iOptron Announces Caroline Moore as the Young Astronomer of the Year

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iOptron Corporation is proud to announce Caroline Moore as the iOptron Young Astronomer of the Year for the International Year of Astronomy 2009 (IYA). This last November at age 14 Caroline became the youngest person to discover a supernova. As part of the Puckett Observatory Supernova Search Team, Caroline spent months in front of her computer looking through data. Then one night she saw something out of the ordinary in the constellation Pegasus. A week after submitting it to the International Astronomical Union she received a phone call confirming that what she discovered was one of the dimmest supernovas ever found.

Caroline Moore (photo by Bob Moore)

We got confirmation and boy it's a strange one

iOptron Corporation (a division of Boston Applied Technologies, Inc.) is proud to announce Caroline Moore as the iOptron Young Astronomer of the Year for the International Year of Astronomy 2009 (IYA). This last November at age 14 Caroline became the youngest person to discover a supernova. As part of the Puckett Observatory Supernova Search Team, Caroline spent months in front of her computer looking through data. Then one night she saw something out of the ordinary in the constellation Pegasus. A week after submitting it to the International Astronomical Union she received a phone call confirming that what she discovered was one of the dimmest supernovas ever found.

As the Young Astronomer of the Year, Caroline will be an active participant of iOptron's IYA Initiatives throughout the year helping to promote astronomy with young people. "We are all proud of Caroline and her accomplishments," says John Hou VP Marketing at iOptron. "The fact that she is so young and knowledgeable about astronomy makes her the perfect representative."

Since her discovery she has received numerous recognitions and media interviews. Caroline's school district in Warwick, NY recently asked her to help set up an astronomy program to help foster astronomy in more young people. iOptron has also agreed to sponsor the program by donating astronomy equipment to the school.

The International Year of Astronomy 2009 (IYA 2009) is a global effort initiated by the International Astronomical Union (IAU) and UNESCO to help the citizens of the world rediscover their place in the Universe through the day- and night-time sky, and thereby engage a personal sense of wonder and discovery. As part of IYA 2009 iOptron will sponsor a number of events and activities throughout the year to encourage young people to become more interested in astronomy.

So how did this all begin for Caroline? It all started one night at dinner with some family friends in early 2008. The friends were sharing how a search team had discovered a supernova and that one of the members was only 18. Hearing that an 18-year-old had found a supernova Caroline pronounced, "I could beat her".

That was the beginning of a long eight months. First she had to get a new computer and install all the software, then learn how to get the data and what to do with it.

Then on November 6, 2008 Caroline spotted something odd in one of the data files of distant galaxy UGC 12682, located in the constellation Pegasus. The image of the object was very faint but she noticed some pixels off to one side of the galaxy that made her suspicious, Caroline did all the checks and ran it through all the data basis. "I'm going to send it in. I think it's something," she told her Dad. It took couple nights until the team could get a confirmation image and it looked like her suspicions were confirmed. Team leader, Tim Puckett sent what's called a CBAT (Central Bureau for Astronomical Telegrams).

A week later at 11:30pm at night the phone rang. It was Mike Peoples, the friend who helped Caroline and her dad set up the equipment. He told Bob, Caroline's Dad, he had to talk to her "We got confirmation and boy it's a strange one," said Bob Moore. "I'll have to drag her out of bed." He did and handed her the phone. With the phone to her ear a smile came to her face and then she just started laughing.

Supernova 2008ha is in UGC 12682, a galaxy that is eating itself and where Supernovae normally do not occur. This is one of the things the makes Caroline's discovery so unique. It is also a type 1a supernova and possibly the least luminous supernovae ever observed.

About iOptron:
iOptron (http://www.ioptron.com) is a global company specialized in the development, manufacturing and marketing of innovative computerized telescopes and cutting-edge imaging products for multiple applications. The SmartStar® telescope mounts and telescope systems are the flagship offerings from iOptron. With iOptron's SmartStar® star-gazing is no longer an activity reserved only for serious hobbyists. SmartStar® GoTo and GPS Telescopes are user-friendly, accurate, portable and fun to operate.

Media Contact:
Coleman Coates
iOptron Corporation
781.569.0200 Ext. 256

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