Sciences and Exploration Directorate

Tonia Moira Venters


Tonia Moira Venters's Contact Card & Information.
Phone: 301.614.5546
Org Code: 661
Mail Code 661
Greenbelt, MD 20771

Brief Bio

Toni joined the Astroparticle Physics Laboratory as a civil servant scientist in 2011 following a stint as a NASA Postdoctoral Fellow at Goddard. As an astroparticle theorist (or phenomenologist to particle physicists), she uses modeling to connect observations from NASA's missions to physical processes at work in astrophysical systems and to make predictions for observations by future missions. She is always looking to learn something new, and thankfully, Goddard never fails to disappoint!

Research Interests

High-energy Astrophysics Research

Astrophysics: Theory & Modeling

Dr. Tonia Venters specializes in the acceleration, propagation, and interactions of high-energy particles in a variety of astrophysical systems. Her research includes modeling gamma-ray and neutrino emission from active galactic nuclei and star-forming galaxies. She has also studied the extragalactic gamma-ray background -- modeling both the contributions from point sources, such as blazars and star-forming galaxies, and from truly diffuse emission, such as cascades of TeV gamma rays and ultra-high energy cosmic rays (UHECRs) propagating over cosmological distances. Her work on the extragalactic gamma-ray background has also included studying the impact of the extragalactic magnetic field on its anisotropy characteristics. Her research on UHECRs also includes investigating statistical measures of anisotropy in their arrival directions in order to identify their sources. This research also entails investing impacts on the UHECR anisotropy arising from their composition and their propagation through the cosmological photon backgrounds and intervening magnetic fields. Her research on high-energy neutrinos includes calculating experimental sensitivities to the diffuse astrophysical neutrino flux and investigations of neutrino target-of-opportunity observations of transient astrophysical events. She is also involved in an effort to develop an end-to-end software package (νSpaceSim) for simulating Cherenkov and radio signals from neutrino events propagating through the Earth for suborbital and space-based neutrino observatories. Her research supports current missions, such as the Fermi-LAT and NuSTAR, and future mission concepts and projects, such as AdEPT, AMEGO, AMEGO-X, EUSO-SPB2, FORCE, GECCO, HEX-P, POEMMA, and ZAP.


Research Astrophysicist

NASA Goddard Space Flight Center - Greenbelt, MD

2011 - Present

NASA Postdoctoral Program Fellow

NASA Goddard Space Flight Center/ORAU - Greenbelt, MD

2009 - 2011

Graduate Student Research & Teaching Assistant

University of Chicago - Chicago, IL

2004 - 2009


Ph.D., Astronomy and Astrophysics, University of Chicago (2009)

M.S., Astronomy and Astrophysics, University of Chicago (2006)

B.S., Astrophysics, Rice University (2004)

Professional Service

Professional memberships include the American Astronomical Society (High-energy Astrophysics Division), American Physical Society (Division of Astrophysics, Division of Gravitational Physics, Division of the Physics of Beams), and the National Society of Black Physicists

Professional service includes:

  • AAS Code of Ethics Committee (2018 - present), Chair (2020 - present)
  • APS DAP Executive Committee, Member-at-Large (2018 - 2020)
  • NASA Goddard Association of Postdoctoral Scholars, Vice President/Civil Servant Point-of-Contact (2013 - present)
  • Sciences and Exploration Directorate Director's Committee (2012 - 2014), Secretary (2013 - 2014)


Astrophysics Science Division Peer Award - 2013

NASA Postdoctoral Program Fellowship - 2009

National Science Foundation Graduate Research Fellowship - 2005

American Physical Society Minority Scholarship - 2002

Mellon Mays Undergraduate Fellowship - 2002

Selected Publications


2020. "POEMMA’s target-of-opportunity sensitivity to cosmic neutrino transient sources." Physical Review D 102 (12): 123013 [10.1103/physrevd.102.123013] [Journal Article/Letter]

2020. "Performance and science reach of the Probe of Extreme Multimessenger Astrophysics for ultrahigh-energy particles." Physical Review D 101 (2): 023012 [10.1103/physrevd.101.023012] [Journal Article/Letter]

2019. "Neutron Stars and Black Holes in the Small Magellanic Cloud: The SMC NuSTAR Legacy Survey." The Astrophysical Journal 884 (1): 2 [10.3847/1538-4357/ab3f32] [Journal Article/Letter]

2019. "Cosmic tau neutrino detection via Cherenkov signals from air showers from Earth-emerging taus." Physical Review D 100 (6): 063010 [10.1103/physrevd.100.063010] [Journal Article/Letter]

2018. "Unresolved Gamma-Ray Sky through its Angular Power Spectrum." Physical Review Letters 121 (24): 241101 [10.1103/physrevlett.121.241101] [Journal Article/Letter]

2018. "The Search for Spatial Extension in High-latitude Sources Detected by the Fermi Large Area Telescope." The Astrophysical Journal Supplement Series 237 (2): 32 [10.3847/1538-4365/aacdf7] [Journal Article/Letter]

2018. "Fermi-LAT Observations of LIGO/Virgo Event GW170817." The Astrophysical Journal 861 (2): 85 [10.3847/1538-4357/aac515] [Journal Article/Letter]

2017. "Multi-messenger Observations of a Binary Neutron Star Merger." The Astrophysical Journal 848 (2): L12 [10.3847/2041-8213/aa91c9] [Journal Article/Letter]

