This artist’s concept depicts a pulsar (seen top left). The pulsar’s twisted magnetic fields are highlighted by the blue glow. Pulsars are studied by students as part of CSIRO’s PULSE@Parkes program. Image Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech

The PULSE@Parkes team is pretty happy this week as we celebrated a major milestone – the 1000th student through our astronomy focused outreach program.

Initiated in late 2007, PULSE@Parkes (or PULsar Student Exploration online at Parkes) is run by CSIRO Astronomy and Space Science and gives high school students the opportunity to remotely control the iconic 64m Parkes radio telescope. Pulsars (rapidly rotating neutron stars that emit beams of radiation) are observed by the students with the resulting data then analysed.

Led by Education Officer Rob Hollow, the program has hit some impressive stats – 70 PULSE@Parkes sessions have been rolled out during the past six years – not just  to Australian students but to students from the Netherlands, Wales, England, Japan and the USA as well.

Erika Leung, a Year 12 Physics student from Ravenswood School for Girls was formally crowned the PULSE@Parkes 1000th student. And what did she receive? A book on ‘The Dish’ and its 50 years of discovery as well as a Parkes Telescope keyring of course!

Follow PULSE@Parkes and view observing sessions live on Twitter.

Erika Leung, from Ravenswood School for Girls is the 1000th student through PULSE@Parkes.