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Kathleen Burton                                                                                                                                                                   Feb. 10, 2004

NASA Ames Research Center, Moffett Field, Calif.

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




Exploring the mysterious outskirts of our solar system will be the subject of a free public lecture at Foothill College on Wednesday, Feb. 11, at 7 p.m. PST. The talk is entitled "The Search for Planet X: Exploring the Solar System Beyond Neptune."

Dr. Eugene Chiang, assistant professor of astronomy and Earth and planetary science at the University of California at Berkeley, will discuss how new discoveries are revealing an array of interesting new objects - including several mini-planets - at the far reaches of our planetary system.

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."

Chiang is well known for his ability to discuss astronomical topics in non-technical terms. Chiang holds a bachelor's degree in physics from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and a doctorate from the California Institute of Technology. His research includes extra-solar planetary dynamics, planetary rings, proto-planetary disks and the Edgeworth-Kuiper Belt.

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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