Reaching For The Stars Is Exhausting Work For Kahala Teen
Christopher Lindsay discovered a planet, captured the top prize at the science fair, and then fell asleep.
Not bad for a teenage astronomer from Kahala.
The Hawaii Association of Independent Schools held its annual district science and engineering fair Feb. 8 at Iolani School, where freshman Lindsay took first in senior research – an overall first prize at the fair, which comes with an all-expenses-paid trip to the INTEL international fair in Los Angeles in May.
He was taking a nap when his name was called, however, so missed the initial hoopla. “I guess I’m both an asset and a disgrace to ‘Iolani,” he said afterward.
Lindsay’s project is titled, ahem, “The Search and Discovery of CoRoT 29: Photometry of Transiting
Exoplanets Using the CoRoT and Faulkes Telescopes.” The sophistocated telescopes helped him discover and indeed confirm the existence of a hot Jupiter-like planet that revolves around a faraway star in less than three days. Dips in light intensity were the key, he said. And he also noticed a strange hump in his data, which led to a more concise calculation of the planet’s rotation.
Coming from a family of brainy folks, Lindsay is no slacker. Dad Mark teaches physics at ‘Iolani and advises his son, mom Holly and sister Melody are gifted musicians, among other talents, and Christopher himself already has won a dozen prizes from state science fairs.
He’s also working on a time-lapse, deep-sea underwater research project with adult scientists at the UH School of Ocean and Earth Science Technology.
Still, the skies are a main draw for him, and chances are good you’ll see him with his own telescope (a cool Dobsonian 10-incher) at the monthly star parties in Kahala Community Park, conducted by Hawaiian Astronomical Society.
The next one is from 6:40 to 10 p.m. March 8, where it’s always possible to discover a new heavenly body.