A former Pembrokeshire schoolgirl is playing a starring role in investigating the galaxy.

Alis Deason, aged 26, from Goodwick, recently published a paper revealing that the Milky Way – home of our solar system – may be only half as massive as previously thought.

The paper was highlighted at the recent American Astronomical Society conference in California.

Alis, who attended Goodwick Primary and Fishguard High School (now Ysgol Bro Gwaun) is a Hubble Fellow – one of the top astronomical fellowships in the world – at the University of California Santa Cruz.

She did most of the research for her recent paper while studying for her doctorate at the University of Cambridge.

“California may seem a long way from Pembrokeshire but I would never have got here were it not for the education and encouragement I got from my teachers at Fishguard,”

she said recently.

“They set me out on the path I’m now on and always encouraged me to aim high.”

After doing her A-levels at Fishguard in 2005, Alis went to Cambridge University where she won the Institute of Astronomy prize in her fourth (MSc) year.

She went on to do her doctorate at Cambridge before moving to America, where she now lives with her husband Ryan, a fellow astrophysicist.

Her recent paper was based on studying the speed of stars in the outer reaches of the Milky Way.

She found that their velocities were lower than previously thought with implications for the mass of the Milky Way as well as shedding new light on mysterious dark matter.