Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Students Using NASA And NSF Data Make Stellar Discovery; Win Science Team Competition

Date:
December 21, 2000
Source:
NASA/Marshall Space Flight Center
Summary:
Three high school students, using data from NASA's Chandra X-ray Observatory and the National Science Foundation's Very Large Array (VLA), won first place in the Siemens-Westinghouse Science and Technology Competition in Washington, DC. The team award was based on their discovery of the first evidence of a neutron star in the nearby supernova remnant IC443.

December 11, 2000 -- Three high school students, using data from NASA's Chandra X-ray Observatory and the National Science Foundation's Very Large Array (VLA), today won first place in the Siemens-Westinghouse Science and Technology Competition in Washington, DC. The team award was based on their discovery of the first evidence of a neutron star in the nearby supernova remnant IC443.

Related Articles


Charles Olbert, 18, Christopher Clearfield, 18, and Nikolas Williams, 16, all of the North Carolina School for Science and Mathematics (NCSSM) in Durham, N.C., found a point-like source of X-rays embedded in the remains of the stellar explosion, or supernova. Based on both the X-ray and radio data, the students determined that the central object in IC443 is most likely a young and rapidly rotating neutron star – an object known as a pulsar.

"This is a really solid scientific finding," said Dr. Bryan Gaensler of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Cambridge, a pulsar expert who reviewed the paper for the team. "Everyone involved should be really proud of this accomplishment."

Taking advantage of Chandra's superior angular resolution, the students found the source embedded in a region known to be emitting particularly high-energy X-rays. They had access to Chandra data because their science teacher, Dr. Jonathan Keohane, had applied for observation time while associated with NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center, Greenbelt, M.D.

"The students really went through the whole analysis process themselves," Keohane said. "They even lived together all summer near the school to complete the research."

In order to confirm the evidence from Chandra, the students turned to Dale Frail of the National Radio Astronomy Observatory in Socorro, N.M., who gave the team VLA data on IC443. The information strengthened the team's case that a pulsar powers the supernova remnant by confirming the existence of the point-like source and discovering a cloud, or nebula, of high-energy electrons around the central object. Such nebulas are a common characteristic of pulsars.

"The experience of doing new and relevant science has been one of the most rewarding experiences I have ever had," said Olbert, lead author on the paper submitted to the Astrophysical Journal. "I never expected to publish a scientific paper while I was still in high school."

The remnant of the IC443 supernova is a well-studied object. Astronomers have searched this region (approximately 5,000 light-years from Earth) for the neutron star, created in the explosion, that they thought should be there, judging from the size and dynamics of the supernova remnant.

The Siemens-Westinghouse Science and Technology Competition is open to individuals and teams of high school students who develop independent research projects in the physical or biological sciences or mathematics. The NCSSM is a free statewide residential high school for students with a strong aptitude and interest in math and science. About 550 high school juniors and seniors reside on the school's campus.

The National Radio Astronomy Observatory is a facility of the National Science Foundation, operated under cooperative agreement by Associated Universities, Inc. NASA's Marshall Space Flight Center, Huntsville, Ala., manages the Chandra program. The Smithsonian's Chandra X-ray Center, Cambridge, Mass., controls science and flight operations.

For more information on NASA's Chandra X-ray Observatory, visit the Chandra site at:

http://chandra.harvard.eduandhttp://chandra.nasa.gov


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by NASA/Marshall Space Flight Center. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Cite This Page:

NASA/Marshall Space Flight Center. "Students Using NASA And NSF Data Make Stellar Discovery; Win Science Team Competition." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 21 December 2000. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2000/12/001211201242.htm>.
NASA/Marshall Space Flight Center. (2000, December 21). Students Using NASA And NSF Data Make Stellar Discovery; Win Science Team Competition. ScienceDaily. Retrieved March 27, 2015 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2000/12/001211201242.htm
NASA/Marshall Space Flight Center. "Students Using NASA And NSF Data Make Stellar Discovery; Win Science Team Competition." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2000/12/001211201242.htm (accessed March 27, 2015).

Share This


More From ScienceDaily



More Space & Time News

Friday, March 27, 2015

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Why So Many People Think NASA's Asteroid Mission Is A Waste

Why So Many People Think NASA's Asteroid Mission Is A Waste

Newsy (Mar. 27, 2015) The Asteroid Retrieval Mission announced this week bears little resemblance to its grand beginnings. Even NASA scientists are asking, "Why bother?" Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Robot Returns from International Space Station and Sets Two Guinness World Records

Robot Returns from International Space Station and Sets Two Guinness World Records

Reuters - Light News Video Online (Mar. 27, 2015) The companion robot "Kirobo" returns to earth from the International Space Station and sets two Guinness World Records. Sharon Reich reports. Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com
Supermassive Blackhole Detector Ready for Business

Supermassive Blackhole Detector Ready for Business

Reuters - Innovations Video Online (Mar. 25, 2015) Construction of the world&apos;s largest and most powerful observatory designed to detect and analyze gamma rays has been completed in Mexico. Gamma ray particles are considered the most energetic in the universe and scientists hope to use the observatory to learn more about the supernovas and black holes that produce them. Ben Gruber reports. Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com
Rocket Blasts Off Carrying U.S. Air Force GPS Satellite

Rocket Blasts Off Carrying U.S. Air Force GPS Satellite

Reuters - News Video Online (Mar. 25, 2015) A U.S. Air Force GPS IIF-9 satellite launches aboard a United Launch Alliance Delta IV rocket into semi-synchronous orbit. Rough Cut (no reporter narration). Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:

Strange & Offbeat Stories


Space & Time

Matter & Energy

Computers & Math

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile: iPhone Android Web
Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins