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WFIRST-AFTA Picture of Roeland van
der Marel

Homepage Roeland van der Marel

Space Telescope Science Institute, 3700 San Martin Drive, Baltimore, MD 21218, USA (marel@stsci.edu)

( STScI profile, View Roeland van der Marel's profile on LinkedIn, WIKIPEDIA profile, NLintheUSA profile)


WFIRST Logo [*]

WFIRST: Wide Field Infra-Red Survey Telescope

Some of the world's most powerful telescopes are in space. I lead the work at the Space Telescope Science Institute (STScI) in Baltimore on a new NASA space telescope that will provide images as sharp as the Hubble Space Telescope, but over a hundred times larger area. The space observatory, called the Wide-Field Infrared Survey Telescope (WFIRST), is in the design phase for launch in the mid-2020s.

The telescope will uncover the mysteries of the universe by probing the distribution of dark matter and the characteristics of dark energy, measuring the abundance and characteristics of planets orbiting other stars, and providing observations and surveys to study many other astrophysical subjects. STScI is the Science Operations Center.

HSTPROMO logo [*]

HSTPROMO: The Hubble Space Telescope Proper Motion Collaboration

I coordinate the HSTPROMO collaboration, and lead several of its projects. The collaboration consists of a set of related projects with various high-resolution space telescopes (Hubble, Gaia, and other future telescopes) aimed at improving our dynamical understanding of stars, clusters, and galaxies in the nearby Universe through measurement and interpretation of their proper (i.e., sideways) motions.

For example, check out my team's 2012 Hubble Space Telescope results on the motion of the Andromeda galaxy M31:

our 2019 improved measurements with Gaia, or my team's 2014 Hubble Space Telescope results on the rotation of the Large Magellanic Cloud

Black Holes: Gravity's
Relentless Pull [*]

Black Holes: Gravity's Relentless Pull

Learn about the fascinating properties of Black Holes on this web site created by my team. The site won the Top Prize of the 2005 Pirelli Awards for the best internet site worldwide devoted to the comunication of science and technology.

The software for the site is also freely available from STScI for use in museum kiosk exhibits. This version won a MUSE award from the American Association of Museums. Scroll to the bottom of this page for excerpts of some reviews of the web site.

Er is nu ook een Nederlandstalige versie van de website!



James Webb Space Telescope I was born in the Netherlands. I acquired a love for science at an early age and turned my curiosity into the nature of the Universe into my profession.

I obtained M.Sc. degrees in astronomy and mathematics at Leiden University, and subsequently a PhD degree in astronomy for a thesis entitled Velocity Profiles and Dynamical Modeling of Galaxies .

NASA then awarded me a Hubble Fellowship to come to the United States to continue my research, where I worked for three years at the Institute for Advanced Study in Princeton. There I became a frequent user of the Hubble Space Telescope.

I then moved to the Space Telescope Science Institute (STScI) in Baltimore as the Institute Fellow (later renamed Giacconi Fellowship).

I stayed at STScI, where I am now a tenured Astronomer on the scientific staff. I am also an Adjunct Professor in the Department of Physics and Astronomy of the nearby Johns Hopkins University.

From 2002-2005, I led the team at STScI responsible for the calibration and user support of the Advanced Camera for Surveys (ACS) and Wide Field Planatery Camera 2 (WFPC2) instruments on the Hubble Space Telescope.

From 2006-2014, I led the team at STScI responsible for issues related to the telescope optics, focus, and guiding on the future James Webb Space Telescope (to be launched in 2021).

Since 2014, I am the STScI Mission Head for the Wide-Field Infrared Survey Telescope (WFIRST). As a member of the Leadership Team of the STScI Organization, I also participate in setting the overall direction for the work of the approximately 700 people at STScI on multiple NASA space astronomy missions.

I am an expert on the structure and dynamics of galaxies and stellar systems in the nearby Universe, and on the central black holes that they often contain. I have authored hundreds of papers in scientific journals, books and other publications, which have been cited some 13,000 times. My research and the images that I have obtained with the Hubble Space Telescope have been discussed on television and radio, and in newspapers, magazines and museum exhibits around the world.

I am a member of the International Astronomical Union, the American Astronomical Society and the Dutch Astronomers Club.

LMC on front cover of AJ [*]

Research Papers, Presentations, Projects

Pirelli Award Ceremony Photo [*]

Selected Awards & Honors

NGC 6240 image [*]

Research Highlights and Media Reports

Selected Highlights:
M31 Press Release Video Clips:
HST image of NGC 7052

Selected Popular Articles authored:

General Astronomy Internet Resources:

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General Interest