei (arXiv, ADS)
    44. Alston, Fabian, Markeviciute, Parker, Middleton & Kara, 2016, Astro. Nach., 337, 417
    45. (12) A global look at X-ray time lags in Seyfert Galaxies (arXiv, ADS)
    46. Kara, Alston & Fabian, 2016, Astro. Nach., 337, 473
    47. (11) The Rhythm of Fairall 9. I. Observing the Spectral Variability with XMM-Newton and NuSTAR (arXiv, ADS)
    48. Lohfink, Reynolds, Pinto, Alston, Boggs, Christensen, Craig, Fabian, Hailey, Harrison, Kara,
      Matt, Parker, Stern, Walton & Zhang, 2016, ApJ, 821, 11
    49. (10) NuSTAR and Suzaku observations of the hard state in Cygnus X-1:
      locating the inner accretion disk
      (arXiv, ADS)
    50.  Parker, Tomsick, Miller, Yamaoka, Lohfink, Nowak, Fabian, Alston, Boggs, Christensen, Craig, Fuerst, Gandhi, Grefenstette, Grinberg, Hailey, Harrison, Kara, King, Stern, Walton, Wilms & Zhang, 2015, ApJ, 808, 9
    51. (9) Discovery of a ~2 hr high frequency X-ray QPO and iron K alpha reverberation in
      the active galaxy MS 2254.9-3712
      (arXiv, ADS)
    52.  Alston, Parker, Markeviciute, Fabian, Middleton, Lohfink, Kara & Pinto, 2015, MNRAS, 449, 467
    53. (8) Revealing the X-ray variability of AGN with principal component analysis (arXiv, ADS)
    54.  Parker, Fabian, Matt, Koljonen, Kara, Alston, Walton, Marinucci, Brenneman & Risaliti, 2015, MNRAS, 447, 72
    55. (7) X-ray time delays from the Seyfert 2 galaxy IRAS 18325-5926 (arXiv, ADS)
    56.  Lobban, Alston & Vaughan, 2014, MNRAS, 445, 3229
    57. (6) Detection of a QPO in five XMM-Newton observations of RE J1034+396 (arXiv, ADS)
    58.  Alston, Markevičiūtė, Kara, Fabian & Middleton, 2014, MNRAS, 445, 16
    59. (5) The changing X-ray time lag in MCG-6-30-15 (arXiv, ADS)
    60.  Kara, Fabian, Marinucci, Matt, Parker, Alston, Brenneman, Cackett & Miniutti, 2014, MNRAS, 445, 56
    61. (4) A non-thermal study of the brightest cluster galaxy NGC 1275 - the Gamma-Radio connection
      over four decades
      (arXiv, ADS)
    62.  Dutson, Edge, Hinton, Hogan, Gurwell & Alston, 2014, MNRAS, 442, 2048
    63. (3) X-ray time delays in the narrow line Seyfert 1 galaxy PG 1244+026 (arXiv, ADS)
    64.  Alston, Done & Vaughan, 2014, MNRAS, 439, 1548
    65. (2) The flux-dependent X-ray time lags in NGC 4051 (arXiv, ADS)
    66.  Alston, Vaughan & Uttley, 2013, MNRAS, 435, 1511
    67. (1) Ultraviolet and X-ray variability of NGC 4051 over 45 days with XMM-Newton and Swift (arXiv, ADS)
    68.  Alston, Vaughan & Uttley, 2013, MNRAS, 429, 75

    Curriculum Vitae

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