Dr. Joachim Moeyens

Dr. Joachim Moeyens

Institute Researcher

Asteroid Institute


Joachim Moeyens is a researcher at the University of Washington DiRAC Institute and at Asteroid Institute, a program of B612.

For his undergraduate studies, Moeyens attended the University of Washington where he earned a Bachelor’s degree in Physics and Astronomy. During his studies he had the opportunity to work on research projects related to the Vera C. Rubin Observatory with Professor Zeljko Ivezic. It is here that he discovered his passion for research in modern astronomy – a delicate balance of cutting-edge science and the software engineering to enable that science. After completing his undergraduate studies, Joachim continued to work as a post-baccalaureate researcher with a focus on understanding the Rubin Observatory’s Solar System asteroid discovery performance.

Moeyens pursued his Masters and PhD degrees in Astronomy at the University of Washington. His doctoral dissertation focused on the characterization and discovery of asteroids in modern astronomical surveys. For his dissertation, he and Professor Mario Juric developed an algorithm named Tracklet-less Heliocentric Orbit Recovery (THOR) – a next-generation asteroid discovery algorithm designed to find asteroids in datasets not historically suited for such searches.

He is now leading the development of THOR as it is extended to find the most dangerous asteroids, and is helping deploy THOR as an asteroid discovery service capable of discovering asteroids in observations from observatories around the world.







In the News

Wired — “For Modern Astronomers, It’s Learn to Code or Get Left Behind”

The New York TimesKiller Asteroids Are Hiding in Plain Sight. A New Tool Helps Spot Them

Wired — “The First Privately Funded Killer Asteroid Spotter Is Here



Social Media

Go to Joachim’s LinkedIn profile.



Languages Spoken





Moeyens, J., Jurić, M., Ford, J., Bektešević, D., Connolly, A. J., Eggl, S., Ivezić, Ž., Jones, R. L., Kalmbach, J. B., & Smotherman, H. (2021). THOR: An Algorithm for Cadence-Independent Asteroid Discovery. The Astronomical Journal, 162(4), 143. https://doi.org/10.3847/1538-3881/ac042b 

Moeyens, J., Myhrvold, N., & Ivezić, Ž. (2020). ATM: An open-source tool for asteroid thermal modeling and its application to NEOWISE data. Icarus, 341, 113575. https://doi.org/10.1016/J.ICARUS.2019.113575 

Ivezić, Ž., Kahn, S. M., Tyson, J. A., Abel, B., Acosta, E., Allsman, R., Alonso, D., AlSayyad, Y., Anderson, S. F., Andrew, J., P. Angel, J. R., Angeli, G. Z., Ansari, R., Antilogus, P., Araujo, C., Armstrong, R., Arndt, K. T., Astier, P., Aubourg, É., … Zhan, H. (2019). LSST: From Science Drivers to Reference Design and Anticipated Data Products. The Astrophysical Journal, 873(2), 111. https://doi.org/10.3847/1538-4357/ab042c 

Jones, R. L., Slater, C. T., Moeyens, J., Allen, L., Axelrod, T., Cook, K., Ivezić, Ž., Jurić, M., Myers, J., & Petry, C. E. (2018). The Large Synoptic Survey Telescope as a Near-Earth Object discovery machine. Icarus, 303, 181–202. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.icarus.2017.11.033