Astrophysics Science Division

Alan P Smale


Alan P Smale's Contact Card & Information.
Org Code: 660.1
Mail Code 660.1
Greenbelt, MD 20771
Employer: EMERITUS

Missions & Projects

Brief Bio

2003 - 2008: Program Executive for Mission Operations and Data Analysis (MO&DA) for the Astrophysics Division, Science Mission Directorate, NASA HQ, managing an extensive and scientifically diverse portfolio of astrophysics missions including Chandra, Spitzer, Gravity Probe-B, GALEX, INTEGRAL, RXTE, Suzaku, Swift, WMAP, and XMM-Newton. Also served as Program Scientist for RXTE, Discipline Scientist for High Energy Astrophysics, and Deputy Public Affairs Liaison for the Astrophysics Division.

1988 - 2003: Senior Research Scientist, Universities Space Research Association, at the Laboratory for High Energy Astrophysics, NASA/GSFC. Managed the Rossi X-ray Timing Explorer Guest Observer Facility (1994-2003) and Swift Science Center (1998-2003), with additional management, data analysis, software design and computer programming experience with the BBXRT, ROSAT, ASCA, and HEASARC projects. Co-investigator on the Swift mission.

1985 - 1988: Postdoctoral Research Associate at the Mullard Space Science Laboratory, University College London, U.K., conducting research in X-ray and optical astronomy.

Current Projects


Various new programmatic initiatives.

Temporal and spectroscopic studies of X-ray binaries in the Milky Way and other normal galaxies.


HEASARC Director

NASA/GSFC - Greenbelt, MD

August 2008 - Present


PCOS Chief Scientist (Acting)


September 2016 - January 2017

PCOS Deputy Chief Scientist

NASA/GSFC - Greenbelt, MD

March 2012 - August 2016


Program Executive, Mission Operations and Data Analysis

NASA HQ - Washington DC

February 2003 - August 2008



1986 - D.Phil., Astrophysics, University of Oxford, U.K. Thesis title: "Variability in Stellar X-ray Sources"

1982 - B.A., Physics, University of Oxford, U.K.

Professional Societies

American Astronomical Society

1989 - Present

Royal Astronomical Society


1986 - 1998

International Astronomical Union

2013 - Present


 Robert H. Goddard Honor Awards 2012: HEASARC Team



2022. "EarthShine: Observing our world as an exoplanet from the surface of the Moon." Journal of Astronomical Telescopes, Instruments, and Systems 8 (01): 014003 [10.1117/1.jatis.8.1.014003] [Journal Article/Letter]

2019. "NASA's Long-Term Astrophysics Data Archives." Astronomical Data Analysis Software and Systems XXVI ASP Conference Series, Vol. 521, proceedings of a conference held (16-20 October 2016) at Stazione Marittima Conference Centre, Trieste, Italy. Edited by Marco Molinaro, Keith Shortridge, and Fabio Pasian. San Francisco: Astronomical Society of the Pacific, 2019, p.36 521 36 [Article in Book]

2016. "Investigating the Long-term Variability of 4U1705-44; Evidence for an Underlying Nonlinear Double-Welled Oscillator." American Astronomical Society, HEAD meeting #15, id.120.32 15 120.32 [Full Text] [Journal Article/Letter]

2013. "Spectroscopy of New and Poorly Known Cataclysmic Variables in the Kepler Field." The Astronomical Journal 145 (4): 109 [10.1088/0004-6256/145/4/109] [Journal Article/Letter]

2012. "The Kepler Light Curves of V1504 Cygni and V344 Lyrae: A Study of the Outburst Properties." The Astrophysical Journal 747 117 [Full Text] [10.1088/0004-637X/747/2/117] [Journal Article/Letter]

2012. "Sonification of of Kepler Field SU UMa Cataclysmic Variable Stars V344 Lyr and V1504 Cyg." Journal of the Southeastern Association for Research in Astronomy, vol 6, p 21-35 6 21 [Full Text] [Journal Article/Letter]

2012. "Anomalous Low States and Long-term Variability in the Black Hole Binary LMC X-3." The Astrophysical Journal 756 146 [Full Text] [10.1088/0004-637X/756/2/146] [Journal Article/Letter]

2012. "Kepler observations of V447 Lyr: an eclipsing U Gem Cataclysmic Variable." Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society 425 1479 [Full Text] [10.1111/j.1365-2966.2012.21657.x] [Journal Article/Letter]

2010. "Quiescent Superhumps Detected in the Dwarf Nova V344 Lyrae by Kepler." The Astrophysical Journal Letters 717 L113 [Full Text] [10.1088/2041-8205/717/2/L113] [Journal Article/Letter]

2005. "A short gamma-ray burst apparently associated with an elliptical galaxy at redshift z = 0.225." Nature 437 851-854 [10.1038/nature04142] [Journal Article/Letter]

2005. "A short γ-ray burst apparently associated with an elliptical galaxy at redshift z = 0225." Nature 437 851 [Full Text] [10.1038/nature04142] [Journal Article/Letter]

2005. "Chandra HRC Localization of the Low-Mass X-Ray Binaries X1624-490 and X1702-429: The Infrared Counterparts." The Astrophysical Journal 621 393 [Full Text] [10.1086/427407] [Journal Article/Letter]

2005. "Erratum: ``The Swift Gamma-Ray Burst Mission'' (ApJ, 611, 1005 [2004])." The Astrophysical Journal 621 558 [Full Text] [10.1086/427409] [Journal Article/Letter]

2005. "A short γ-ray burst apparently associated with an elliptical galaxy at redshift z = 0.225." Nature 437 (7060): 851-854 [Full Text] [10.1038/nature04142] [Journal Article/Letter]

