She's an Astronomer: Hannah Hutchins


Hannah Hutchins lives in England with her Grandmother and her hamster, “Hubble”. At just 15, she’s by far the youngest entrant in our “She’s an Astronomer” series, providing us with some perspective from the next generation of astronomers. Hannah is homeschooled and currently studying for her IGCSEs. As well as being a frequent contributor to the forum, she is the co-creator of the Galaxy Zoo APOD. As well as Galaxy Zoo she’s involved in all sorts of astronomy projects, including the Young Astronomers blog.

  • How did you first hear about Galaxy Zoo?

On the BBC News Website in August 2008. I read an article about Hanny’s Voorwerp and when they mentioned Galaxy Zoo I was immediately interested! I went onto the website and was hooked from then onwards.

  • What has been your main involvement in the Galaxy Zoo project?

I classify galaxies, chat on the forum and I write Object of The Days (OOTD). Alice got me into writing the OOTD’s, which is when I discovered that I loved to write.

  • What do you like most about being involved in Galaxy Zoo?

Knowing that I’m helping science. It’s fantastic because I don’t have to be an adult in university doing astrophysics or something to be able to contribute to science like this. It has also turned my interest in astronomy into a passion and I could never live without it. I’m now determined to go to university to study astrophysics. It’s also great to be part of such a friendly community! I finally found friends at the zoo who shared my interests.

  • What do you think is the most interesting astronomical question Galaxy Zoo will help to solve?

There are so many to choose from! I have a soft spot for the Voorwerpjes though, It’s amazing how AGN (active galactic nuclei) belt out all that radiation which then ionize huge gas clouds, it creates some spectacular images.

  • How/when did you first get interested in Astronomy?

My earliest memory of having an interest in astronomy was sitting on my bed when I was around four years old flicking through an astronomy book called ‘Spacewatching: The ultimate guide to the stars and beyond’, I remember staring in wonder at pictures of nebulae and reading aloud the titles in the book. My grandparents bought it for me at a sale along with a book about Comets after I pestered them for them. I think those where my very first astronomy books.

  • What (if any) do you think are the main barriers to women’s involvement in Astronomy?

I’m not really sure, but I know from my experience of school (though rather a short experience, I only lasted a couple of terms in secondary school for instance because I wasn’t happy with the education I was getting) that there is sometimes an attitude where it is bad to have an interest in science and maths, they have to be viewed as so very boring. I think that is because it’s taught so badly at school, it shuts down any interest.

  • Do you have any particular role models in Astronomy?

There are so many fantastic people in astronomy, but I don’t really have a role model.

This post is part of the ongoing She’s an Astronomer series on the Galaxy Zoo Blog is support of the IYA2009 cornerstone project of the same name (She’s an Astronomer). We are listed on the She’s an Astronomer website in their Profiles.

Still to come in the series – a few more Galaxy Zoo volunteers and researchers. We’re not quite done yet!

About karenlmasters

Professor of Astronomy and Physics at Haverford College, USA. Project Scientist for Galaxy Zoo. Spokesperson for the Sloan Digital Sky Survey. Busy having fun with astronomy!

15 responses to “She's an Astronomer: Hannah Hutchins”

  1. elizabeth says :

    Stellar (Hannah) wonderful. My dear just wonderful.!!!

  2. Geoff says :

    Great article Hannah! You’ve joined the ranks of the astronomers

  3. Paddy says :

    Well done Hannah.
    You are a true star.

  4. Hanny says :

    I didn’t realise you found the Zoo through the story of Hanny’s Voorwerp as well! Nice interview Stellar/Hannah. 🙂

  5. Infinity says :

    Nice. More power to your telescope!

  6. StellarsMum says :

    Hannah, you continue to exceed all our expectations, you are an outstanding person and we all love you very much 🙂 🙂

  7. waveney says :

    Good for you!

  8. Lovethetropics says :

    Wonderful interview dear Stellar, you make us very proud.

  9. Joseph K. H. Cheng says :

    Hi, Stellar

    It is really great to see you here. Keep up the good work as a shining example to the younger generation. Hope to meet with the Brownsea Bunch for a reunion soon. I am planning on it in earnest. Take care and sty happy !


  10. Alice says :

    I’m sooooo glad you found us, Stellar, and I am ridiculously happy about all the things you’re achieving! I think astronomy completely changed my life and yours. I look forward to hearing about all the wonderful discoveries you make as an astronomer one day quite soon . . .

  11. Elisabeth Baeten says :

    Go Stellar ! 🙂

  12. Curtis W. Garrett says :

    Hannah is a Star!
    She’s intelligent, thoughtful, friendly.
    Some of us oldsters could easily be jealous of her great energy. (insert big smiley)

  13. Jo says :

    Great interview Stellar and really awesome pictures you have posted on the forum using SLOOH. Well done you.

  14. Jules says :

    Great interview Hannah! The universities will be queueing up to have you!

  15. Thomas says :

    Great stuff, Hannah.

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