The MIT Kavli Institute paves the way for new developments in space- & ground-based astrophysics. Our faculty, research staff, and students develop technology & instrumentation with a focus on an engineering and technical core.
Researchers at The Kavli Institute for Astrophysics and Space Research explore extreme and unusual phenomena found beyond the Earth including extrasolar planets, black holes, neutron stars, and distant galaxies and clusters of galaxies.
I grew up in the Netherlands and started studying astronomy at the University of Utrecht in 1990. After receiving my PhD in Astrophysics at the University of Amsterdam I did a two-year postdoc in Merate, Italy. In 2003 I moved to MIT for a post-doc position with Walter Lewin. In 2008 I became a research scientist at MIT.
My research focuses on X-ray binaries. These are binary systems in which a sun-like star orbits around a compact object (i.e. a black-hole or a neutron star). The strong gravitational pull from the compact object results in gas flowing from the sun-like star to the compact object, a process referred to as 'accretion'. This process of accretion results in the release of enormous amounts of energy, mostly in the form of X-rays, hence the name X-ray binaries. By studying the X-ray from these systems with space based telescopes I hope to learn more about the extreme physical processes that take place around neutron stars and black holes.
1) A possible signature of Lense-Thirring precession in dipping and eclipsing neutron-star low-mass X-ray binaries Homan, J, 2012, ApJ, in press 2) XTE J1701-462 and Its Implications for the Nature of Subclasses in Low-magnetic-field Neutron Star Low-mass X-ray Binaries Homan, J., et al. 2010, ApJ, 719, 201