David S Leckrone

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David S Leckrone

  • 301.349.7877 | 301.286.1670
  • Mail Code: 660
  • Greenbelt , MD 20771
  • Employer: EMERITUS
  • Curriculum Vitae

    Brief Bio

    Dr. Leckrone began his NASA career in 1969 as an astrophysicist, working on the first Orbiting Astronomical Observatories at the Goddard Space Flight Center. In the early '70's he led studies of potential astronomical payloads for the Space Shuttle. In 1976 he was appointed Scientific Instruments Project Scientist for the Space Telescope Program (later re-named Hubble Space Telescope). Concurrently, in the 1980's, he was Head of the Astronomy Branch in the Laboratory for Astronomy and Solar Physics at Goddard. In 1992 he became Senior Project Scientist for the Hubble Program at GSFC. In this role he provides scientific leadership for all aspects of the Hubble Program and is scientific advisor to the HST Program Manager. He was the scientific lead for four highly successful Shuttle servicing missions to the HST in 1993, 1997, 1999 and 2002. In addition to his Hubble Program responsibilities, Dr. Leckrone also served as the Chief Scientist for the NASA Engineering and Safety Center (NESC), formed by the Agency in response to the recommendations of the Columbia Accident Investigation Board, during 2003-2005.

    Dr. Leckrone is an internationally recognized authority on ultraviolet astronomy, spectroscopic analysis of the atmospheres of stars, atomic spectroscopic data and the abundances of the chemical elements. He is the author or co-author of over 70 scientific papers and invited reviews, many of which are based on his research with the OAO satellites, with the International Ultraviolet Explorer and with the Goddard High Resolution Spectrograph on Hubble. He has worked extensively in public outreach and with the news media, including many interviews on national television and radio, and innumerable "popular" scientific talks at conventions and other public gatherings.

    Dr. Leckrone has received a number of awards including the NASA Medal for Exceptional Scientific Achievement, the NASA Medal for Outstanding Leadership and an honorary doctorate from the University of Lund in Sweden.


    Spectroscopy of stellar atmospheres;
    Chemically peculiar stars;
    Origin and abundances of the chemical elements;
    Laboratory and theoretical atomic spectroscopic data;
    Ultraviolet space astrophysics;
    Instrumentation for space astronomy;
    Design, development and operations of space observatories


    P.I. of international team of astrophysicists and atomic physicists mining a rich set of ultraviolet spectroscopic observations of the photospheres of chemically peculiar and normal early-type main-sequence stars, obtained with IUE, HST/GHRS and HST/STIS.

    Lead scientist for the management of the overall HST Program. Scientific lead for HST Servicing Mission 4 (pending go-ahead from NASA Administrator).

    Development of long-term plan and infrastructure for engagement of robotic science missions by the NESC.


    1964 - B.S. with Honors in Physics, Purdue University
    1966 - M.A. in Astronomy, University of California at Los Angeles
    1969 - Ph.D. in Astronomy, University of California at Los Angeles
    Thesis: "The Lines of Neutral Helium in the Spectra of B-Type Stars"
    (Thesis advisor Lawrence H. Aller)
    1986 - M.A.S. in Management, Johns Hopkins University



    "The Bismuth Abundance in the HgMn Stars χ Lupi and HR 7775 and Improved Atomic Data for Selected Transitions of Bi I, Bi II, and Bi III," Wahlgren, G.M., Brage, T., Brandt, J.C., Fleming, J., Johansson, J., Leckrone, D.S., Proffitt, C.R., Reader, J., and Sansonetti, C.J., 2001, ApJ 551, 520

    "Very High Resolution UV Spectroscopy of a Chemically Peculiar Star: Results of the χ Lupi Pathfinder Project", Leckrone, David S., Proffitt, Charles R., Wahlgren, G. M., Johansson, S. G., Brage, Tomas, 1999, AJ 117, 1454

    "A GHRS Atlas of Echelle Observations of the HgMn Star χ Lupi", Brandt, J. C. et al. 1999, AJ 117, 1505

    "Theoretical Oscillator Strengths and Hyperfine Structure in Hg II", Brage, T., Proffitt, C. R., Leckrone, D., 1999, ApJ 513, 524

    "Mercury in the HgMn Stars χ Lupi and HR 7775", Proffitt, C. R., Brage, T., Leckrone, D., Brandt, J. C., Wahlgren, G. M., Sansonetti, C. J., Reader, J., Johansson, S. G., 1999, ApJ 512, 942

