Junior Grant Regen has worked in the field of astronomy for several years and traveled to Chile this past summer to continue his work.
Regen first discovered his passion for astronomy in Kindergarten when he visited the Griffith Observatory and saw the moon for the first time. Regen said he was inspired by Neil deGrasse Tyson, astrophysicist and popularizer of science, and The Great Courses, which are lectures from prominent professors and experts. Regen has worked with astrophysicists in the United States and Chile, and they also have inspired him.
Regen is a member of the Los Angeles Astronomical Society at Griffith Observatory, a major group of professional astronomers in the United States. The group publishes scientific journals, pushes for funding for science programs, and monitors and advocates for public policy changes involving astronomy.
“Unlike other sciences, there’s always going to be more to find in the field of astronomy,” Regen said. “Because the universe is infinite, there’s always more to discover, and even the broadest fields of astronomy are still being redefined.
“There’s so much more to learn, and in the future, astronomy is going to be the main type of science that’s valuable and that’s going to continue to develop.”
During his time in Chile, Regen worked for the Gemini South Observatory where he participated in a case study for the detection of variable stars, which are stars whose brightness measured on earth changes. Out of 200 different stars, he found one cataclysmic variable star, a star whose brightness increases drastically. Regen still has twelve stars left to examine.
“Being abroad in Chile introduced me to a new culture,” Regen said. “It was amazing to see how scientists in the field of astrophysics conduct their research and analyze it. It helped me realize the time and effort from large groups of scientists these observations require.”
When he was in seventh grade, Regen won Astronomy Magazine’s 2013 Youth Essay Contest. He also had an article entitled “Your Chance to Steer Juno,” which was published in the magazine last week.
“The article talks about how people can use their imaging skills to help out the Juno mission, which is currently in orbit around Jupiter, to discover targets that the mission could image such as storms or impacts from comets or asteroids.” Regen said.
“Larger observatories often don’t have the time to find these targets, so amateur astronomers can actually have a meaningful influence on the mission”
In 2014, Regen had an article entitled “A New Perspective on the Universe” published in Johns Hopkins Magazine. Regen has written a blog for the telescope company Celestron. Both last year and this year, he received an honorable mention in an annual contest from The Griffith Observer magazine.
“Most of the recipients of the reward are holders of a Ph.D.,” Regen said. “People from all around the world are published in the magazine.
Regen is currently taking AP Chemistry and is a member of the Earth and Space Club as well as the Science Club. He hopes to take AP Biology and AP Physics next year, to major in physics in college, and to receive a Ph.D. in astrophysics.
“I want to combine the knowledge that I’ve learned over the years here at Loyola and also outside and take those to start new research at universities and work on some of the unknowns of the universe,” Regen said. “I’d like to explore either dark matter or dark energy or the origin of cosmic rays.”
Regen strongly believes that astronomy is important to human life. Reagan said, “Astronomy has been one of the most influential fields of science. Without astronomy and astrophysics, we would have no rockets or space exploration or satellites, which we use every day. In the future, astronomy will be the most important field of science. Space is the next place we’ll explore in great depth.”