Science – Current Astronomer Essay
Dr. Debra Fischer – Astronomer
An astronomer is an astrophysicist who studies stars, planets and galaxies. Astronomers use the laws of physics to investigate the matter and energy of celestial bodies. They then apply the research findings to solve space navigation and communication problems and even discover new planets and stars. In 1512, Copernicus theorized that the planets orbit the sun and the race to uncover new planets began. Historically, most of the famous astronomers have been men, such as Galilei Galileo and Johannes Kepler. Other men have made planet discoveries. For example, William Herschel uncovered Uranus, and Clyde Tombaugh found Pluto. Recently, there has been a new “man” on the planet hunting team, and she is a “woman”. Dr. Debra Fischer is a professor of astronomy at San Francisco State University. Her quest is to find planets orbiting around distant stars. Debra Fischer completed her undergraduate work in science and physics at San Francisco State. Her search for planets began when she was a graduate student in astrophysics at the University of California, Santa Cruz. While there, she worked with astronomer Geoff Marcy. Marcy co-founded the California and Carnegie Planet Search Project with Paul Butler in 1983. The purpose of this planet hunting team was to discover extra-solar planets orbiting nearby stars. Swiss astronomers discovered the first extra-solar planet in 1995. Marcy’s team validated the existence of three more planets and a multi-planet system in 1996. Debra Fischer joined the project as a post-doctoral fellow managing the Lick Observatory in 1997. Through her work there, Fischer discovered more three planets herself by 1999. In order to unearth extra-solar planets, Fischer and her team at the Lick Observatory use a method known as the Doppler technique. By using an observation procedure that measures the metal content of...