In my professional life, I'm a Staff Scientist at the Stratospheric Observatory For Infrared Astronomy (SOFIA) at the NASA Ames Research Center, located in the heart of Silicon Valley. As a scientist at SOFIA, I wear multiple hats. My primary responsibility is as an Instrument Scientist for the FORCAST mid-infrared imager & grism spectrometer. I also take on the role as User Support Scientist, providing support to scientists around the world who wish to learn more about SOFIA and who have questions about their active observations. And finally, with whatever time I have remaining, I'm allowed to conduct my own research! One might argue that's the fun bit!


Ph.D., Astrophysics - University of Minnesota, Twin Cities - 2010

Advisors: R.D. Gehrz & C.E. Woodward
Thesis Title: Photometric and Spectroscopic Analysis of Classical Novae: An Examination of Their Observational Properties and Greater Astronomical Impact

B.Sc., Physics & Astronomy - University of Iowa - 2004

William R. Savage Memorial Award Recipient


2014 - Present: Research Scientist - USRA/SOFIA

2012 - 2014: Assistant Instrument Scientist - USRA/SOFIA

2012 - 2014: Adjunct Lecturer - Santa Clara University

2010 - 2012: Visiting Post-Doctoral Scientist - USRA/SOFIA

2007: Adjunct Lecturer - University of Minnesota, Twin Cities


Notable Publications

A New Method of Elemental Abundance Determination for Classical Novae: V5668 Sgr (Nova Sgr 2015)L.A. Helton, et al. 2018, in prep

Elemental Abundances in the Ejecta of Old Classical Novae from Late-Epoch Spitzer SpectraL.A. Helton, et al. 2012, ApJ, 755, 37

The Dusty Nova V1065 Centauri (Nova Cen 2007): A Spectroscopic Analysis of Abundances and Dust PropertiesL.A. Helton, et al. 2010, AJ, 140, 1347


Stratospheric Observatory For Infrared Astronomy (SOFIA)

NASA Ames Research Center
Building N232, MS 232-12
Moffett Field, CA, 94035


More information is available on my RESEARCH page. 

My full Curriculum Vitae can be found HERE.