A LEPTON-born and bred scientist is looking to the stars after hitting headlines across the world.
Former Lepton Infant School pupil Dr Paul Hirst is one of the brains behind a world- beating British telescope based in Hawaii.
The United Kingdom Infrared Telescope has just started operating using its wide field infrared camera - the most powerful in the world.
The device has been trained on part of the Orion constellation, about 1,500 light years away.
The images cover an area 3,600 times larger than the Hubble spacecraft's infrared camera is capable of seeing.
Dr Hirst, 30, who now lives in Hawaii, said he had always been interested in science.
He added: "I studied at King James' in Almondbury, then went to Greenhead College to do science A-levels."
Dr Hirst studied at Oxford University and later did a PHD in Leicester.
He added: "I liked the sky and stars like other kids when I was young, but it never went beyond watching The Sky at Night."
Dr Hirst, whose sister, Judy teaches chemistry at Cambridge University, said his job involved helping astonomers from UK universities get to grips with the monster telescope.
He added: "I explain how it works and I've to understand their science well enough to get the best out of the equipment.
"I've been out in Hawaii for almost five years. This year for Christmas Day I had some friends round for a barbecue. It's a bit different from Lepton."
Proud mum and dad Mary and Rodney, who still live in Rowley Lane, Lepton, said they missed their stargazing son.
Mrs Hirst added: "He never had a telescope when he was younger. Now he's got the biggest in the world!"