Dr. David Westpfahl SOCORRO, N.M., December 20, 2001 -- David J. Westpfahl, a professor of astrophysics at New Mexico Tech, and the university's soon-to-be constructed Magdalena Ridge Observatory (MRO), are prominently mentioned in one of the chapters included in the recently published book, Distant Wanderers: The Search for Planets Beyond the Solar System, written by science journalist Bruce Dorminey.

The 360-page, hardcover book covers the enormous strides astronomers recently have made in their expanded searches for new planets of all forms, shapes, and sizes.

In this descriptive narrative about the frontiers of astronomical research and science, Dorminey incorporates interviews he conducted with dozens of astronomers, exobiologists, and other planet-searchers, including one with Westpfahl which focuses on the MRO, a state-of-the-art optical observatory that will combine the magnifying power of three telescopes to produce extremely detailed images of the far reaches of the universe.