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Catch a Star! Fifth Edition of Astronomical Competition Launched

ESO and the European Association for Astronomy Education are launching today the 2007 edition of 'Catch a Star!', their international astronomy competition for school students.

Now in its fifth year, the competition offers students the chance to win a once-in-a-lifetime trip to ESO's flagship observatory in Chile, as well as many other prizes. Students are invited to 'become astronomers' and embark on a journey to explore the Universe.

The competition includes separate categories - 'Catch a Star Researchers' and 'Catch a Star Adventurers' - to ensure that every student, whatever their level, has the chance to enter and win exciting prizes. For the artistically minded, 'Catch a Star!' also includes an artwork competition, 'Catch a Star Artists'.

"'Catch a Star!' offers a unique opportunity for students to learn more about astronomy and about the methods scientists use to discover new things about the Universe", said Douglas Pierce-Price, Education Officer at ESO.

In teams, students choose an astronomical topic to study and produce an in-depth report. An important part of the project for 'Catch a Star Researchers' is to think about how ESO's telescopes or a telescope of the future can contribute to their investigations of the subject.

As well as the top prize - a trip to one of ESO's observatory sites in Chile - visits to observatories in Germany, Austria and Spain, and many other prizes are also available to be won. 'Catch a Star Researchers' winners will be chosen by an international jury, and 'Catch a Star Adventurers' will be awarded further prizes by lottery. Entries for 'Catch a Star Artists' will be displayed on the web and winners chosen with the help of a public online vote.

The first editions of 'Catch a Star!' have attracted several hundred entries from more than 25 countries worldwide. Previous winning entries have included "Star clusters and the structure of the Milky Way" (Budapest, Hungary), "Vega" (Acqui Terme, Italy) and "Venus transit" (Lleida, Spain). Some previous winning entries are visible on the Catch a Star! Web site.

Detailed entry information can be found on ESO's website, at

The deadline for submitting an entry for the 2007 competition is Friday 2 March 2007, 17:00 Central European Time.

Henri Boffin | alfa
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