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Education Newswire: March/April 1999

Probing Names

NASA has announced the start of a contest to name its Deep Space 2 mission’s two microprobes, scheduled to be launched with the Mars Polar Lander. The microprobes will impact and penetrate the surface of Mars in December 1999. Participants in the probe-naming contest can choose either two deceased people from history, mythology, or fiction, two places or things that are in some way associated with each other, or a combination. Their choices should be accompanied by a short written composition of up to 100 words explaining why their entries would make good names for the miniature probes. Complete details, entry forms, and further information about Deep Space 2, are available at The deadline is 30 April 1999, and winners will be announced in November. Each finalist will receive a copy of a Deep Space 2 poster signed by the project team.

And the Winners Are…

NASA’s newest orbiting telescope, which will study x-rays produced by some of the most violent events in the Universe, will carry the name of pioneering University of Chicago astrophysicist Subrahmanyan Chandrasekhar. “Chandra” was more than just one of the century’s leading astrophysicists. His commitment to teaching was legendary.

NASA sponsored a naming contest for the Observatory that attracted more than 6,000 entries. An independent panel selected two winners who both wrote essays suggesting Chandra’s name: Mrs. Jatila van der Veen, a physics and astronomy teacher at Adolfo Camarillo High School in Camarillo, California; and Tyrel Johnson, a student at Priest River Lamanna High School in Laclede, Idaho. NASA plans to launch the Chandra Observatory no earlier than 8 April 1999 on the Space Shuttle Columbia.

“The Women Of NASA”

In order to encourage more young women to pursue careers in math, science, and technology, NASA has developed “The Women of NASA” website. The “Women of NASA” features profiles of women who have successful careers at NASA and discussions on how these women have balanced their personal lives with their professional careers. Each week is highlighted by a web-mentor who participates in an online chat with visitors to the site. The site also provides guidance for teachers who wish to integrate “The Women of NASA” into their lessons, and there are links to other resources. To get to know “The Women of NASA” go to

Mount Wilson Summer Program For Undergraduates

The Consortium for Undergraduate Research and Education in Astronomy (CUREA) announces the Mount Wilson Summer Program for Undergraduates, 16†29 June 1999. Note that the Program this year is much earlier than last year’s. Undergraduate physics and astronomy majors with at least junior standing are invited to apply to this combined short-course and hands-on astronomy/astrophysics program at the Mount Wilson Observatory in the San Gabriel Mountains overlooking Los Angeles. Students and staff live on-site while gaining hands-on experience in spectroscopy, celestial photography, and darkroom work. There will also be field trips to CalTech, JPL, and Palomar, as well as special lectures and tours of the Mount Wilson facilities. The tuition is $1,550 which will cover all expenses except travel to Burbank. The application deadline is 15 April 1999. For more information, contact Joseph Snider at

Youth Camp and Hungary For An Eclipse

The 35th International Astronomical Youth Camp (IAYC) will be held in Vep, Hungary, from 31 July to 22 August 1999. About seventy people, between 16 and 24 years of age and from many different countries, live together for three weeks and share a common interest, astronomy. Participants in the IAYC carry out their own small research project, using their own observations. This year’s camp location will allow for observation of the total solar eclipse on 11 August; the central line of the eclipse is only a few kilometers from the castle which serves as the camp house. English will be the official language used. Applications are taken on a continuing basis until the program is filled. Cost for the camp is under $400. Further information and application forms can by found at their website, located at

Move Over Messier

The 1966 Sky & Telescope reprint “The Finest Deep-Sky Objects,” authored by Jim Mullaney and used by hundreds of professional and amateur astronomers around the world, is being supplanted by his new publication, Celestial Harvest: 300-Plus Showpieces of the Heavens for Telescope Viewing & Contemplation. To purchase, contact Jim at

LEO P. CONNOLLY is an astronomer who has been teaching astronomy and physics for 26 years. His current coordinates place him at the Department of Physics at California State University, San Bernardino. His email address is