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HI STAR Students Contribute to Scientific Paper

Picture of beginning of the article in Astronomy & Astrophyics

The beginning of the article showing the authorship of Cameron Chaffey and Christopher Lindsay, as well as IfA Maui Technology Education & Outreach Specialist J. D. Armstrong, who worked with the students on this project. The project was headed by Juan Cabrera of the Institute of Planetary Research in Berlin.

One of the wonderful things about astronomy is that you don’t have to be a professional scientist to make a valuable contribution. Two students who participated in the IfA-sponsored HI STAR (Hawai‘i Student/Teacher Astronomy Research), a program for middle and high school students and their teachers, are among the authors of a paper about exoplanets originally discovered by the CoRoT space mission. The paper has been published in the scholarly journal Astronomy & Astrophysics.

Cameron Chaffey, who attends Torrance High School in California, and Christopher Lindsay, who attends ‘Iolani School on O‘ahu, analyzed data taken with the Faulkes Telescope North, which is part of the Las Cumbres Observatory Global Telescope Network. Their work provided the critical third observation needed to confirm that CoRoT 29b is indeed the type of exoplanet called a “hot Jupiter,” a large, gaseous planet like Jupiter that orbits close to its star and is therefore hot. They were 15 and 13 years of age, respectively, when they did this work, which makes them two of the youngest scientists to ever help discover an exoplanet.