HEDGESVILLE, W.Va. -Berkeley County, W.Va., Planetarium Director Elizabeth Wasiluk and future astronomy student April Liska, from Hedgesville High School, have completed training at the National Radio Astronomy Observatory in Green Bank, W.Va.
The training prepared them to join astronomers in a search for new pulsars, according to a prepared release.
Pulsars are superdense neutron stars, the corpses of massive stars that have exploded as supernovae. As the neutron star spins, lighthouse-like beams of radio waves, streaming from the poles of its powerful magnetic field, sweep through space. When one of these beams sweeps across the Earth, radio telescopes can capture the pulse of radio waves.
Pulsars serve as exotic laboratories for studying the physics of extreme conditions. Scientists can learn valuable new information about the physics of subatomic particles, electromagnetics and general relativity by observing pulsars and the changes they undergo over time.
"I had many doubts about taking part in this program and whether I could get Hedgesville High School students interested in pulsars, but April far exceeded my expectations and put my worries aside," Wasiluk said in the release.