National Science Foundation
Tennessee State CREST discovers another planet
Highlight ID 12891_html_m7a358c23.jpg

The new headquarters for the Tennessee State University CREST.

Credit: James Powlik
Permission Granted
State: Tennessee

Funded by the National Science Foundation’s (NSF) Centers of Research Excellence in Science and Technology (CREST) program since 1998, Tennessee State University's Center for Systems Science Research (CSSR) has created a foundation for advanced research while concurrently building the institution's research capacity in astronomy and mathematics, and the institution's education capacity in STEM.  To date, the center has published more than 170 research papers while supporting 35 undergraduate and 7 graduate students per year, of whom most are from minority groups traditionally underrepresented in science.

In addition to developing innovative new mathematical modeling techniques, the Tennessee State CREST was part of an international team that in 2006, discovered a new transiting planet around the star HD 149026.  The extremely shallow transits, discovered by CSSR's Dr. Greg Henry, imply a large, dense core of 60 to 70 earth masses -- fully two-thirds of the mass of the planet.  The new planet is so unusual, that its formation challenges both of the primary competing models for planet formation.  In recognition of his contributions to the planet-search field, Tennessee State was awarded an NSF Major Research Instrumentation (MRI) grant to build new robotic telescopes for placement in the Andes Mountains of northern Chile at the Las Campanas Observatory.

  Web Policies and Important Links | Privacy | FOIA | Help | Contact NSF | Contact Web Master | SiteMap