Your Ticket to the Universe

A Guide to Exploring the Cosmos, by Megan Watzke & Kimberly Arcand


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Megan Watzke

Curiosity about the unknown has led Megan Watzke to travel to some 20 countries, and also – to take the realm of exploration to the extreme -- study astrophysics at the University of Michigan.  When it was clear that a research career wasn’t for her, she went on to a Boston University science journalism program.  For the past twelve years, she has worked on communicating astronomy to the general public. As the press officer for NASA’s Chandra X-ray Observatory since 2000, she has worked toward infusing science in the public’s consciousness, trying to remove the stigma that science holds for so many, especially girls, women, minorities and other under-represented groups. Follow Megan on Twitter or on the Facebook page for Your Ticket to the Universe.

Curriculum Vitae:

Megan Watzke is the public affairs officer for the Chandra X-ray Observatory, a position she has held since 2000.  Her responsibilities include the dissemination of Chandra’s science results to the general public through press releases, press conferences, informal education and other activities.  This role involves coordination between many entities: the scientific community, NASA, other astronomical observatories, the media, and the public.  A particular area of interest of hers for the past several years has been the growth and evolution of the communication of astronomy.  She has received awards – both for individual and group efforts – from NASA and the Smithsonian.

i. Professional Preparation

Boston University, Science Journalism program/Masters degree


University of Michigan, Astronomy and Astrophysics/Bachelor’s of Science


ii. Professional Appointments

Public Affairs Officer, Chandra X-ray Observatory, Smithsonian Astrophysical Observatory

September 2000 – present

Public Affairs Officer, Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics

January 1997 – September 2000

iii. Selected Recent Publications

Arcand, K.K, Watzke, M, Bringing the Universe Down to Earth.  Sky & Telescope’s Beautiful Universe 2009.

Watzke, M, Arcand, K.K, “An Overview of ‘From Earth to the Universe’ in the International Year of Astronomy 2009,” ASP Conference Proceedings. 2008

Arcand, K.K, Watzke, M, “Maximizing the Mileage from the Chandra Podcasts,” Communicating Astronomy with the Public 2007.  2007

Watzke, M, “Communicating X-ray Astronomy,” Organizations and Strategies in Astronomy, Volume 7. 2006.

iv. Selected Activities

Co-Chair, IAU’s IYA2009 Cornerstone Project “From Earth to the Universe,” 2007-present

Creator & Co-Chair, Smithsonian Astrophysical Observatory’s Visualizing at the CfA, 2007 - Present

Co-Chair, 6 Years of Chandra Visualization Workshop, 2005

Contact:  megwatzke at


Megan Watzke, photo courtesy of

Adeline & Grace Photography