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.
“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.”