Press Release

Popular Author to Discuss Amateur Astronomers’ Contributions

By SpaceRef Editor
May 15, 2003
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Award-winning writer, filmmaker and PBS commentator Timothy Ferris
will discuss amateur astronomers’ discovery of new and exploding
stars and their search for ancient asteroids that might be on a
collision course with Earth.

Ferris will be the featured speaker at a free public lecture at
Foothill College on Wednesday, May 21 at 7 p.m. PDT. His talk is
entitled “Seeing in the Dark: How Backyard Astronomers are Probing
Deep Space and Guarding Earth from Interplanetary Peril.” New
technologies within the reach of even modest budgets have transformed
the hobby of astronomy in recent years. It is a topic chronicled by
Ferris in New Yorker magazine articles and in his widely praised new
book “Seeing in the Dark.” Ferris will sign copies of the book after
the lecture.

“NASA Ames is proud to co-sponsor the Silicon Valley Astronomy
Lecture Series, which exemplifies excellence in science outreach,”
said NASA Ames Research Center Director G. Scott Hubbard. “This
series is just one element of our efforts to inspire the next
generation of engineers and space explorers.”

A night sky observing ‘star party,’ open to the general public, will
be held at the Foothill College Observatory following Ferris’ talk.
The event will feature a variety of telescopes, with guidance
provided by the Peninsula Astronomical Society. Since the moon will
be more than three-quarters full, the likely sky objects for viewing
will be Jupiter and Saturn, plus distant deep sky objects such as
double stars, star clusters and galaxies. Amateur astronomers are
invited to set up their own telescopes. Guests are advised to bring a
jacket or sweater, if they plan to stay for the star party after the

This is the fourth year of the Silicon Valley Astronomy Lecture
Series, which 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.

The 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. Seating is on a first-come, first-served
basis. Young people over the age of 13 are welcome. More information
is available by calling the series hotline at 650/949-7888.

SpaceRef staff editor.