United States Air Force Academy

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Dr. Devin Della-Rosa

Associate Professor of Physics

Department of Physics

Devin Della-Rose
Contact Information

(719) 333-3266



Dr. Della-Rose has 20 years of Air Force experience as a military officer in providing space weather support to DOD operations, developing new space weather support technologies, and in graduate space physics education of Air Force officers at the Air Force Institute of Technology (AFIT). As an AFIT professor, he taught numerous graduate physics courses including introductory space physics, atmospheric radiation transport, ionospheric chemistry and dynamics, solar physics, and space weather forecasting and modeling. In addition, he advised master’s degree research for 10 Air Force Officers. His research interests include the electron temperature structure of the mid- to high-latitude ionosphere, magnetic indices of space weather storm activity, field-aligned currents, astronomical photometry, astrometry, and the search for extra-solar planets. Dr. Della-Rose worked extensively on comparing radar-derived electron temperatures in the upper ionosphere against model predictions, thereby providing important constraints on space weather storm energy predicted by numerical models. He also developed a high time resolution index of geomagnetic activity in efforts to better characterize the temporal variations of space weather storms. Finally, he served as a technical liaison officer with Hughes STX Corporation for the testing and operational transition of a suite of solar, magnetospheric, and ionospheric space weather prediction models.

After his retirement from the active-duty Air Force in 2005, Dr. Della-Rose became Associate Professor of Physics at the United States Air Force Academy. He has taught introductory mechanics, honors mechanics, and electricity and magnetism courses. In addition, he has instructed upper-division courses in space physics, electricity and magnetism, astronomy, astrophysics, and observational astronomical techniques. He has also mentored nineteen cadet research projects ranging from astronomical seeing characterization to space weather storm auroral zone impacts to exoplanet studies. Dr. Della-Rose has served as Director of the USAFA Observatory since 2007, and concurrently as the faculty mentor for the USAFA Physics and Astronomy Club, a group of 80+ cadets hosting public education and outreach events at the USAFA Observatory. Dr. Della-Rose has also served as a government representative for USAFA’s two-meter class, fast-tracking telescope project, participating with technical, civil engineering, communication, legal, and contract experts in a $19.4M design/build acquisition. In 2010, Dr. Della-Rose led the $150K effort to upgrade USAFA’s 41cm telescope to track LEO spacecraft, resulting in the first-ever images of the newly-launched FalconSAT-5. In 2012, Dr. Della-Rose integrated a high-resolution spectrograph with the USAFA Observatory’s 61-cm telescope, and this instrument now supports cadet research projects to study stellar spectral features, stellar radial velocities, and exoplanets.


PhD, Physics, Utah State University (1999)

Master of Science, Space Physics, Utah State University (1992)

Bachelor of Science, Meteorology, Penn State University (1987)

Bachelor of Science, Physics and Astronomy, Texas Christian University (1985)

Professional Experience

Associate Professor, Physics, U.S. Air Force Academy (2008-present)

Assistant Professor, Physics, U.S. Air Force Academy (2005-2008)

Retired from Active Duty , U.S.Air Force (2005)

Assistant Professor, Space Physics, Department of Engineering Physics, Air Force Institute of Technology (1999-2005)

Ph.D., U.S. Air Force Institute of Technology Student, Civilian Institute Program, Utah State University (1996-1999)

Techniques Development Officer and Space Weather Forecast Team Chief, U.S. Air Force Space Forecast Center, Falcon AFB, Colorado (1992-1995)

Master of Science, U.S. Air Force Institute of Technology Student / Civilian Institute, Utah State University (1990-1992)

Staff Weather Officer, Air Force Space Command, U.S. Space Command, and the North American Aerospace Defense Command, Peterson AFB, Colorado (1987-1990)

Honors & Awards

Promoted to Associate Professor of Physics (2008)

U.S. Air Force Academy Outstanding Educator in Physics (2008)

AFIT Board of Visitors Ezra Kotcher Award for Most Outstanding Contribution to an AFIT Graduate Education Program (2004)

Steering committee member, Community Coordinated (Space Weather) Modeling Center (2004)

Merewether Award for Outstanding Technical Contribution (2004)

Air Force Weather Command Meteorologist Badge (2002)

Merewether Award for Outstanding Technical Contribution (2002)

Merewether Award for Outstanding Technical Contribution (2001)

AFIT Academic Standards Committee Chair (2001-2002)

Academic Promotion to Assistant Professor (1999)

