ESO and the European Association for Astronomy Education have just launched the 2008 edition of 'Catch a Star', their international astronomy competition for school students. Now in its sixth 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.
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. In teams, students investigate an astronomical topic of their choice and write a report about it. An important part of the project for 'Catch a Star Researchers' is to think about how ESO's telescopes such as the Very Large Telescope (VLT) or future telescopes such as the Atacama Large Millimeter/submillimeter Array (ALMA) and the European Extremely Large Telescope (E-ELT) could contribute to investigations of the topic. Students may also include practical activities such as observations or experiments. For the artistically minded, 'Catch a Star' also offers an artwork competition, 'Catch a Star Artists'.
Last year, hundreds of students from across Europe and beyond took part in 'Catch a Star', submitting astronomical projects and artwork.
"'Catch a Star' gets students thinking about the wonders of the Universe and the science of astronomy, with a chance of winning great prizes. It's easy to take part, whether by writing about astronomy or creating astronomically inspired artwork," said Douglas Pierce-Price, Education Officer at ESO.
As well as the top prize - a trip to ESO's Very Large Telescope in Chile - visits to observatories in Austria and Spain, and many other prizes, can also 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.
Detailed entry information and rules can be found at http://www.eso.org/catchastar/cas2008/.
ContactFor further information on the 'Catch a Star' competition or ESO's other education initiatives, please contact:
Henri Boffin | alfa
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