EP. 5: Galaxy spotter​



At think[box] Radio, we don’t just celebrate people who makes things. We celebrate people who make discoveries, too.


Not many astronomers discover a comet let alone a planet. But how about a whole galaxy? For stargazer Chris Carr, it’s one of the rewards of a childhood passion he’s been able to nurture at Case Western Reserve.


Now he’s hoping to encourage more people to look to the heavens and see what he sees.

Carr, a senior with a double major in physics and astronomy, has been fascinated with the stars since childhood. At Case, he gained access to tools that allow him to peer far beyond his imagination—like the Burrell Schmidt Telescope, a venerable spyglass to the cosmos that Case keeps pointed skyward at Kitt Peak National Observatory in Arizona.


During a summer research project in 2017, Carr was studying some of the telescope’s deep sky image when he came upon a peculiar smudge. On closer examination with his advisor, Astronomy Professor Chris Mihos, it was determined he had detected an unknown galaxy—37 million light years away.


Carr and Mihos co-authored a paper describing the discovery for the Astrophysical Journal, inscribing both of their names in space history.


The young astronomer is far from finished. Carr wants to bring the stars closer to everyone. He created a show on the campus radio station WRUW-FM 91.1, Enter Galactic, which explores space mysteries. One of his pieces of advice for amateur astronomers is to start cheap. You don’t need a fancy telescope to scan the heavens, Carr says. A decent set of binoculars will work just fine.


Join us as we chat with one of the nation’s rising young astronomers and see how he is honing his space-age craft.