Four thousand light years away. That’s where Iowa State professor of physics and astronomy Steve Kawaler and his team are conducting their groundbreaking research on stars. They’re able to study subjects this far away by using a telescope that’s 50 million miles from Earth. So, if you think about it, it’s really no wonder individuals in the scientific community are saying the team’s findings are out of this world.

Kawaler is a leader of the Kepler Asteroseismic Investigation and part of the research team that studied changes in the brightness of the host star Kepler-56. Their findings revealed that tilted planetary orbits are possible even in systems that don’t contain a hot Jupiter. Said Kawaler, “These studies allow us to draw a detailed picture of a distant system that provides a new and critical test of our understanding of how these very alien solar systems are structured.”

This is big news when it comes to star research. So big, in fact, that the team’s findings were published in one of the world’s top scientific journals — Science. As Kawaler and the team continue their research adventure, no one knows exactly what other amazing discoveries they’ll find. But one thing’s for sure — the world (and outer space) is their oyster.

Whether they’re studying a star 4,000 light years away or soil right in our own backyard, for Iowa State professors, the sky is the limit when it comes to research. And you know what that means — when you become an Iowa State student, you’ll get to learn from some of the brightest minds found on Earth.

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