Rachel Osten

Associate Astronomer w/ Tenure

Dr. Osten studies the dynamics of the outer atmospheres of nearby stars with the goal of learning more about the processes occurring on them, how they connect to similar events seen on the Sun, and what the implications are for the stellar impact on the environments of extrasolar planets. She uses a nearly panchromatic approach, harnessing arrays of ground-based radio and optical telescopes, as well as space-based ultraviolet, soft and hard X-ray telescopes to perform these observations. She is a prolific and engaging speaker, having given more than 100 scientific presentations, and author/co-author of 50 refereed publications. Dr. Osten is a current member of the Science and Technology Definition Team (STDT) for the Lynx large mission concept, one of four under consideration by NASA for inclusion in the 2020 Astrophysics Decadal Survey. She is also a member of the National Radio Astronomy Observatory (NRAO)’s Science Advisory Council for the next generation Very Large Array, a concept for a large ground-based successor to the Jansky Very Large Array and Atacame Large Millimeter Array.

Dr. Osten serves as the deputy mission head for the Hubble Space Telescope mission office, where she is actively involved in overseeing and promoting Hubble’s science operations to the astronomy community and the public at large. Prior to this, she was a Mission Scientist in the HST Mission Office, and had the role of JWST Deputy Project Scientist for two years prior. When she started working at STScI she was an instrument scientist for the COS and STIS instrument teams. She oversaw the first lifetime move of the Cosmic Origins Spectrograph, and was instrumental in setting up and overseeing the initial time-dependent sensitivity monitoring for the spectrographs on COS following installation on HST.

After completing her dissertation at the University of Colorado, and prior to arriving at STSci in the fall of 2008, Dr. Osten was first a Jansky Fellow at the NRAO in Charlottesville, VA, and then a Hubble Fellow at the University of Maryland in College Park, MD and NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center in Greenbelt, MD. She is a full member of the American Astronomical Society and International Astronomical Union, and has served on numerous advisory and review committees related to radio astronomy, high energy astrophysics, and cool stellar science.


PhD in Astronomy, University of Colorado, Boulder
MS in Astronomy, University of Colorado, Boulder
AB in Physics and Astronomy, Harvard University


Science Interests:

  • Dynamics of cool star atmospheres
  • Multi-wavelength observations of stellar flares
  • Magnetic activity at radio and X-ray wavelengths
  • Spectroscopy of stellar chromospheres and coronae


Research Topics: Stellar Astrophysics


Professional Websites:

Professional Website


ORCID ID: 0000-0001-5643-8421

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