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John Trauger

Photo of John Trauger


4800 Oak Grove Drive
M/S 183-900

Pasadena, CA 91109



Member of:

Astrophysics & Space Sciences

Senior Research Scientist


John Trauger is a Senior Research Scientist at the Jet Propulsion Laboratory. His research has emphasized planetary astronomy via novel interferometric methods for spectroscopy, spectral imaging, and coronagraphy. He served as Principal Investigator for Hubble Space Telescope's Wide Field and Planetary Camera 2 instrument, for which he was awarded NASA's Outstanding Leadership Medal. Inspired by the unique advantages of the space observatory, he has developed mission concepts and key coronagraph and wavefront control technologies for the direct imaging of exoplanet systems, for which he was awarded NASA’s Exceptional Public Service Medal. He contributes to the development of a coronagraph instrument for the Nancy Grace Roman space observatory as well as follow-on space mission concepts. Dr.Trauger is a Fellow of the American Astronomical Society.


  • PhD in Physics, University of Wisconsin - Madison
  • BA in Physics, Oberlin College

Professional Experience

  • Senior Research Scientist, Jet Propulsion Laboratory (1997--)
  • Principal Investigator, Super Lyot ExoEarth Coronagraph Study for Habex and LUVOIR, NASA Strategic Astrophysics Technology program (2017--)
  • WFIRST Coronagraph Instrument Scientist (2017-2019)
  • Principal Investigator, ACCESS Concept Study, NASA Astrophysics Strategic Mission Concept Studies program (2009-2012)
  • Supervisor, Origins of Stars and Planets Research Group, Astrophysics and Space Sciences Section (2004-2015)
  • Principal Investigator, Hubble Space Telescope Wide Field and Planetary Camera 2 (1985-2009)
  • Member, WFC3 Science Oversight Committee (1998-2009)
  • Member, Hubble Space Telescope Science Working Group, Instrument Development Working Group, Servicing Science Working Group, and User’s Committee (1986-1997)

Selected Awards

  • NASA Exceptional Public Service Medal, for the development of coronagraph technologies and mission concepts for space-based exoplanet direct imaging (2020)
  • Fellow of the American Astronomical Society (2019)
  • Asteroid 5968 Trauger, for defining and leading the scientific and technical aspects of the WFPC2 project (1998)
  • Harold Masursky Award, AAS Division of Planetary Sciences, for meritorious service to planetary science (1997)
  • NASA Outstanding Leadership Medal, for the scientific development of the Wide Field and Planetary Camera 2 for the Hubble Space Telescope (1994)

Selected Publications

  1. J. Trauger, D. Moody, J. Krist, B. Gordon, “Hybrid Lyot Coronagraph for WFIRST-AFTA: coronagraph design and performance metrics,” J. Astron. Telesc. Instrum. Syst. 2, 011013 (, 2016.
  2. J. Trauger, "Development of the Wide Field and Planetary Camera 2," in "Hubble’s Legacy: Reflections by Those Who Dreamed It, Built It, and Observed the Universe with It, " R. Launius and D. DeVorkin, eds., 2014.
  3. J. Trauger, D. Moody, B. Gordon, “Complex apodized Lyot coronagraph for exoplanet imaging with partially obscured telescope apertures,” Proc. SPIE 8864, 886412, 2013.
  4. J. Trauger et al., “The Hybrid Lyot Coronagraph, Final Report to the NASA Strategic Astrophysics Technology – Technology Demonstrations for Exoplanet Missions (SAT-TDEM) program, JPL Document D-78698, 2012.
  5. J. Trauger et al., “Complex apodization Lyot coronagraphy for the direct imaging of exoplanet systems: design, fabrication, and laboratory demonstration,” Proc. SPIE 8442, 84424Q, 2012.
  6. J. Trauger, et al., “ACCESS – A concept study for the direct imaging and spectroscopy of exoplanetary systems,” Final Report to the NASA Astrophysics Strategic Mission Concept Studies Program, Public Version, 2009; Proc. SPIE 7731, 773128, 2010; and Pathways towards Habitable Planets, ASP Conf. Series 430, 375, 2010.
  7. J. Trauger and W. Traub, “A laboratory demonstration of the capability to image an Earth-like extrasolar planet,” Nature 446, 771, 2007.
  8. J. Trauger, D. Moody, B. Gordon, Y. Gursel, M. Ealey, and R. Bagwell, "Performance of a precision high-density deformable mirror for extremely high contrast imaging astronomy from space," Proc. SPIE 4854, 1, 2003.
  9. J. Trauger, "High Contrast Coronagraphic Imaging with NGST," in Next Generation Space Telescope Science and Technology, Astronomical Society of the Pacific Conference Series 207, 165, 2000.
  10. J. Trauger, J. Clarke, G. Ballester, et al., "Saturn's hydrogen aurora: Wide Field and Planetary Camera 2 imaging from the Hubble Space Telescope," Journal of Geophysical Research 103, 237, 1998.
  11. J. Trauger, G. Ballester, C. Burrows, S. Casertano, J. Clarke, D. Crisp, R. Evans, J. Gallagher, R. Griffiths, J. Hester, J. Hoessel, J. Holtzman, J. Mould, P. Scowen, K. Stapelfeldt, A. Watson, J. Westphal, "The on-orbit performance of WFPC2," Astrophysical Journal Letters 435, L3, 1994.
  12. J. Trauger and J. Lunine, "Spectroscopy of Molecular Oxygen in the Atmospheres of Venus and Mars," Icarus 55, 272, 1983.
  13. J. Trauger, "The Jovian Nebula: a Post-Voyager Perspective," Nature 337, 341, 1984.
  14. J. Trauger, G. Muench, and F. Roesler, "A study of the Jovian [S II] nebula at high spectral resolution," Astrophysical Journal 236, 1035, 1980.
  15. J. Trauger and M. Mickelson, "Laboratory Absorption Strengths and Line Shape Parameters in the 4-0, 5-0, and 6-0 Vibration Bands of HD," Icarus 56, 176, 1983.
  16. J. Trauger, F. Roesler, N. Carleton, and W. Traub, "Observation of HD on Jupiter and the D/H Ratio," Astrophysical Journal Letters 184, L137, 1973.