Andrea Prestwich was born in Bristol, England in 1962 and has been interested in astronomy since she was about 5 years old. In 1984 she graduated from Queen Mary College, London, with a degree in physics. She completed her PhD in Astrophysics at Imperial College London in 1989, then accepted a post-doctoral position as a NRC Resident Research Associate at NASA-Marshall Space Flight Center. In 1991 she moved to the Smithsonian Astrophysical Observatory where she is a Staff Scientist at the Chandra X-ray Observatory. Andrea lives in Massachusetts with husband Steve Saar (also an astronomer) and twins Christopher and Katie.
Andrea's PhD thesis (with advisor Bob Joseph) was titled "Extra-galactic Infra Red Spectrocopy" and included some of the first measurements of near infrared line emission from external galaxies. Later as a postdoc at NASA-MSFC she worked on low mass star formation in cluster cooling flows.
Since the launch of Chandra, Andrea's research has focussed on understanding X-ray souces in starburst and star forming galaxies. She has worked on X-ray source classification, understanding the relation between X-ray emission and star formation activity and Ultra-Luminous X-ray sources (ULXs). In Chandra Cycle 2 (2000) she was PI on a Large Project to study the discrete X-ray source population in spiral galaxies. More recently, she has been working on a variety of Chandra and Hubble projects to study the effects of metallicty on the formation of X-ray binaries, including a Cycle 11 Large Chandra Project to study Ultra-Luminous X-ray Sources (ULX) in extremely metal poor galaxies. She is also involved in studies investigating the links between High Mass X-ray Binary formation and star clusters (with collaborators Rupali Chandar and Blagoy Rangelov) and the connection between ULX and Lyman Alpha emission in blue compact dwarf galaxies.
Chandra X-ray Center (CXC) Activities
Andrea works in the Director's Office at the Chandra X-ray Center. From 2010 to 2014 she was coordinator of the NASA-Einstein Postdoctoral Fellowship Program and is currently responsible for organizing the Chandra Peer Review.
Smithsonian Astrophysical Observatory
60 Garden St
Cambridge, MA 02478
Selected PublicationsUltra-luminous X-Ray Sources in the Most Metal Poor Galaxies Chandra Observations of the Collisional Ring Galaxy NGC 922 IC 10 X-1 -- Most Massive Stellar Black Hole? (ApJ Letters, Vol 669, Nov 2007) Radio Emission from ULXs (Kaaret et al 2003, Science, 299, 365)
M82 (Kaaret et al 2001, 321,29)
The Chandra Nearby Spirals SurveySource Lists (Kilgard et al 2005, ApJS 159, 2144)
M74 X-1 (Krauss et al 2005, ApJ, 630, 228)
Classifying X-ray Sources (Prestwich et al 2003, ApJ 595, 719)
X-ray Sources in Starburst and Non-starburst Galaxies (Kilgard et al 2003, 573, 138)
Cooling FlowsIR Imaging of NGC 1275 (Prestwich et al 1997, ApJ, 477, 144
ROSAT Imaging of Cluster Cooling Flows (Prestwich et al 1995, ApJ, 438, 71)