Sharon Xuesong Wang
Postdoctoral Fellow

Sharon Wang

Research Interests

Detecting and characterizing exoplanets using radial velocities; improving radial velocity precision; disentangling stellar activity and radial velocities; understanding star formation and dark matter halo of Low Surface Brightness (LSB) galaxies; AGNs and their host galaxies


B.S., Physics, Tsinghua University (2008)
Ph.D., Astronomy and Astrophysics, The Pennsylvania State University,  State College (2016)

Contact & Links


Sharon Wang
Radial velocity (RV) amplitudes vs. discovery date of RV detected exoplanets. The RV precision stalled at ~1-2 m/s in the past decade. Current and upcoming instruments are marked in color bars at their achieved or target precision.
Sharon Xuesong Wang's primary research interest is in detecting rocky exoplanet using radial velocities (RVs). Such detections require high RV precision, especially for rocky planets in the Habitable Zone of Sun-like stars (< 1 m/s). Wang works on pushing the RV limit beyond the current 1-2 m/s level, which is set by limitations in instrumentation, data analysis, and the understanding of astrophysical noise.
Wang's primarily focuses her efforts in data analysis and the understanding of astrophysical noise. She uses advanced numerical and statistical tools, primarily in the Bayesian frame, combing astrophysical knowledge from stellar modelers, to tackle this "m/s barrier." She has previously studied Keck/HIRES and HET/HRS and identified their bottlenecks in achieving a higher RV precision. She is a team member of several exoplanet survey programs using Keck/HIRES, HET/HRS, Magellan/PFS, MINERVA, and WIYN/NEID.
Wang also works on extragalactic astronomy. She is a founding member of the MUSCEL project, aiming at understanding the stellar composition and evolution of the Low Surface Brightness (LSB) galaxies, and if and how the baryonic matters may have shaped the dark matter halo. LSBs are known for their cored dark matter halos, which are different from the CDM predicted cuspy profile. She also studies AGNs in the distant starburst galaxies (submm galaxies) and thinks a lot about coevolution of AGNs and their host galaxies.