Myriam Prasow-Émond

MSc Student, Université de Montréal

Myriam is working towards her Master’s in Physics at the Université de Montréal under the supervision of Julie Hlavacek-Larrondo, the Director of the X-TRA research group. She works on the study of planetary systems in extreme environments. These include X-ray binaries: two-body systems composed of a so-called “donor” star and a compact object (black hole, neutron star or white dwarf). Their name comes from the fact they emit a lot of X-rays, because of the interactions between the star and the compact object. Because of their properties, X-ray binaries are therefore unique laboratories for studying several astronomical phenomena and environments subject to extreme conditions.

Recent studies have shown that exoplanets can exist in such systems. These exoplanets are probably very far from the X-ray binaries, since interactions between the star and themselves are more frequent, causing a migration farther out. However, in high-mass X-ray binaries – i.e. when the star is an O to B spectral type – the X-ray binary is generally too bright to detect exoplanets. To overcome this constraint, Myriam uses the NIRC2 instrument and its coronograph on the W. M. Keck Observatory to obtain high-contrast images via direct imaging, achieving the feat of obtaining the first images of potential exoplanets around X-ray binaries. These results will allow, among other things, a better understanding of the formation of exoplanets, the survival of exoplanets subjected to extreme conditions (such as a supernova explosion) and their impacts on the system.

Through internships during her B.Sc. degree, Myriam also worked on the multi-wavelength analysis of the massive galaxy cluster MACS J1447.4+0827 and the effect of the super massive black hole at its center, using Chandra, Hubble and the JVLA.

Myriam is a committed student who is also involved in her student association, the PHYSUM. During her mandate as the Undergraduate Academic Affairs delegate, she contributed to the improvement of the university climate in physics, especially during the pandemic. She is now the delegate for Graduate Academic Affairs and the President of the organizing committee of the Symposium Annuel de Physique pour un Avenir en Recherche et en Industrie (SAPHARI), and aspires once again to make physics shine at the Université de Montréal. She is also a very experienced tutor and teaching assistant. Enthusiastic by nature, Myriam loves to pass on her knowledge, learn more about the world and become involved in causes that are close to her heart.


Julie Hlavacek-Larrondo (X-TRA)


Email : 
Office : Complexe des sciences