November 28, 2008

Astronomy students find a galaxy

Five astronomy students at the University of Wisconsin-Madison have carried their research to unexpected heights -- they found a galaxy.

They made their improbable find in a most improbable way, using the world's largest radio telescope, the Arecibo Observatory in Puerto Rico.

The students told the Wisconsin Sate Journal that their good fortune was not expected when they signed up for a research methods class being taught by UW-Madison astronomer Snezana Stanimirovic.

But the astronomer had worked three years with the Arecibo Observatory and because of her connections, she was able to get observation time for her students, the report said.

Time on Arecibo is prized even by long-time professional astronomers, Stanimirovic said. The telescope's dish is the largest in the world and covers 20 acres carved out of the Puerto Rican jungle.