Jane Luu

Dr. Jane Luu is an astronomer who co-discovered the Kuiper Belt in 1992. The Kuiper Belt, a collection of rocks and small planetoids far out in the solar system, isn't anywhere as bright as the supermoon. You need incredibly powerful telescopes to see it. It took Luu and her colleagues five years of searching to prove the Kuiper Belt existed.

Jane Luu was born in 1963 in South Vietnam. In April 1975, her family evacuated the country, and settled in Kentucky with an aunt. Luu attended Stanford for college, then enrolled in grad school at MIT in 1986. The next year, she began researching the mysterious outer solar system with her colleagues. It took them five years to discover an object in the Kuiper belt other than Pluto and Charon, which they nicknamed "Smiley."

In 2012, she received the Shaw prize and the Kavli prize for her discoveries, which "led to a major advance in the understanding of the history of our planetary system." 5430 Luu, an asteroid in the inner Asteroid Belt, is named after her.