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Dr. Jeff Morgenthaler

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Senior Scientist

Currently resides in ME
jpmorgen [at]
Areas of Expertise
Targets: Comets, Earth, Europa, Gas giants, Io, Io torus, Jupiter, Solar particles/Solar wind
Disciplines/Techniques: Aeronomy, Astrometry, Atmospheres, Calorimetry, Ground-based observing, Photometry, Space-based observing, Spectroscopy, X-ray spectroscopy
Missions: GALEX, Sounding Rockets
Instruments: Imaging spectrometers, Spectrometers, X-ray spectrometers
Facilities: Kitt Peak

Research Interests

Dr. Jeff Morgenthaler likes to think of himelf as an experimental physicist whose laboratory opens to the sky.  He has used a comet to measure the ionization lifetime of carbon, is using Io's atmosphere as a probe of conditions in Jupiter's magnetosphere and has constructed a small-aperture coronagraph to monitor measure Jupiter's magnetospheric response to a large volcanic eruption on Io (see press release reporting large eruption in 2018).  This coronagraph also records spectactular images of Mercury's sodium tail and comet NEOWISE in sodium.

Professional History

Dr. Morgenthaler received his PhD in 1998 from the University of Wisconsin where he studied the spectrum of the diffuse X-ray background with a Space Shuttle Payload of Opportunity and a sounding rocket employing one of the first single-photon calorimetric X-ray detectors. He was subsequently a National Research Council Fellow at the NASA Goddard Space Flight Center where he studied the Io plasma torus and created the Parameterized Function Object system, a robust function fitting package that can be used with AI techniques to emulate the decisions of an intelligent data analyst (  Then he was a Research Scientist at the University of Washington for about 4 years studying comets. In 2008, he joined PSI.  In 2011, he became responsible for leading PSI's internal proposal review (Red Team) program.  In 2017 he became the PSI Observatory manager.

Curriculum vitae


Honors and Awards

2017 NASA Group Achievement Award: Dawn\Gamma-Ray and Neutron Detector Team

2003 NASA Astrobiology Institute Insight Course: Intro. the Microbial World

1996 Goddard Space Flight Center Group Award (X-ray Quantum Calorimeter)

1993 Department of Education Fellowship

1989 Sigma Pi Sigma Physics Honor Society

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