Cannan Huey-You, like a lot of kids his age, is a Star Wars fan.
“Mostly the space battles,” he told WFAA.
But here’s how his interest in the galaxies differs from his peers: For the last two years, Cannan — 11 years old and already a senior in high school — has researched astronomy at TCU, helping assistant professor Kathleen Barger study a massive gas cloud heading toward the Milky Way.
The cloud, Complex A, is two million times the mass of the sun, Cannan told WFAA. For his part, he created a computer program to track data from motions of the gas within the cloud.
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“He was able to grasp these concepts pretty quickly,” Barger said.
Last week, Cannan presented their findings at what Sky & Telescope magazine called the “Super Bowl of Astronomy” — the American Astronomical Society meeting in Grapevine. He was the meeting’s youngest astronomer ever.
“They were kind of surprised that I was presenting,” he told WFAA, “but afterward they just listened to what I had to say.”
Cannan began studying astronomy at TCU through the school’s College of Science & Engineering apprenticeship program, according to CBS 11.
He had a connection to the school, too. His brother, Carson Huey-You, now 14, was already studying physics at the university.
Carson is now a senior and about to graduate with a degree in quantum physics, Sky & Telescope reported.
Cannan, who was placed into eighth grade at the age of 7, plans a similar path in college.
“Because I want to be an astronaut,” he told WFAA, “probably a double major in astrophysics and engineering.”