PTYS/LPL Faculty

Walter Harris

Associate Professor
Planetary astronomy, Planetary atmospheresSmall bodies, Solar and heliospheric physics, Remote sensing instrumentation
Ph.D., 1993, University of Michigan

Kuiper 221

Years with LPL: 2013 to present


Dr. Harris' research is focused on the structure of thin atmospheres and their transition to and interactions with the space environment. He is particularly interested the information that comet atmospheres provide about basic photochemical processes, the formation of the solar system, and the characteristics of the solar wind. He is also engaged in an ongoing study of the plasma interface between the solar wind and interstellar medium via remote sensing of interstellar neutral material as it passes through the solar system.

In addition to their observational program, Dr. Harris' group has an active instrument development effort in the area of spatial heterodyne spectroscopy, or SHS. SHS instruments occupy a special observational niche by providing very high velocity resolution of angularly extended emission line targets with much higher sensitivity than classical spectroscopy. Current funding for SHS development has led to new instruments for both ground (visible band) and suborbital (far ultraviolet) observations of comets and the interplanetary medium.

Current Grants

  • Reflective Spatial Heterodyne Spectrometers for High-Resolving-Power Emission-line Characterization from Orbital and Remote Missions (NASA: Maturation of Instruments for Solar System Exploration 2017-2020)
  • Heliospheric Hydrogen as a Probe of the Heliopause and Interstellar Magnetic Field (NASA: Heliospheric Technology and Instrument Development for Science 2016-2019)
  • In the Eye of the Storm: Inner Coma Remote Sensing of Three Jupiter Family Comets (NASA: Solar System Observations 2015-2019)
  • All-Reflective Spatial Heterodyne Spectroscopy:  Extending High Sensitivity Velocity Resolved Measurements of Solar System Dynamics into the EUV (NASA: Planetary Instrument Concepts for the Advancement of Solar System Observations 2016-2019)
  • An Advanced, Compact, Ultraviolet Imaging Spectrometer for Planetary Systems (JPL: Research and Technology Development Fund 2015-2018)
  • Sounding Rocket Deployment and Advancement of a High Dynamic Range, High Efficiency, Ultraviolet Photon Counting Imager for Astrophysics, Planetary, Earth, and Space Science (JPL: Strategic University Research Partnership 2017-2019)
  • Advancing the TRL of a Compact, High Dynamic Range Ultraviolet Imaging Spectrometer (NASA: Maturation of Instruments for Solar System Exploration 2017-2020)
  • Coupled Dust and Gas Evolution in the Inner Coma of Comets of Differing Activity Levels (NASA: NASA Earth and Space Science Fellowships 2018-2021, awarded to Cassandra Lejoly)

Current PTYS Graduate Students

Student Collaborations/Advising

Current Students

  • Eli Garcia (Undergraduate)
  • Daniel Teran (Undergraduate)
  • Ricky Maciel (Undergraduate)
  • Naomi Yescasa (Undergraduate)
  • Will Yingling (Undergraduate)

Former Students

  • S. Sona Hosseini (PhD 2015)
  • Ricardo Diaz-Silva (PhD 2015)
  • Jake Bobula (Masters 2013)
  • Frédéric Vincent (PhD 2014)
  • Jason Corliss (PhD 2011)
  • Olivia Dawson (Masters 2007)
  • Toby Neef (Masters 2006)

Current Postdocs

  • Derek Gardner (PhD 2017)

Former Postdocs

  • Yan Betremieux (JPL)
  • Julia Bodnarik (LPL)
  • Jason Corliss (LPL)
  • Louis Giersch (JPL)
  • Jeff Morgenthaler (PSI)
  • Frédéric Vincent (Université de Versailles)


Current Staff Scientists

  • Julia Bodnarik (Associate Staff Scientist)
  • Jason Corliss (Senior Staff Scientist)


Complete publications list available from: NASA ADS Author Search: Walter Harris

Refereed publications (NASA ADS): Calendar Year 2016 through July 2018

McKay, A. J., Cochran, A. L., DiSanti, M. A., Dello Russo, N., Weaver, H., Vervack, R. J., Harris, W. M., Kawakita, H. Evolution of H2O production in comet C/2012 S1 (ISON) as inferred from forbidden oxygen and OH emission 2018Icar..309....1M

Dello Russo, N., Vervack, R. J., Kawakita, H., Cochran, A., McKay, A. J., Harris, W. M., Weaver, H. A., Lisse, C. M., DiSanti, M. A., Kobayashi, H., Biver, N., Bockelée-Morvan, D., Crovisier, J., Opitom, C., Jehin, E.  The compositional evolution of C/2012 S1 (ISON) from ground-based high-resolution infrared spectroscopy as part of a worldwide observing campaign 2016Icar..266..152D

Available filesSizeCreated
PDF icon CVHarris.pdf61.1 KBAugust 17, 2017
Semester Course Day/Time Location Resources
Fall 2016 PTYS 495B-001
Fall 2016 PTYS 595B-001
Spring 2017 PTYS 495B-002 WF 12:30-1:45pm Kuiper 312 Course Page
Spring 2017 PTYS 595B-002 WF 12:30-1:45pm Kuiper 312
Fall 2017 PTYS 516-001 TTH 2:00 - 3:15 p.m. Kuiper 312 Syllabus
Course Page
Fall 2017 PTYS 416-001 TTH 2:00 - 3:15 p.m. Kuiper 312 Syllabus
Course Page
Fall 2018 PTYS 495B-001 TTH 2:00-3:15p.m. Kuiper 312 Syllabus
Course Page
Fall 2018 PTYS 595B-002 TTH 2:00-3:15p.m. Kuiper 312 Syllabus
Course Page
Spring 2019 PTYS 170A1-001
Fall 2019 PTYS 416-001
Fall 2019 PTYS 516-001

Last updated on June 21, 2018