Steve Ball Co-Authors Nature Article, March 16, 2001

Steven Ball SOCORRO, N.M., March 15, 2001 -- Steven C. Ball, a senior majoring in mechanical engineering at New Mexico Tech, is listed as one of the co- authors of an article published in today's issue of the scientific journal Nature, which describes a startling discovery made last summer by Ball and 13 other college students who were doing research on the Very Large Array (VLA) radiotelescope.

On July 27, Ball and his research colleagues pointed the 27 gigantic receiving dishes of the VLA for 90 minutes at a brown dwarf--a dim celestial object that is something between a large planet and a tiny star--and saw the unexpected: radio emissions emanating from the brown dwarf, signifying that energetic flares many times more powerful than the most energetic flares of our own sun were being shot out of the enigmatic object.

The Nature article, titled "Discovery of Radio Emission from the Brown Dwarf LP944-20," is shaking up the astronomical community because the existence of such powerful emissions from a brown dwarf could shed light on the dividing line between how stars and planets are formed.