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Ray Lucas

Research and Instrument Scientist
Ray Lucas headshot

Ray currently serves as the HST Phase II User Support Technical Lead for all HST instrument groups and has advised JWST staff on technical review of JWST proposals. In addition to being a long-time member of the ACS Team at STScI, Ray also serves as a Contact Scientist and Instrument Scientist reviewer for ACS, and is also the Phase II User Support Lead for the ACS Group. Ray has been at STScI since July 1985, and has worked in a number of areas: creation of the original Guide Star Catalog and all-sky digital image archive, TAC (peer review) support, proposer/observer support and program implementation, plus instrument testing of HST’s WFC3 and ACS and JWST’s NIRCAM, as well as taking part in  ACS calibration, etc. Since childhood, Ray's main science interests have centered on extragalactic astronomy, and he re-discovered that childhood interest despite being too far along in an undergrad degree to change majors back then. In particular, he has long had an active interest in interacting and merging galaxies, morphological signatures of interactions and mergers, studies of galaxies in the field and in clusters, and morphological aspects of galaxy formation and evolution in general. Ray helped design the Dressler et al. HST Servicing Mission 1 (SM1) Early Release Observations of the medium-redshift galaxy cluster CL0939+4713 (Abell 851) which were some of the deepest optical images ever taken at the time, and which helped inspire and lead to the original Hubble Deep Field. Ray was a co-Investigator on the original Hubble Deep Field-North and on STScI’s other subsequent deep extragalactic community-driven Director’s Discretionary programs, and on many notable related peer-selected follow-up programs. Today, he is a science collaborator on one of the larger peer-selected JWST Early Release Science programs, CEERS, a program which aims to study some of the earliest, most distant galaxies in the universe. Ray has also done ground-based observing at various optical and radio telescopes around the world. He has been the Principal Investigator (PI) on a successful large snapshot proposal at the Very Large Array (VLA), and the PI of his own NSF-funded Virtual Observatory program, based on a project which he conceived with data that he had, and work done by a team which he formed and led which won the first prize for science at the First NVO Summer School at the Aspen Center for Physics in 2004. 

Ray has given talks in many varied places, including Open Night at STScI, plus various colleges and schools, and at professional meetings, and has helped advise teachers on outreach products and lesson plans, etc. He is a member of the American Astronomical Society (AAS) and the International Astronomical Union (IAU), and has been asked to give and has given talks about his science projects in those venues and elsewhere.


Graduate coursework, Galaxies and Cosmology, Johns Hopkins University, Baltimore
Coursework in Observational Astronomy, Remote Sensing, Climatology, and Computer Science, University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill
Coursework in Canadian History, Duke University
AB in Zoology/Psychology, University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill


Science Interests:

  • Interacting and merging galaxies
  • Extragalactic globular cluster systems
  • LIRGs and ULIRGs
  • Galaxy formation and evolution
  • Morphological structure and evolution of galaxies


Research Topics: Star Formation, Histories, and Evolution; Supermassive Black Holes; High-Redshift Galaxies; Galaxy Groups and Clusters; Galaxy Formation and Evolution; AGN and Quasars; Galaxy Interactions and Mergers


Professional Websites:

Professional Website


ORCID ID: 0000-0003-1581-7825


To contact one of our research staff members
please call 410-338-4700 or view the index for their email alias