Hometown: Roanoke, Virginia
What She Does: Horne is part of a select group of undergraduate students involved in the Arecibo Legacy Fast ALFA (ALFALFA) Survey team, a major national project looking to map the sky.
Claim to Fame: Just two days into analyzing data as part of an astronomy field experience, she discovered a galaxy. “There was this white blob on my screen. I had no idea what it was, but I knew it was unusual. Then a faculty member leaned over my shoulder and said, ‘That’s a galaxy. Congratulations.’”
The Name of Her Galaxy: AGC #310842. “The number is based on when it was discovered. It is subnamed Lisa H.”
Where in the Universe: About 500 million light years away.
Here on Earth: Horne’s favorite place to hang out on campus is the Corner Pocket in the new northeast sector of the Fairfax Campus where she shoots pool with her friends.
What She Does for Fun: Works on expanding her vocabulary. Horne has a penchant for video games, and her current favorite is My Word Coach. She also enjoys attending concerts and going to the theater.
Other Distractions: A good storm. Horne yearns to chase tornados. If she wasn’t focused on helping to map the universe, she would definitely still be looking to the sky.
On the Possibility of Extraterrestrial Life: She’s reserving judgment. “The universe is a very big place.”
The Challenges of Discovery: When Horne set off on her field experience, people wished her luck finding a galaxy. When she called home a few days later, it was a different story. “No one believed me. How ironic is that?”
Best Memories: Living on the Honors floor “in the Park” and her trip to Arecibo in Puerto Rico for hands-on experience with the world’s largest radio telescope. “That was the first time I was out of the country. It is very beautiful there.”