West Virginia Wesleyan College
Department of Physics and Engineering
NASA funds DeLaney’s
February 11, 2013—When talking about the sky, it is hard to mistake the look on Dr. Tracey DeLaney’s face as anything short of excitement. In fact, spend just a few minutes with her and you may begin to wonder why you never studied science more.
DeLaney has spent many years studying the supernova remnant Cassiopeia A. She has been awarded a Chandra Grant worth $50,000 over two years. She will continue her study into this enormous nebula made from the explosion of a star. She will use data taken from ten years of observation from NASA’s Chandra X-Ray Observatory.
This is the seventh grant of this nature that DeLaney has received, but it is the first during her time at Wesleyan.
“Cas A is my baby, and this is my project,” commented DeLaney, who will work with a team of astronomers from the National Radio Astronomy Observatory, a NASA scientist, and a Wesleyan student.
With a partial 3-D computer model already in place from her previous research, DeLaney is ready to figure out what caused the star to explode.
“Every time we continue research on Cas A, it all leads to this,” DeLaney explained. “All our research is made of bits and pieces that will eventually tell us what caused the star to explode.”
DeLaney also focuses on what this grant could mean for her students. “When we have students working on a research project and they apply to graduate school, they carry our name wherever they go.
Whenever we can give students a real-world research experience, it is a great thing for everyone involved.”
NASA’s Chandra X-Ray Observatory was launched into space on July 23, 1999 by Space Shuttle Columbia. Chandra is the most advanced X-ray observatory so far, especially designed to observe remnants of exploded stars.