Montana State University faculty and students who designed and tested optics for a NASA solar mission are now counting down the days when their work will head into space. The Interface Region Imaging Spectrograph (IRIS) is scheduled to launch on Wednesday, June 26 from the Vandenberg Air Force Base in California. MSU scientists are inviting the public to watch with them. This FREE event will run from 7:30 - 9:30 pm in the planetarium at MSU's Museum of the Rockies:

MSU is a part of NASA's newest mission to watch the sun. The Interface Region Imaging Spectrograph will show the lowest levels of the sun's atmosphere, the interface region, in more detail than has ever been observed before. IRIS is scheduled to launch at 8:27 pm Mountain time Wesnesday, June 26. The launch could be postponed at the last minute, but MSU scientists are inviting the public to watch with them at the planned time. Join them for this exciting free event, running from 7:30 - 9:30 pm in the planetarium at MSU's Museum of the Rockies.

Charles Kankelborg, leader of the IRIS team at MSU, said, "in the past six years, more than a dozen people at MSU have helped design and test optics that are part of the IRIS mission to answer some of the biggest questions about the sun."

NASA will also offer the public several opportunities to follow the launch. Extensive pre-launch and launch day coverage will be available on NASA's home page. To view the IRIS webcast and launch blog and learn more about the mission, visit nasa.gov/iris.