Groundbreaking space research being conducted in Southwest Florida

Reporter: Breana Ross Writer: Drew Hill
Published: Updated:
Credit: WINK News

Research about stars and space that could have significant implications is being conducted in Southwest Florida. WINK News sat down with an expert in astronomy and astrophysics to discuss the meaning behind his research.

At Florida Gulf Coast University, you’ll find astronomer Derek Buzasi. Buzasi has spent more than 20 years studying the brightest star in the sky.

“These stars are really important to understanding the general evolution of everything we’re interested in that happens in the galaxy and the universe,” Buzasi said. “Materials that make planets, material that makes life, all came from these kinds of stars.”

Buzasi’s research on the star named Mimosa is making history. This star is blue and quite large – it’s 14.5 times as large as the sun. And Mimosa is estimated to be as young as 11 million years old.

“It is new territory. This is the most massive star that anyone has ever determined an age and a mass with using Astro-seismology,” Buzasi said.

These historic findings are a long time coming. Buzasi began eyeing Mimosa in space using NASA’s 1999 wire satellite. His research was continued using the 2018 tess satellite. However, the tools on the ground from astronomers, such as Daniel Cotton, helped round out the research.

One of Cotton’s tools helps determine how a star’s shape can change over time. “It’s an astronomical instrument without the astronomical cost,” said Cotton.

This is proof that with today’s science, technology and connectivity, out of this world research can take place right here at home.

“There are lots of things that we can do here that are meaningful research that actually move the field forward and are things that no one else has ever done before,” said Buzasi.

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