    "New Zr II oscillator strengths and the zirconium conflict in the HgMn star χ Lupi", Sikstrom, C. M., Lundberg, H., Wahlgren, G. M., Li, Z. S., Lynga, C., Johansson, S., Leckrone, D. S., 1999 Astron.Astrophys 343, 297

    "Theoretical Oscillator Strengths for Sr II and Y III, with Application to Abundances in the HgMn-Type Star χ Lupi", Brage, Tomas, Wahlgren, Glenn M., Johansson, Sveneric G., Leckrone, David S., Proffitt, Charles, 1998 ApJ 496, 1051

    "Abundance and Isotopic Composition of Platinum in χ Lupi and HR 7775 Derived with the Help of New Laboratory Spectra of Pt II", Kalus, Gabriele, Johansson, Sveneric, Wahlgren, Glenn M., Leckrone, David S., Thorne, Anne P., Brandt, Jack C., 1998 ApJ 494, 792

    "Atomic Data for the Re II UV 1 Multiplet and the Rhenium Abundance in the HgMn-Type Star χ Lupi", Wahlgren, Glenn M., Johansson, Sveneric G., Litzén, Ulf, Gibson, N. D., Cooper, J. C., Lawler, J. E., Leckrone, David S., Engleman, Rolf, Jr., 1997 ApJ 475, 380

    "Transition Rates of the Intercombination UV 0.01 Multiplet in N II," Brage, Tomas, Hibbert, Alan and Leckrone, David S. 1997, ApJ 478, 423

    "Experimental Pd II Oscillator Strengths and the Palladium Abundance in the HgMn- Type Star χ Lupi", Lundberg, Hans, Johansson, Sveneric G., Larsson, Joergen, Leckrone, David S., Litzén, Ulf, Svanberg, Sune, Wahlgren, Glenn M., Zerne, Raoul 1996, ApJ 469, 388

    "Hyperfine Structure and Isotope Shift in Tl II with Astrophysical Applications", Johansson, Sveneric, Kalus, Gabriele, Brage, Tomas, Leckrone, David S., Wahlgren, Glenn M. 1996, ApJ 462, 943

    "Abundance and Isotopic Anomalies of Thallium in the Atmosphere of the HgMn Star χ Lupi", Leckrone, David S., Johansson, Sveneric, Kalus, Gabriele, Wahlgren, Glenn M., Brage, Tomas, Proffitt, Charles R. 1996, ApJ 462, 937

    "Core-valence and Core-core Correlation Effects on Hyperfine Structure Parameters and Oscillator Strengths in Tl II and Tl III", Brage, T., Leckrone, D. S., Froese Fischer, C. 1996, Phys.Rev. A 53, 192

    "Interpretation of Anomalous Ultraviolet Transitions of Fe II Observed in Laboratory Fourier Transform Spectra and Stellar HST and IUE Spectra", Johansson, Sveneric, Brage, Tomas, Leckrone, David S., Nave, Gillian, Wahlgren, Glenn M. 1995, ApJ 446, 361

    "The Abundances of Pt, Au, and Hg in the Chemically Peculiar HgMn-Type Stars κ Cancri and χ Lupi", Wahlgren, Glenn M., Leckrone, David S., Johansson, Sveneric G., Rosberg, Maria, Brage, Tomas 1995, ApJ 444, 438

    "Oscillator Strengths for Transitions in As II," Brage, T., & Leckrone, D.S. 1995, J.Phys.B: At.Mol.Opt.Phys. 28, 1201

    "First Results from the Goddard High-Resolution Spectrograph - High Resolution Observations of the 1942Å Resonance Line of Hg II in the Chemically Peculiar B star, χ Lupi," Leckrone, David S., Wahlgren, Glenn M., Johansson, Sveneric G. 1991, ApJL 377, 37

    "The Hg II Resonance Lines in IUE Spectra of Chemically Peculiar Stars," Leckrone, David S. 1984, ApJ 286, 725

    "The B II Resonance Line in IUE Spectra of Chemically Peculiar Stars," Leckrone, David S. 1981, ApJ 250, 687

    "The Space Telescope Scientific Instruments," Leckrone, David S. 1980, Publ.ASP 92, 5

    "The Ultraviolet Flux Distribution of α2 CVn," Leckrone, David S. and Snijders, M.A.J. 1979, ApJS 39, 549

    "The Ultraviolet Spectrum of α Lyrae," Faraggiana, Rosanna, Hack, Margherita, and Leckrone, David S. 1976, ApJS 32, 501

