The sky is the limit

Ground is broken for an astronomy observatory at Sanfordville School grounds

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  • Here's a closer look at Caroline Moore's design for an stronomy observatory.

  • Photos by Roger Gavan On Tuesday, May 29, Mayor Michael Newhard, school administrators, educators, local business representatives, students and others attended a groundbreaking ceremony for Caroline Mooreís Senior Project, an astronomy observatory. She is pictured here with her observatory plan.

  • Photo by Roger Gavan From left: Warwick Village Mayor Michael Newhard; WVHS Senior Project Advisor Holly Marcolina; WVHS Assistant Principal Gregory Lisack; WVHS Senior Caroline Moore; Assistant Superintendent for Curriculum & Instructional Services Marijane Reinhard; Director of Buildings and Grounds Steven Salvato; and and Assistant Superintendent for Business Timothy Holmes.

  • Photo by Roger Gavan Caroline Moore with her parents, Bob and Nancy Moore.

  • Photo by Roger Gavan Caroline Moore addressed school administrators, educators, local business representatives, Sanfordville students and others who attended a groundbreaking ceremony for her Senior Project, an astronomy observatory.

WARWICK — It’s not hard to imagine that a Warwick Valley High School senior project, performed by a student who, as a freshman, was catapulted into International fame, would be extraordinary.

On Tuesday, May 29, Mayor Michael Newhard, school administrators, educators, local business representatives, students and others attended a ground-breaking ceremony for Caroline Moore’s senior project, an astronomy observatory.

Moore, the daughter of Bob and Nancy Moore, had spearheaded the project to build an observatory with a sophisticated state-of-the-art telescope and computer program on a hill at Sanfordville Elementary school. The observatory would be more advanced in some aspects than those at major universities like the one at Yale.

At age 13 Moore was recognized internationally as the youngest person in the history of astronomy to discover a supernova, a stellar explosion where a star, much like our own Sun, has been burning helium. After running out of that fuel, the star burns and depletes all its hydrogen, starts to collapse and finally explodes.

Her discovery has now been named Supernova 2008ha in galaxy UGC 12682.

‘Open great windows’
Since then, she has had an unusually busy schedule for a high school student.

Moore was the special guest speaker at the World Science Festival in New York City, twice invited to events at the White House and a guest on radio and TV shows including programs nationally broadcast on PBS, Fox News and MSNBC.

She is also the winner of numerous awards, including iOptron’s Young Astronomer of the Year and a first place in the prestigious 2010 Jack Horkheimer/Parker Award for exceptional service in astronomy. And she appeared in a Google, Inc. 90-second commercial about her accomplishments.

Moore’s senior project was composed of two parts: a field project and a college-level research paper on her topic.

“For my field project,” she said, “I will be building an observatory for my school district and my town. The Warwick Valley Central School District owns several large telescopes whose features cannot fully be utilized without a permanent home and observatory.”

The new observatory will provide an opportunity for students to link what they learn in the classroom to a practical application.

“This observatory,” said Moore, “will provide a hands-on experience and learning opportunity for our students. It is one that undoubtedly will open great windows of opportunity and exploration for the children of this area.”

Although astronomy has occupied much of her time since she was 10 years old, it is not the high school senior’s only interest.

Moore is a trained classical and jazz vocalist and she has attended the New York Summer Music Festival, one of the world’s most prestigious youth music programs.

She is also an avid skier, a certified professional ski instructor and a member of The Professional Ski Instructors of America.

This fall Moore will begin her studies in International Affairs and Psychology at the George Washington University Elliott School of International Affairs in Washington, D.C.

By Roger Gavan

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