2015 Alumna Liza Casella must be over the moon. Last month, her SSTP mentor Dr. Philip E. Kaaret published the paper she co-authored, “Resolving the X-ray emission from the Lyman continuum emitting galaxy Tol 1247-232,” in Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society. Dr. Kaaret’s study focused on a deep mystery of astrophysics: why do we see such bright stars in the night sky?
Black holes may be the answer. After the big bang, the universe filled with gasses that, like clouds on a stormy day, should blot out interstellar light. The super-massive black holes at the cores of galaxies, however, spin so quickly that they shoot off matter, creating winds that pierce the cosmic fog and allowing light to shine through, Dr. Kaaret and his team hypothesize.
It looks like Ms. Casella, now studying at Barnard College, has a bright future ahead of her!