Hubbardston Resident Uses Telescope at Kitt Peak National Observatory

Stephanie Dymek collects data on eclipsing binary stars

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Hubbardston resident Stephanie Dymek has loved the night sky for as long as she can remember. The second-year physics major at Rochester Institute of Technology in Rochester, N.Y., is on the cusp of deciding whether her fascination could translate into a career in astronomy.

Dymek, daughter of Karen and Mark Dymek, residents of Hubbardston, Mass., spent Nov. 8–14 at Kitt Peak National Observatory outside of Tucson, Ariz.

Dymek was one of two students who accompanied RIT physics professor Michael Richmond to use the WIYN 0.9-meter observatory. RIT is a member of a consortium of universities that shares time on the telescope. RIT students and faculty have access to six nights of observing time per year.

Dymek used the WIYN observatory at Kitt Peak to measure the brightness of eclipsing binary stars.

“Having the opportunity as an undergraduate student to do real astronomical research is the best way for me to experience what it would be like to be an astrophysicist and to get a sense of what it is like to observe astronomical phenomena in today’s technological world,” she says.