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Kathleen Burton                                                                                          May 18, 2004

NASA Ames Research Center, Moffett Field, Calif.

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



NOTE TO EDITORS AND NEWS DIRECTORS:  Members of the news media and public are invited to attend the final talk in this year's 2003-2004 Silicon Valley Astronomy Lecture Series, on Wednesday, May 19, at 7 p.m. PDT at Foothill College's Smithwick Theater, Los Altos Hills, Calif. More information is available by calling the series hotline at 650/949-7888.


The raw materials of new planets and stars and the ingredients for life, as seen by powerful new telescopes, will be the subject of a free public lecture at Foothill College on Wednesday, May 19 at 7 p.m. PDT. The talk is entitled "In the Heat of the Night: Searching for the Heat of Infant Stars, Comets and the Building Blocks of Life."

Dr. Yvonne Pendleton, an astrophysicist at NASA Ames Research Center and a Science Fellow at the California Academy of Sciences, specializes in the study of  'stardust' and the origin and evolution of interstellar organic matter.   Pendleton's non-technical talk will include some of the first images and information from the Spitzer Space Telescope, a powerful new orbiting instrument that is similar to the Hubble Space Telescope,  but which studies distant and very cold objects in the universe and objects buried inside clouds of dust and gas by detecting infrared light from those objects.

"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."

Pendleton's research into star-forming regions and interstellar dust has resulted in more than 70 publications in scientific journals.  She holds a master's degree in aerospace engineering from Stanford University and a doctorate in astrophysics from the University of California, Santa Cruz.  Asteroid 7165Pendleton has been named in her honor as a result of her research contributions.  In addition to her research efforts, she is currently the science advisor to the director of astrobiology and space research at NASA Ames.

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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