Rebecca Oppenheimer

As a kid growing up in New York City, Rebecca Oppenheimer always wanted to study stars and planets. She never dreamed she would someday discover an entirely new kind of object. In 1995, she observed a small, dim object that was neither a planet nor a star. It is called a brown dwarf. This observation shows us that there are still things left to be discovered in the universe. Rebecca also studies faraway planets, and dying stars called white dwarfs.

Hometown: New York, NY
Job: Associate Curator & Prof. of Astrophysics
Education: PhD, California Institute of Tech.
Studies: brown dwarfs and exoplanets
Research Locations: Rebecca uses telescopes all over the world, in places like California, Hawaii, Chile, Japan, and the Canary Islands.
Cool Fact: Rebecca helps develop the Digital Universe, a large-scale, three-dimensional map that lets users "fly" through the universe.

Image credits: main image, courtesy of AMNH / D. Finnin.