Event Date

September 21, 2008

Free lecture Saturday, Sept. 20, 7 p.m.

NASA Scientist to Speak at WNC

Western Nevada College celebrates the fifth anniversary of its Jack C. Davis Observatory on Saturday, Sept. 20, with a star party and free lecture by a NASA scientist. Dr. Dana Backman will speak about how planets are formed at the annual Harlow Shapley Lecture offered by the American Astronomical Society. It begins at Marlette Hall in the Cedar Building at 7 p.m. Star viewing through the observatory's telescopes will follow.

Backman is director of outreach for SOFIA, a far-infrared telescope project. The 20-ton telescope is mounted in the rear fuselage of a highly modified Boeing 747SP aircraft. The telescope research is one of the major components of NASA's Science Mission Directorate.

Backman's talk is on his personal area of research, "Nearby Stars and Debris Disks: A Ringside Seat to Planet Formation." The scientist will discuss evidence of nearby stars having Kuiper belts, which may mean the presence of planets.

Davis Observatory Director Robert Collier said Backman, who earned a Ph.D. in physics from the University of Hawaii, appears courtesy of the AMA, which promotes astronomy to the general public. WNC's Western Nevada Astronomical Society is hosting the star party, with free use of telescopes at the observatory. Information: 445-3000.

Press Release: September 3, 2008

For additional information, please contact:
WNC Information and Marketing Services
2201 W. College Parkway
Carson City, NV 89703
Phone: 775-445-3234
Fax: 775-445-3198
E-mail: info_desk@wnc.edu

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