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The White House South Lawn was lined with telescopes and science exhibits featuring moon rocks, mars rocks, meteorites and more for Astronomy Night earlier this month. The President and First Lady invited local middle school students to star-gaze and welcomed space heroes Buzz Aldrin and Sally Ride, as well as two remarkable science students, Caroline Moore and Lucas Bolyard to come share some of their wisdom. Caroline was just 14 years old when she became the youngest person ever to discover a supernova and Lucas, a high school sophomore, discovered an extremely rare kind of star called a pulsar.
See Astronomy Night through the eyes of young discoverers Caroline and Lucas.
Caroline and Lucas shared some reflections following the event. Caroline reminded adults and kids alike to take chances and "always reach for the stars":
Going to the White House has been one of the most exciting experiences of my life. It was an honor, and not just to meet the President, but also to know that I was selected to be a role model and to show kids that education is important and that success can be achieved at any age. I loved how the President, the First Lady, daughters, and grandma really got involved, even with the family climbing a ladder to get up to a 24-inch telescope! Having the opportunity to meet amazing people like Buzz Aldrin and Sally Ride was incredible.
This year was the International Year of Astronomy (IYA) and I feel that they could not have picked a better time for this event. IYA is all about inspiring the public to get involved in astronomy, especially kids, and that’s just what this event did. It inspired the kids that science can be fun and learning more about it can be quite a pleasurable experience. My message to all the kids out there is to remember that no matter what age, you can always make a difference, and never let any one stop you from chasing for your dream. Remember to always reach for the stars. And for the adults, if you take a chance, and put an opportunity in front of a child they can and will achieve great things.
And even though Lucas has discovered a Pulsar, he learned something new on his visit to the White House:
Well, my favorite part was getting to meet the people there, they were all very nice, especially President Obama. Also, it was a great honor to simply be there at the White House. The main thing I learned was something I never really thought about; what we are looking at actually happened many years ago because light only travels at a certain speed to our eye. My message to other students interested in astronomy is to simply stick to it, the opportunities are out there and all you have to do is act on them.
In case you missed it, watch the live chat with Sally Ride, the first American woman in space, here and the President's full remarks here.