Tuesday, July 5, 2011

Caroline Moore...rising astronomer

A remarkable career in the making.

"The sky's no limit for Warwick teen astronomer"

NASA has invited her to final shuttle launch


Alyssa Sunkin

July 5th, 2011

Times Herald-Record

At 17, Caroline Moore has accomplished more than most people do in a lifetime.

Three years ago, Moore discovered a dying star, a supernova now named UGC 12682. She's been honored at the White House, met President Barack Obama and garnered numerous awards.

Now she has a personal invite from NASA's deputy director to witness the scheduled launch of the space shuttle Atlantis in Florida on Friday — the final space shuttle mission.

"It's going to be exciting. It's something I will remember forever," said Moore, who will be a senior at Warwick Valley High School this fall.

And her bags are packed for Costa Rica, whose government — by way of the U.S. Embassy — has invited Moore to fly to the Central American nation in September.

She'll speak to and inspire teens about science and astronomy — and will finish off by giving a talk at the national planetarium.

She's most nervous about the language and cultural barriers, an obstacle she's eager to face.

"I think that Costa Rica is going to be a really cool experience," Moore said. "It's going to be the first time to reach different people. It's definitely going to be an interesting lesson."

These opportunities are the most recent on her resume. Since discovering the supernova in 2008 with the Puckett Supernova Search Team — a team of amateur astronomers in the U.S. and elsewhere — she's been recognized by the Warwick School District, Town of Warwick and the state Assembly and Senate.

She was invited to the White House twice; the first time, in 2009, she hosted its first-ever stargazing party on the lawn, and met President Barack Obama and first lady Michelle Obama.

Obama named her a "young hero" in a presidential proclamation announcing Women's History Month in 2010.

Moore garnered a first prize award from the American Association of Variable Star Observers, the nation's first women's astronomy organization.

She's a spokesperson for Celestron Telescopes. She speaks at schools and universities to inspire her peers in science and astronomy, and was filmed by Google last month.

Moore blushes when that list is read off. She's a year away from college — and is not committing herself to a career in astronomy.

She doesn't believe her accomplishments define her.

Rather, the most important lesson she's learned from them is how to communicate — to reach out to people of all ages, from all walks of life.

"I definitely think people skills — the way to talk to people and reach people and express things and ideas to people — are a very important life skill," she said.

"The greatest, most powerful, most successful people have these skills. I think this is the building block to having a great future."

Real-Life Sky Prodigy: Caroline Moore

Caroline Moore [14] discovers a rare supernova

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