Luke Keller

DANA Professor, Department of Physics and Astronomy



Luke Keller

Luke Keller is a co-investigator on a team of scientists and engineers who produced an infrared camera for NASA’s new airborne Stratospheric Observatory for Infrared Astronomy (SOFIA). He finalized the optical design for the camera and leads development of the data analysis software. Keller also leads a team that is implementing upgrades to the new camera that will allow spectral observations enabling astronomers to measure chemical composition of astronomical objects. He serves on review panels for NASA and other scientific agencies.

Keller is part of a team using data from the Infrared Spectrometer on the Spitzer Space Telescope to study circum-stellar disks (dusty material orbiting young stars). Studying visible light and infrared spectra gathered at Earth- and space-based observatories has given him new insights into the chemical composition, physical characteristics, and formation of planetary systems.

Since 2004 Keller has implemented new methods for teaching large-enrollment introductory physics courses to non-majors. He is a co-investigator on an NSF-funded project to test classroom methods focusing on student learning of introductory physics and astronomy with group discussions and student-centered activities replacing traditional lecture-only formats.

Research Focus

  • Star and planet formation
  • Infrared astronomy
  • Spectroscopy and astrochemistry
  • SOFIA (Stratospheric Observatory for Infrared Astronomy)
  • Optical engineering
  • Astronomical telescopes and instrumentation
  • Extra-terrestrial life
  • Student-centered methods of teaching introductory physics
  • Spitzer Space Telescope
  • Mirror-based telescope system
  • Circum-stellar discs


University of Texas at Austin

  • Ph.D., Astronomy, 1999

University of Texas at Austin

  • M.A., Astronomy, 1995

University of Arizona, Tucson

  • B.Sc., Physics, 1990