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Kathleen Burton                                                                                         Feb. 26, 2004

NASA Ames Research Center, Moffett Field, Calif.

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

E-mail: Kathleen.M.Burton@nasa.gov


RELEASE: 04-12AR

DISTINGUISHED ASTRONOMER TO DISCUSS EXTREME STARS

The strangest stars astronomers have ever discovered will be the subject of a free public lecture at Foothill College on Wednesday, March 3, at 7 p.m. PST. The talk is entitled "Extreme Stars: The Strangest Critters in the Stellar Zoo."

Dr. James Kaler, professor emeritus of astronomy at the University of Illinois, will discuss the most unusual stars in the universe, ranging from those as big as the orbit of Jupiter, to double star systems whose stars hurl hot material at one another in a life and death dance. The lecture will be held at Foothill College's Smithwick Theatre in Los Altos Hills, Calif.

"NASA Ames is pleased to co-sponsor the popular Silicon Valley Astronomy Lecture Series, now in its fifth successful year," said NASA Ames Research Center Director G. Scott Hubbard. "This series is an important element in our efforts to inspire the next generation of space explorers."

Kaler is the recipient of many awards as an educator and for his research involving dying stars. He has published more than 120 papers and numerous books, including the Time-Life Books "Voyage Through the Universe" series, "Stars and their Spectra," "The Ever-Changing Sky," and "Extreme Stars." He is a current member of the board of directors of the Astronomical Society of the Pacific.

The Silicon Valley Astronomy Lecture Series is 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.

To get to Smithwick Theater 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. Seating is on a first-come, first-served basis. Young people are welcome. More information is available by calling the series hotline at 650/949-7888.

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