Dirk Terrell '87

Planet hunter: Dirk C. Terrell ’87

Physics major Dirk Terrell’s work was recognized as one of CNN’s Top Ten science stories for 2012. He helped discover a planet.

Terrell’s research in the area of binary star systems contributed to a Yale University-led project that identified and confirmed the existence of the first known planet orbiting a pair of suns — that’s in turn orbited by a second set of distant stars. The planet was named PH1 — Planet Hunters discovery number one — after the citizen astronomer organization, Planet Hunters, whose members first spotted it.

Terrell is the section manager for the Astronomy and Computer Systems section in the Department of Space Studies at Southwest Research Institute in Boulder, Colo. He received a Ph.D. in astrophysics from the University of Florida and was a NASA graduate research fellow.

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