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Nov. 8, 2001

Kathleen Burton Nov. 8, 2001

NASA Ames Research Center

(Phone: 650/604-1731 or 650/604-9000)

e-mail logo kburton@mail.arc.nasa.gov



RELEASE: 01-83AR

NOTE TO EDITORS: Members of the news media and public are invited to attend the second talk in the 2001-2002 Silicon Valley Astronomy Lecture Series to be held on Wednesday, Nov. 14, at 7 p.m. at Foothill College’s Smithwick Theater, Los Altos Hills, Calif. More information is available by calling the series hotline at 650/949-7888.

ASTRONOMY TALK TO FEATURE EXPLODING STARS AND BLACK HOLES

‘The Extreme Universe of Gamma-Ray Astronomy’ —- including exploding stars, blazing galaxies and giant black holes – will be the topic of a free, non-technical talk next Wednesday, Nov. 14, at Foothill College in Los Altos Hills, Calif.

Lynn Cominsky, Ph.D., of Sonoma State University, will give an illustrated talk about how current (and future) space telescopes can help us explore some of the most bizarre and intriguing objects in the cosmos. She will discuss how gamma rays, the most energetic waves in the universe, can show us dying stars, stellar corpses devouring one another, and gargantuan explosions in the hearts of other galaxies -- places and phenomena whose power dwarfs all human activity.

"The Astronomy Lecture Series is a valuable resource for the community, bringing the latest scientific research in astrobiology and astronomy to a wide audience," said Dr. Henry McDonald, director of NASA’s Ames Research Center.

In addition to her well-known astronomy research, Cominski serves as lead for education and public outreach for NASA's Gamma-ray Large Area Space Telescope (GLAST) mission. She has worked on the Uhuru, Extreme Ultraviolet Explorer, and other space missions, and serves as deputy press officer of the American Astronomical Society. Cominsky is the author of over 50 research papers.

"Lynn Cominsky, besides being a noted research astronomer, is well known for her ability to explain complex astronomical ideas in basic terms to students, teachers and the public," said Andrew Fraknoi of Foothill College’s astronomy department.

A unit of Foothill College academic credit will be available for those who attend all six lectures in the 2001-2002 series and write a short paper. Material for registering for the Astronomy 36 course will be available at the lecture on Nov. 14.

This is the second talk in this year's Silicon Valley Astronomy Lecture Series, co-sponsored by NASA Ames, Foothill College’s Division of Physical Science, Mathematics and Engineering, the Astronomical Society of the Pacific and the SETI Institute.

The Silicon Valley Astronomy Lecture Series is held at Foothill College’s Smithwick Theater in Los Altos Hills. From Interstate 280, exit at El Monte Road and travel west to the campus. Visitors must purchase a one-day campus parking permit for $2.

Admission is free and the public is invited. Seating is on a first-come, first-served basis. Children over the age of 13 are welcome. More information is available by calling the series hotline at 650/949-7888.

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