Joel Parker

Howdy. I am a researcher and a Director at the Southwest Research Institute (SwRI). I previously worked for NASA. Since 1987 I have been studying massive stars and how they affect their environment, particularly in the Magellanic Clouds but also including other nearby galaxies such as M33. Since I began working at SwRI in 1996, more and more of my research is spent on solar system topics, with a focus on the Kuiper Belt. Other topics include study of the Moon, asteroids, comets, Pluto, and other Solar System stuff. I am Deputy-PI and project manager for the Rosetta-Alice instrument, and project manager and science team member for the LRO-LAMP and the New Horizons Alice instruments. I also am the editor of Distant EKOs, the Kuiper belt electronic newsletter.

To steal a section from my CV, my work involves...

...photometric and spectroscopic multi-wavelength (x-ray, ultraviolet, optical, infrared, millimeter) studies in planetary and stellar astrophysics using ground-based (e.g., CTIO, KPNO, MDM, McDonald, Las Campanas, NRAO) space-based (e.g., HST, Rosetta, New Horizons, Lunar Reconaissance Orbiter (LRO), Deep Space 1 (DS1), SWUIS, IUE, ISO, UIT), and sub-orbital instruments. Topics of interest include Comets; Centaurs and Kuiper Belt objects; Pluto; Luna; young stellar groups and their environments; initial mass functions and star-formation rates; interactions of massive stars with the ISM; luminous blue variables; data reduction and analysis techniques.
You can get a PDF copy of my CV, and a collection of my papers, or check out the most recent ADS list of my papers. (or, you can get the sub-lists of papers in refereed journals or other papers like MPECs, conference proceedings, etc.).

My Extragalactic Work

OB Stars and Their Relatives

The Magellanic Clouds

My Solar System Work

The Moon



Other Kuiper Belt Objects


Other Solar System Flotsam and Jestsam

What is Southwest Research Institute?

The SwRI main office is in San Antonio, Texas, which boasts nearly 3000 employees. SwRI has a number of branch offices, and I work in the Boulder, Colorado office (the Planetary Science Directorate).

I love being an astronomer. And, yes, I always really wanted to be an astronaut on the Space Shuttle with other astronauts! I guess that fits in with my personality type. There is the discussion list and page for AsCan wannabes. You can find more details in the Astronaut Fact Book. To find out if you have the Right Stuff, check out this book about Space Medicine in Project Mercury from NASA's History Office.

He believed in the primacy of doubt, not as a blemish on our ability to know but as the essence of knowing..

--- James Gleick in his biography of Richard Feynman.

Joel Parker (