National Dean’s List (1996-1997)

Air Force Weather Senior Meteorologist Badge (1997)

Air Force Space Forecast Center Officer of the Quarter (1994)

Merewether Award for Outstanding Technical Contribution (1993)

Air Force Nominee to NASA Astronaut Program (1993)

Air Force Space Command Officer of the Quarter (1988)

Commissioned 2nd Lieutenant, USAF (1985)

Texas Christian University Chancellor’s Award (1984)

Texas Christian University Alumni Association Award (1984)

Air Force ROTC 3.5 year Academic Scholarship (1982)

Research and Scholarly Interests

Astronomy, space physics, space situational awareness


Dunsmore, A., A. Samlowski, D.J. Della-Rose, D. Polsgrove, and S. Novotny, “Radial Velocity Measurements with Small Telescopes: Educational Utility for Future Exoplanet Researchers,” Emerging Researchers in Exoplanet Science Symposium, The Pennsylvania State University, PA, May 2015.

Dunsmore, A., R. Esselstein, S. Panoncillo, A. Samlowski, D.J. Della-Rose, D. Polsgrove, and S. Novotny, “Echelle Spectroscopy Studies of the Star Tau Bootis,” Colorado Springs Undergraduate Research Forum, Colorado College, CO, April 2015.

Latch, S.E., G.M. Spahr, and D.J. Della-Rose, “Investigation of Transit Timing Variations of Wasp 12b,” Colorado Springs Undergraduate Research Forum, Colorado College, CO, April 2012.

Bloomer, R.H., D.J. Della-Rose, A. Todt, J.D. Zimmerman, and S.D. Hitefield, “Study of the Eccentric-Orbit Binary GSC 03152-01202,” Information Bulletin on Variable Stars, 2011, IBVS #5962.

Jost, T.R., M.E. Dearborn, F.K. Chun, J. Clark, J.J.F. Liu, M.G. McHarg, D.J. Della-Rose, and R.D. Tippets, “A new undergraduate course on the physics of space situational awareness,” The 2009 AMOS Technical Conference Proceedings, The Maui Economic Development Board, Inc., Kihei, Maui, HI, 2009, pp. 602-612.

Barnes, Graham, Kimberly D. Leka, Evelyn A. Schumer, and Devin J. Della-Rose. “Probabilistic Forecasting of Solar Flares from Vector Magnetogram Data,” Space Weather Quarterly, 4: 23-31 (Oct 2007).

Knipp, Delores J., Devin J. J. Della-Rose, Omar Nava, and W. Kent Tobiska. “Long- and Short-Term Variations in Thermospheric Heating Sources,” Proceedings of the 2005 American Astronautical Society Astrodynamics Conference: 31-48 (2006).

Della-Rose, Devin J. “A Graphical Interpretation of the Electrical Conductivity Tensor,” Journal of Atmospheric and Solar-Terrestrial Physics, 67: 337-343 (Feb 2005).

Lai, S.T., and D.J. Della-Rose. “Spacecraft Charging at Geosynchronous Altitudes: New Evidence of Existence of Critical Temperature,” Journal of Spacecraft and Rockets, Vol. 38, No. 6, November–December 2001.

Della-Rose, Devin J., Jan J. Sojka, Lie Zhu, Robert W. Schunk, Michael David. “Driving the High-Latitude Ionosphere with Variable Time Resolution “K-Like” Geomagnetic Indices,” Journal of Atmospheric and Solar-Terrestrial Physics, 62: 773-786 (June 2000).

Della-Rose, Devin J., Jan J. Sojka, Lie Zhu. “Resolving Geomagnetic Disturbances using “K-like” Geomagnetic Indices with Variable Time Intervals,” Journal of Atmospheric and Solar-Terrestrial Physics, 61: 1179-1194 (October 1999).

Della-Rose, Devin J. “An Investigation of Variable-Time Interval ‘K-Like’ Geomagnetic Indices,” Ph.D. Dissertation, Utah State University, 1999.

Della-Rose, Devin J. “A Derivation of the Topside Heat Flux Using Incoherent Scatter Radar Observations,” M.S. Thesis, Utah State University, 1992.

Della-Rose, Devin J. “The Angry Sun: How it affects space operations,” Air Force Space Command monthly magazine, March 1990.

Della-Rose, Devin J. “Space Environmental Effects on Air Force Space Command Operations,” AFSPC Pamphlet 105-4, 1989.