Odenwald, Sten

April 25, 2009, 3:27 pm
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Sten Odenwald, Ph D.

Homepage/Curriculum Vitae

Current Positions

  • 1997-Present    Education and Public Outreach, NASA-IMAGE Program.
  • 1998-2005       Scientific Content Developer, NASA - Sun-Earth Connection Education Forum, Goddard Space Flight Center.
  • 2001-2003       Education and Public Outreach, NASA-LWS/Radiation Belts Program.
  • 2002-Present   Education and Public Outreach, NRL- Solar-B/EIS Program.
  • 2003-Present   Education and Public Outreach, NASA-THEMIS/GEON Program.

Biographical Sketch

Sten Odenwald received his Ph.D in Astronomy from Harvard University in 1982, and has worked extensively in the area of infrared astronomy using data from IRAS and COBE satellites, as well as ground-based data from the 2MASS survey. His research work has involved the co-discovery and investigation of the cosmic infrared background and the 'first light' from infant galaxies.

Since 1998, he has worked in the field of education for various NASA missions such as IMAGE, Hinode and Themis. This solar and space physics-related education for NASA has led him into the area of space weather research where he has been currently involved in studies of solar superstorms and modeling their economic consequences.

He is the author of books such as The Astronomy Cafe, The 23rd Cycle, Patterns in the Void, and Back to the Astronomy Cafe published in 2003, along with contributed articles to Space Science and to Stargate. He is a science textbook consultant and author for Holt Rinehart and Winston, and Glenco. He is also the recipient of the 1999 Goddard Space Flight Center Excellence in Outreach Award and the Popular Writing Award from the American Astronomical Society, Solar Physics Division.

He has written numerous articles for The Washington Post, Sky and Telescope and Astronomy magazines on cosmology and solar physics. He is a frequent planetarium speaker, and conducts adult education courses in astronomy at Johns Hopkins University and the Smithsonian Institution, as well as the prestigious Shapley Lecturer Program with the American Astronomical Society.  He has appeared on a number of radio talk shows including National Public Radio, and has been an occasional co-Host for the Emmy Award-winning NASA/CONNECT TV series. Since 1995, he has hosted an award-winning web site called the Astronomy Cafe (www.astronomycafe.net) where he has answered over 45,000 questions since 1995.

Before turning professional, Sten Odenwald started out as an amateur astronomer in Oakland, California at age 10 when his Papa showed him the stars in Orion's Belt.

Educational Background

  • Ph.D in Astronomy from Harvard University, 1982. (Ph.D Dissertation: A Far-Infrared Survey of the Galactic Center.)
  • A.M in Astronomy from Harvard University, 1976.
  • A.B in Astronomy from U.C. Berkeley, 1975.

Recent Publications

  • "Clustering of the diffuse infrared light from the COBE/DIRBE maps. III. Kashlinsky,A., and Odenwald, S.  2000, Ap.J.  v. 528, 74.
  • "Detection of Small-Scale Fluctuations in the Near-IR Cosmic Infrared Background from Long-exposure 2MASS fields", 2002, ApJ(Letters) 579, L53.
  • "Analysis of the Diffuse Near-Infrared Emission from 2MASS Deep Integration Data: Foregrounds Versus Cosmic Infrared Background", 2003, ApJ 583, p. 535.
  • “Forecasting the Impact of an 1859-Calibre Superstorm on Satellite Resources’, 2006, Advances in Space Research, May (In Press).
  • “Eyewitness Accounts of the 1859 Superstorm’, 2006, Advances in Space Research, May (In Press).


  • "Highlights: The Supporting Research and Technology Program Annual Report", 2003. (NP-2003-5-308-HQ)
  • "Space Weather", 2001, NASA Lithograph Set, (LG-2001-9-034-GSFC)
  • "Are You Ready for Solar Max?", 2000, (EB-2000-02-005-GSFC)     
  • "The 23rd Cycle:Learning to live with a stormy star", 2001 Univ.  Columbia Press. 
  • "Patterns in the Void: Why nothing is important", 2002, (Westview Press)
  •  "Back to the Astronomy Café", 2003, (Westview Press: Boulder) 
  • "Concepts in Space Science", 2002, (Universities Press: ISRO)

Honors and Awards

  • 2000     AAS Solar Physics Division Popular Science Writing Award
  • 2001     Raytheon ITSS, Education and Public Outreach Award
  • 2002     Emmy Award for Educational TV Program - NASA/CONNECT
  • 2003     Telly Award  for Educational TV Program - NASA/CONNECT
  • 2004     Emmy Award for Educational TV Program ‘Transit of Venus’ NASA/CONNECT
  • 2005     NASA Education Group Achievement Award ‘Transit of Venus’
  • 2006     Excellence in Outreach Award - Eclipse 2006: In a Different Light'






Wallace, M. (2009). Odenwald, Sten. Retrieved from http://www.cosmosportal.org/view/article/136083


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