High Point University Faculty Member and Student Support NASA Research
HIGH POINT, N.C., Nov. 4, 2019 – Jeff Regester, High Point University instructor of physics and astronomy, and David Vestal, High Point University sophomore and student researcher, were selected by NASA and the Southwest Research Institute to participate in an expedition in northern Australia to collect astronomical observations in support of Lucy, a NASA probe that is currently under construction and due to be launched in 2021.
ABOVE PHOTO – Tonight, Jeff Regester, High Point University instructor of physics and astronomy, and David Vestal, High Point University sophomore and student researcher will join nearly 25 other researchers to view Orus, which is scheduled to pass directly in front of a distant star at 11:06 p.m. local time.
NASA’s Lucy mission will be the first of its kind to explore the Trojan asteroids, which orbit the Sun at a distance of Jupiter. One of the asteroids Lucy will visit is called Orus. Tonight, Regester and Vestal will join nearly 25 other researchers to view Orus, which is scheduled to pass directly in front of a distant star at 11:06 p.m. local time. The exact timing of this occultation, both when it happens and how long it lasts, will reveal the size, shape, and reflectivity of Orus, and allow its orbital path to be determined to extreme precision, all of which are crucial to the success of Lucy’s mission.
As the only student from the United States on the expedition, Vestal is gaining valuable real-world astronomical research experience that is typically only available to highly-regarded scientists and astronomers.
In addition to the occultation preparations, Regester and Vestal joined Tom Statler, planetary science program scientist at NASA, and Anne Verbiscer, research professor at the University of Virginia, to conduct a public outreach presentation about Lucy and the expedition at a library in downtown Darwin.
At High Point University, every student receives an extraordinary education in an inspiring environment with caring people.® HPU, located in the Piedmont Triad region of North Carolina, is a liberal arts institution with 5,400 undergraduate and graduate students. It is ranked No. 1 by U.S. News and World Report for Best Regional Colleges in the South, No. 1 for Most Innovative Regional Colleges in the South and No. 1 for Best Undergraduate Teaching in the South. The Princeton Review named HPU in the 2020 edition of “The Best 385 Colleges” and on the Best Southeastern Colleges “2020 Best Colleges: Region by Region” list. HPU was recognized as a Great School for Business Majors and a Great School for Communication Majors. HPU was also recognized for Most Beautiful Campus (No. 18), Best College Dorms (No. 5) and Best Campus Food (No. 20). For nine years in a row, HPU has been named a College of Distinction with special recognition for business and education programs and career development, and The National Council on Teacher Quality ranks HPU’s elementary education program as one of the best in the nation. The university offers 60 undergraduate majors, 64 undergraduate minors and 13 graduate degree programs. It is a member of the NCAA, Division I and the Big South Conference. Visit High Point University on the web at highpoint.edu.