Paul A. Heckert, Ph.D.

About Paul A. Heckert, Ph.D.

Paul A. Heckert, Ph.D. is a professor of physics and astronomy at Western Carolina University with over 30 years experience teaching college level physics and astronomy. He has a Ph.D. in physics specializing in observational astronomy. His astronomical research has led to over 60 published articles in journals such as Astronomical Journal, Astronomy and Astrophysics, Astrophysical Journal, and The Information Bulletin on Variable Stars.

Dr. Heckert's current research concentrates on variable stars, but he has also done work on star formation and quasars.

Kepler-186f: How Astronomers Discovered an Earth-Sized Planet in a Star’s Habitable Zone

An artist's conception of Kepler-186f Image Credit: NASA

How did astronomers find Kepler-186f, an Earth-sized planet in the fabled ‘habitable zone’ – where liquid water can exist?

Comet ISON: A Legend in the Making?

Hubble Space Telescope image of Comet ISON on April 10, 2013. Image Credit: NASA, ESA, J.-Y. Li (Planetary Science Institute), and the Hubble Comet ISON Imaging Science Team

Comet ISON is hot news among amateur astronomers, with thousands of people tuning in with their telescopes world-wide to capture the ‘Comet of the Century.’ Is ISON really so impressive?

What’s Around the Sun? Is Our Sun in a Vacuum?

Solar Dynamics Observatory image of an X class solar flare in July, 2012. Image Credit: NASA/SDO

Astronomy questions and answers: Although space is not a perfect vacuum, it surrounds the sun and other stars, unaffected by heat or other factors.

Astronomers Discover Rare Triple Quasar System

Telescopes at European Southern Observatory's La Silla site, which includes the New Technology Telescope Image Credit: Iztok Boncina/ESO Creative Commons License.

Astronomers measured red shift to determine the distances between the stars of the triple quasar, and believe that the group may be the beginnings of a galaxy merger.

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Comet Pan-STARRS Visible in Northern Hemisphere Starting March 12

Comet Pan-STARRS

Comet Pan-STARRS will be visible in the Northern Hemisphere starting on the 12th of March, until the end of the month – but will not pass close enough to Earth to cause any harm.

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