A FORMER Lytham St Annes student has stunned the world of astronomy.
It’s fair to say Abigail Rymer is over the moon after making an important discovery about the planet Saturn.
Dr Rymer has found that Saturn has an aurora or ‘Northern lights’ – which have never been seen before – as a result of electrons passing to a nearby moon.
Dr Rymer was educated at Lytham St Annes High School before leaving in 1993.
She later won a fellowship to work in the United States on the Cassini project, which is a NASA space ship orbiting Saturn, studying the plane tand its many natural satellites.
The find by the Cassini spacecraft is similar to the electrical “circuit” between Jupiter and three of its moons.
“It’s very exciting to have made this discovery, especially using our instruments to make these measurements,” said Dr Rymer, who is based at the John Hopkins University Applied Physics Laboratory in Maryland.
“My family friends are very proud of me.”
Dr Rymer lived in Blackpool and moved to Torquay, before returning to St Annes at the age of 12 in 1985.
She studied for her GCSEs and A Levels at Lytham St Annes High before attending UCLAN, Preston, in 1995.
She lived with her mother Anne Rymer and brother Gregory Rymer on St Leonards Rd West, St Annes.
Her mother since moved to Cornwall in 2005.
Her grandmother, Elizabeth Stockton, and uncle Nicholas Arnold, both live in South Shore.
A report on the discovery appeared in the international journal Nature.
Lead author of the study Dr Rymer confirmed that the ions were associated with the vast electron loops.
“I immediately pulled up the electron data and, sure enough, there was a very strong electron beam propagating away from Saturn toward Enceladus,” Dr Rymer said.
“It was actually a fairly rare opportunity to capture that, since when Cassini flies close to a moon we are generally looking at the moon – not away from it.”
Dr Rymer, who is single, told the Express: “I would love to return to St annes, it’s a wonderful place and I have even been applying for jobs back in Lancashire,” she said