September 7, 2006S
tudents can help astronaut Steve MacLean count stars during space shuttle Atlantis' upcoming mission, set to launch September 8 from Kennedy Space Center. As part of the Star Count experiment, STS-115 crew member and Canadian Space Agency astronaut MacLean will upload data from the Star Count web site and make observations while aboard the space shuttle.
This educational experiment lets students help astronomers assess atmospheric light pollution and study how many stars ground-based observers can see in the night sky. Students will contribute information (number of stars observed, observing location, and viewing conditions) to the Star Count project's online database and compare their observations with those of MacLean and other ground-based observers.
Students who wish to take part in the Star Count project can visit its web site
for more information.
Bound for the International Space Station, space shuttle Atlantis is scheduled to lift off from Kennedy Space Center tomorrow. STS-115 was to have launched August 27, but bad weather and fuel-cell problems have delayed its launch until at least September 8 for further testing.