Tod R. Lauer

Last updated
Tod R. Lauer
Born1957 (age 6566)[ citation needed ]
Citizenship United States
Alma mater Caltech
UC Santa Cruz
AwardsNASA Medal for Exceptional Scientific Achievement (1992)
Scientific career
Fields Astronomy
Institutions NOAO
Princeton University
Thesis High resolution surface photometry of elliptical galaxies  (1983)
Doctoral advisor Sandra M. Faber

Tod R. Lauer (born 1957)[ citation needed ] is an American astronomer on the research staff of the National Optical Astronomy Observatory. He was a member of the Hubble Space Telescope Wide Field and Planetary Camera team, and is a founding member of the Nuker Team. His research interests includes observational searches for massive black holes [1] in the centers of galaxies, the structure of elliptical galaxies, stellar populations, large-scale structure of the universe, and astronomical image processing. [2] He was the Principal Investigator of the Destiny JDEM concept study, [3] one of the precursors to the Nancy Grace Roman Space Telescope mission. Asteroid 3135 Lauer is named for him. He appears in an episode of the documentary series Naked Science . [4] He joined the New Horizons Pluto team in order to apply his extensive experience with deep space imaging to the New Horizons data, yielding significantly clearer and mathematically accurate images of Pluto and Charon.


Early life and education

Lauer studied Astronomy at the California Institute of Technology and graduated with a BS degree in 1979. He received his PhD degree in Astronomy from the University of California, Santa Cruz in 1983 for High resolution surface photometry of elliptical galaxies. [5]

Awards and honors

An asteroid, (3135) Lauer, was named in his honor in 1981. [6] In 1992, Lauer was awarded the NASA Exceptional Scientific Achievement Medal for his work with the Wide-Field and Planetary Camera aboard the Hubble Space Telescope. [7] Lauer has been twice awarded the AURA Outstanding Achievement Award for Outstanding Science for 1993 [8] and 2016 [9] by the Association of Universities for Research in Astronomy. As a member of the New Horizons team, Lauer shared the 2017 NASA Group Achievement Award. [10] As a member of the Event Horizon Telescope collaboration, Lauer shared the 2020 Breakthrough Prize in Fundamental Physics.

Related Research Articles

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The Nuker Team was formed to use the Hubble Space Telescope, with its high-resolution imaging and spectroscopy, to investigate the central structure and dynamics of galaxies. The team used the HST to examine supermassive black holes and determined the relationship between a galaxy's central black hole's mass and velocity dispersion. The team continues to conduct research and publish papers on the supermassive black holes of galaxies and clusters. The group was initially formed by Tod R. Lauer, then a first year postdoc. At the first meeting of the group held at Princeton University in June 1985, Sandra Faber was elected the group leader.

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  1. Lauer, T. R.; et al. (2007). "The Masses of Nuclear Black Holes in Luminous Elliptical Galaxies and Implications for the Space Density of the Most Massive Black Holes". Astrophysical Journal . 662 (2): 808–834. arXiv: astro-ph/0606739 . Bibcode:2007ApJ...662..808L. doi:10.1086/518223. S2CID   26415900.
  2. Lauer, T. R. (1999). "Combining Undersampled Dithered Images". Publications of the Astronomical Society of the Pacific . 111 (756): 227–237. arXiv: astro-ph/9810394 . Bibcode:1999PASP..111..227L. doi:10.1086/316319. S2CID   16376086.
  3. Benford, D. J.; Lauer, T. R. (2006). Mather, John C; MacEwen, Howard A; De Graauw, Mattheus W. M (eds.). "Destiny: a candidate architecture for the Joint Dark Energy Mission". Proceedings of the SPIE . Space Telescopes and Instrumentation I: Optical, Infrared, and Millimeter. 6265: 626528. arXiv: astro-ph/0608413 . Bibcode:2006SPIE.6265E..28B. doi:10.1117/12.672135. S2CID   7504996.
  4. "IMDB Entry for Naked Science episode #78, 'Hubble's Amazing Universe'". IMDb .
  5. Lauer, Tod Richard (1983). High resolution surface photometry of elliptical galaxies (Ph.D. thesis). University of California, Santa Cruz. OCLC   964197423 via ProQuest.
  6. "(3135) Lauer". Dictionary of Minor Planet Names. Berlin and Heidelberg: Springer-Verlag. 2007. p. 259. doi:10.1007/978-3-540-29925-7_3136. ISBN   978-3-540-00238-3.
  7. "NASA Funds Development of Destiny: The Dark Energy Space Telescope". National Optical Astronomy Observatory. August 3, 2006 via SpaceRef Interactive.
  8. "AURA Award Winners 1990-2012". Association of Universities for Research in Astronomy .
  9. "2016 AURA Awards" (PDF). Association of Universities for Research in Astronomy . 2016.
  10. "New Horizons Team Earns NASA, International Awards". New Horizons. February 7, 2017 via The Johns Hopkins University Applied Physics Laboratory.