Profile Details

ESA/AURA Astronomer
Laura Watkins headshot

Dr. Laura L. Watkins is an ESA-AURA Astronomer working in the Science Mission Office on various Hubble-related activities. Her primary research interests are the spatial and velocity distributions of small stellar systems, both internal and global, and what they can tell us about their formation, evolution, and present state. She studies the kinematics using proper motions from Hubble and from Gaia, and uses dynamical models to connect the observations to the underlying physics. She also works with simulated systems to test models and inform future observations. Laura is particularly interested in the globular clusters of the Milky Way, but has broader interests in nearby dwarf galaxies, and both the globular cluster and dwarf galaxy systems in the Local Group. She is a member of the HSTPROMO group at STScI.

Before taking up her current role at STScI, Laura was a postdoc at the University of Vienna, the European Southern Observatory Headquarters in Garching, STScI, and the Max Planck Institute for Astronomy in Heidelberg. She completed her PhD at the University of Cambridge (2010) with Wyn Evans and Vasily Belokurov.


PhD, Astronomy, University of Cambridge

MA, Natural Sciences, University of Cambridge

MSci, Natural Sciences, University of Cambridge


Science Interests:

  • Internal kinematics of globular clusters
  • Discrete dynamical modelling, particularly Jeans models
  • Proper-motion measurements from Hubble and Gaia
  • Mass profiles of dwarf galaxies 
  • Globular clusters and dwarf galaxies as tracers of their host galaxies


Research Topics: Local Group Galaxies, Star Clusters, Resolved Stellar Populations, Astrometry, Dark Matter, Dynamical Modelling, Globular Clusters, Proper Motions, Stellar Kinematics


Professional Websites:

Professional Website


ORCID ID: 0000-0002-1343-134X


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