    "The Abundance of Boron and Beryllium in α Lyrae," Boesgaard, Ann Merchant, Praderie, Francoise, Leckrone, David S., Faraggianna, R. and Hack, M. 1974, ApJL 194, 143

    "The Enhancement of Ultraviolet Line Opacities in the Atmospheres of Peculiar A Stars," Leckrone, David S., Fowler, J.W., and Adelman, Saul J. 1974, Astron.Astrophys. 32, 237

    "Ultraviolet Photometry from the Orbiting Astronomical Observatory.XV.The Strongly Magnetic Variable HD 21544l," Leckrone, David S. 1974, ApJ 190, 319

    "Ultraviolet Photometry from the Orbiting Astronomical Observatory.VIII.The Blue Ap Stars," Leckrone, David S. 1973, ApJ 185, 577

    "The He I Line Profiles in Normal B-Type Spectra," Leckrone, David S. 1971, Astron.Astrophys. 11, 387

    "The Helium Abundance in Population I Stars," Popper, Daniel M., Jörgensen, Henning E., Morton, Donald C., and Leckrone, David S. 1970, ApJL 161, 57


    "Hubble Space Telescope," Leckrone, David S., 2003, in Encyclopedia of Space Science and Technology, ed. Mark, H. (New York: John Wiley & Sons), 760

    "Chemical Composition of Stars," Leckrone, David S., 2001, in Encyclopedia of Astronomy and Astrophysics, ed. Murdin, P. (Bristol, Philadelphia: IOP Publishing and London, New York, Tokyo: Nature Publishing Group), 295

    "The Impact of GHRS on Atomic Physics - A Fruitful Collaboration Between Laboratory and Stellar Spectroscopy", Johansson, S., Leckrone, D.S., and Davidson, K 1998, in The Scientific Impact of the Goddard High Resolution Spectrograph, ASP Conference Series 143, ed. John C. Brandt, Thomas B. Ake, Carolyn Collins Petersen, 155.

    "GHRS Spectroscopy of Chemically Peculiar Stars: The χ Lupi Pathfinder Project", Leckrone, D. S., Johansson, S. G., Wahlgren, G. M., Proffitt, C. R., Brage, T. 1998, in The Scientific Impact of the Goddard High Resolution Spectrograph, ASP Conference Series 143, ed. John C. Brandt, Thomas B. Ake, Carolyn Collins Petersen, 135

    "Stellar Chemical Abundances with the GHRS", Leckrone, D.S., Johansson, S.G., Wahlgren, G.M., Proffitt, C.R., Brage, T. 1996, Physica Scripta T65, 110

    "UV-Spektra frÅn Hubble-Teleskopet Avslöjar en Stjärna i Vargen Som Lagrar Tunga Isotoper av Mycket Tunga Grundamnen," Johansson, Sveneric, Leckrone, David S., and Wahlgren, Glenn M. 1994, Astronomisk Tidsskrift 27, 113

    "High Resolution UV Stellar Spectroscopy with the HST/GHRS, Challenges and Opportunities for Atomic Physics" Leckrone, D. S., Johansson, S. G., Wahlgren, G. M., Adelman, S. J. 1993, Physica Scripta T47, 149

    "Exploring Abundance and Isotope Anomalies in CP Stars with the HST/GHRS: High Resolution UV Spectroscopy of chi Lupi," Leckrone, D.S., Wah1gren, G.M., Johansson, S.G., Adelman, S.J. 1993, in Peculiar Versus Normal Phenomena In A-Type And Related Stars, ed. M.M Dworetsky, F. Castelli, and R. Faraggiana, ASP Conference Series 44, 42

    "High Resolution Ultraviolet Stellar Spectroscopy from Space Observations: What Atomic Physics and Astrophysics Can Do for Each Other," Leckrone, D.S., Johansson, S., Kurucz, R.L. and Adelman, S.J. 1990, in Atomic Spectra and Oscillator Strengths for Astrophysics and Fusion Research, ed. J.E. Hansen (Amsterdam: North Holland),3

    "Spectroscopic Equipment for the Space Telescope," Leckrone, David S. 1982, Phil.Trans.Roy.Soc.London 307, 549

    "Properties of Ap Stars in the Ultraviolet," Leckrone, David S. 1976, in Physics of ApStars, IAU Coll. No. 32, ed. W.W.Weiss, (Vienna: University of Vienna Observatory), 465

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