2016. "Localization and Broadband Follow-up of the Gravitational-wave Transient GW150914." Astrophysical Journal Letters 826 L13 [10.3847/2041-8205/826/1/L13] [Journal Article/Letter]

2016. "A HARD X-RAY STUDY OF THE NORMAL STAR-FORMING GALAXY M83 WITH NuSTAR." The Astrophysical Journal 824 (2): 107 [10.3847/0004-637x/824/2/107] [Journal Article/Letter]

2016. "FERMI-LAT OBSERVATIONS OF THE LIGO EVENT GW150914." The Astrophysical Journal 823 (1): L2 [10.3847/2041-8205/823/1/l2] [Journal Article/Letter]

2015. "A FOCUSED, HARD X-RAY LOOK AT ARP 299 WITHNuSTAR." The Astrophysical Journal 800 (2): 104 [10.1088/0004-637x/800/2/104] [Journal Article/Letter]

2014. "SPATIALLY RESOLVING A STARBURST GALAXY AT HARD X-RAY ENERGIES:NuSTAR,CHANDRA, AND VLBA OBSERVATIONS OF NGC 253." The Astrophysical Journal 797 (2): 79 [10.1088/0004-637x/797/2/79] [Journal Article/Letter]

2013. "NuSTAR AND CHANDRA INSIGHT INTO THE NATURE OF THE 3-40 keV NUCLEAR EMISSION IN NGC 253." The Astrophysical Journal 771 (2): 134 [10.1088/0004-637x/771/2/134] [Journal Article/Letter]

2013. "Probing the intergalactic magnetic field with the anisotropy of the extragalactic gamma-ray background." Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society 432 (4): 3485-3494 [10.1093/mnras/stt697] [Journal Article/Letter]

2011. "THE EFFECT OF BLAZAR SPECTRAL BREAKS ON THE BLAZAR CONTRIBUTION TO THE EXTRAGALACTIC GAMMA-RAY BACKGROUND." The Astrophysical Journal 737 (2): 80 [10.1088/0004-637x/737/2/80] [Journal Article/Letter]

2011. "COMPONENTS OF THE EXTRAGALACTIC GAMMA-RAY BACKGROUND." The Astrophysical Journal 736 (1): 40 [10.1088/0004-637x/736/1/40] [Journal Article/Letter]

2010. "Update on the correlation of the highest energy cosmic rays with nearby extragalactic matter." Astroparticle Physics 34 (5): 314-326 [10.1016/j.astropartphys.2010.08.010] [Journal Article/Letter]

2010. "CONTRIBUTION TO THE EXTRAGALACTIC GAMMA-RAY BACKGROUND FROM THE CASCADES OF VERY HIGH ENERGY GAMMA RAYS FROM BLAZARS." The Astrophysical Journal 710 (2): 1530-1540 [10.1088/0004-637x/710/2/1530] [Journal Article/Letter]

2009. "THE EXTRAGALACTIC BACKGROUND LIGHT ABSORPTION FEATURE IN THE BLAZAR COMPONENT OF THE EXTRAGALACTIC GAMMA-RAY BACKGROUND." The Astrophysical Journal 703 (2): 1939-1946 [10.1088/0004-637x/703/2/1939] [Journal Article/Letter]

2009. "The 2pt+: an enhanced 2 point correlation function." Journal of Cosmology and Astroparticle Physics 2009 (07): 023-023 [10.1088/1475-7516/2009/07/023] [Journal Article/Letter]

2009. "Upper limit on the cosmic-ray photon fraction at EeV energies from the Pierre Auger Observatory." Astroparticle Physics 31 (6): 399-406 [10.1016/j.astropartphys.2009.04.003] [Journal Article/Letter]

2009. "Limit on the diffuse flux of ultrahigh energy tau neutrinos with the surface detector of the Pierre Auger Observatory." Physical Review D 79 (10): 102001 [10.1103/physrevd.79.102001] [Journal Article/Letter]

2008. "Observation of the Suppression of the Flux of Cosmic Rays above4×1019  eV." Physical Review Letters 101 (6): 061101 [10.1103/physrevlett.101.061101] [Journal Article/Letter]

2008. "Correlation of the highest-energy cosmic rays with the positions of nearby active galactic nuclei." Astroparticle Physics 29 (3): 188-204 [10.1016/j.astropartphys.2008.01.002] [Journal Article/Letter]

2008. "The Spectral Shape of the Gamma‐Ray Background from Blazars." The Astrophysical Journal 673 (1): 114-118 [10.1086/523956] [Journal Article/Letter]

2007. "Correlation of the Highest-Energy Cosmic Rays with Nearby Extragalactic Objects." Science 318 (5852): 938-943 [10.1126/science.1151124] [Journal Article/Letter]

2007. "The Spectral Index Distribution of EGRET Blazars: Prospects forGLAST." The Astrophysical Journal 666 (1): 128-138 [10.1086/519487] [Journal Article/Letter]

2007. "Anisotropy studies around the galactic centre at EeV energies with the Auger Observatory." Astroparticle Physics 27 (4): 244-253 [10.1016/j.astropartphys.2006.11.002] [Journal Article/Letter]

2007. "An upper limit to the photon fraction in cosmic rays above 1019eV from the Pierre Auger Observatory." Astroparticle Physics 27 (2-3): 155-168 [10.1016/j.astropartphys.2006.10.004] [Journal Article/Letter]