2004. "The Long-Term Light Curves of X-Ray Binaries Contain Simultaneous Periodic and Random Components." The Astrophysical Journal 612 1006 [Full Text] [10.1086/421078] [Journal Article/Letter]

2004. "The Swift Gamma‐Ray Burst Mission." The Astrophysical Journal 611 (2): 1005-1020 [Full Text] [10.1086/422091] [Journal Article/Letter]

2003. "The complete Z-diagram of LMC X-2." ApJ 590 1035. [Journal Article/Letter]

2003. "Simultaneous ASCA and Hubble Space Telescope/GHRS Observations of Cygnus X-2/V1341 Cygni." The Publications of the Astronomical Society of the Pacific 115 1124 [Full Text] [10.1086/377089] [Journal Article/Letter]

2002. "Dip spectroscopy of the low mass X-ray binary XB1254-690." ApJ 581 1286. [Journal Article/Letter]

2002. "Understanding the LMXB X2127+119 in M 15 I X-ray eclipses and dips." Astronomy and Astrophysics, v382, p130-140 (2002) 382 130 [Full Text] [10.1051/0004-6361:20011581] [Journal Article/Letter]

2001. "Multiepoch Multiwavelength Spectra and Models for Blazar 3C 279." ApJ 553 683 [Journal Article/Letter]

2001. "The Ephemeris and Dipping Spectral Behavior of 4U 1624-49." The Astrophysical Journal 550 962 [Full Text] [10.1086/319800] [Journal Article/Letter]

2001. "X-Ray and Ultraviolet Orbital Phase Dependence in LMC X-3." The Astrophysical Journal 555 822 [Full Text] [10.1086/321511] [Journal Article/Letter]

2001. "ASCA Observation of MS 1603.6+2600 (=UW Coronae Borealis): A Dipping Low‐Mass X‐Ray Binary in the Outer Halo?." ApJ 561 (2): 938-942 [Full Text] [10.1086/323383] [Journal Article/Letter]

2001. "A Second Intense Burst with Photospheric Radius Expansion from X2127+119 in M15." The Astrophysical Journal 562 957 [Full Text] [10.1086/323517] [Journal Article/Letter]

2000. "No High Frequency Quasi-Periodic Oscillations from the X-ray Burster 1E1724-3045." Advances in Space Research 25 383 [Full Text] [10.1016/S0273-1177(99)00763-2] [Journal Article/Letter]

2000. "LMC X-2: The First Extragalactic Z Source?." The Astrophysical Journal 528 702 [Full Text] [10.1086/308193] [Journal Article/Letter]

2000. "The Low-Mass X-Ray Binary X1832-330 in the Globular Cluster NGC 6652: A Serendipitous ASCA Observation." The Astrophysical Journal 533 352 [Full Text] [10.1086/308648] [Journal Article/Letter]

2000. "The Reappearance of the Transient Low-Mass X-Ray Binary X1658-298." The Astrophysical Journal 534 367 [Full Text] [10.1086/308754] [Journal Article/Letter]

2000. "Canonical Timing and Spectral Behavior of LMC X-3 in the Low/Hard State." The Astrophysical Journal 542 L127 [Full Text] [10.1086/312931] [Journal Article/Letter]

1999. "ASCA Observation of the Dipping X-Ray Source XB 1916-053." ApJ 520 292. [Journal Article/Letter]

1998. "A Type I burst with radius expansion observed from Cygnus X-2 with RXTE." ApJL 498 L141. [Journal Article/Letter]

1997. "Discovery of Kilohertz Quasi-periodic Oscillations from 4U 1820-303 with Rossi X-Ray Timing Explorer." ApJ 483 L119. [Journal Article/Letter]

1996. "Observations of low mass X-ray binaries." Cataclysmic Variables and Related Objects 349 [Article in Book]

1996. "Kilohertz X-ray variability from an accreting neutron star system." ApJL 469 L9. [Journal Article/Letter]

1995. "Orbital period changes of Cygnus X-3." PASJ 47 233. [Journal Article/Letter]

1994. "Precession and Long-Term Cyclic Behavior." The Evolution of X-ray Binaries 525 [Article in Book]

1993. "Resolving the iron K line in Cygnus X-2; an observation with BBXRT." ApJ 410 796. [Journal Article/Letter]

1992. "Long-term variability in LMXBs; a study using data from Vela 5B." ApJ 395 582. [Journal Article/Letter]

1992. "Ginga observations of the dipping low mass X-ray binaries XB1916-053 and EXO0748-676." ApJ 400 330. [Journal Article/Letter]

1991. "A 9.1-hr candidate orbital period in X1556-605." PASP 103 636. [Journal Article/Letter]

1991. "A study of the H Alpha line in X1735-444." ApJ 383 853. [Journal Article/Letter]

1988. "CAL 83: a 1-day period low mass X-ray binary in the LMC." MNRAS 233 51. [Journal Article/Letter]

1988. "X-ray observations of the 50-min dipping source XB1916-053." M.N.R.A.S. 232 647. [Journal Article/Letter]

1986. "A six-second periodic X-ray source in Carina." ApJ 305 814. [Journal Article/Letter]

1984. "A0538-66 during the extended 'off' state; evidence for continuing mass motions." MNRAS 210 855. [Journal Article/Letter]


2023. "The Compton Spectrometer and Imager." arXiv e-prints arXiv:2308.12362 [10.48550/arXiv.2308.12362] [Journal Article/Letter]

2023. "The cosipy library: COSI's high-level analysis software." arXiv e-prints arXiv:2308.11436 [10.48550/arXiv.2308.11436] [Journal Article/Letter]