UNF students build telescope, explore other parts of the universe

UNF students build prototype telescope

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. — College students are helping scientists explore other parts of the universe with a telescope that’s under more of a mile of ice.

On Thursday, University of North Florida student Andre Sierra said astrophysics and mathematics are what he sees in his future.

The junior described, “I’m just 20 years old. I have a lot of choices right ahead of me.”

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Sierra told Action News Jax he feels lucky to be involved in the building of an IceACT telescope.

He explained, “I was in charge of monitoring the data that was sent from the South Pole to us, right here.”

According to Professor Jack Hewitt, the prototype telescope will work with another in the South Pole that’s already buried 2 km under the ice.

He said it will find cosmic rays in the Earth’s atmosphere.

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“It’s literally a way of experiencing the universe that we could never do on our own,” described Hewitt.

Sierra said the work is helping him choose a career.

“Just being involved in this type of research has been extremely influential in deciding what I want to do in the future,” he said.

UNF is inviting the community to join in their study of astronomy on Sept.13 at 8 p.m.