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Way to Go! Perri Zilberman of Bellmore

Perri Zilberman, a senior at John F. Kennedy

Perri Zilberman, a senior at John F. Kennedy High School in Bellmore, won the Astronomical League's National Young Astronomer Award. Credit: Bellmore-Merrick Central High School District

A Bellmore student with his eyes on deep space has won a national award for his research on exoplanets.

Perri Zilberman, a John F. Kennedy High School senior, is first-place winner of the Astronomical League’s National Young Astronomer Award. As the top finisher, he received a telescope valued at $1,500 from Explore Scientific, an Arkansas-based manufacturer of scientific instruments.

“To have my work recognized by an actual astronomy organization means a lot to me,” he said. “I’ve been interested in space for as long as I can remember.”

Zilberman, 17, will be honored at an awards ceremony during the Northeast Astronomy Forum & Telescope Show, scheduled April 8-9 at Rockland Community College in Suffern.

His research focused on exoplanets, which are planets that orbit a star other than the sun. He looked for any correlation between exoplanets known as “hot jupiters” and debris disks, which are dust and debris in orbit around a star.

“Perri is a very special young man who really is a natural scientist,” Kennedy research teacher Barbi Frank said. “I’m extremely proud of his hard work and dedication.”

Zilberman was among 69 Long Island students, and 498 nationwide, named semifinalists this fall in the Siemens Competition in Math, Science & Technology.

He is a member of his school’s Science Honor Society and varsity swim team.

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