Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:


NASA's Great Observatories Celebrate International Year of Astronomy

Galileo first turned his telescope to the heavens in 1609, marking the dawn of modern astronomy. To commemorate 400 years of exploring the universe, 2009 has been designated the International Year of Astronomy.

In conjunction with Galileo's birthday on Feb. 15, NASA is releasing images from its Great Observatories -- the Hubble Space Telescope, Spitzer Space Telescope, and Chandra X-ray Observatory -- to more than 100 planetariums, museums, nature centers, and schools across the country.

The selected sites will unveil a large, 9-square-foot print of the spiral galaxy Messier 101 that combines the optical view of Hubble, the infrared view of Spitzer, and the X-ray view of Chandra into one multiwavelength picture. "It's like using your eyes, night vision goggles, and X-ray vision all at the same time," said Dr. Hashima Hasan, lead scientist for the International Year of Astronomy at NASA Headquarters in Washington.

Participating institutions also will display a matched trio of Hubble, Spitzer, and Chandra images of Messier 101. Each image shows a different wavelength view of the galaxy that illustrates not only the different science each observatory conducts but also how far astronomy has come since Galileo.

Messier 101 is a spiral galaxy about 22 million light-years away in the constellation Ursa Major. It is larger than our own Milky Way galaxy but similar in many ways. Hubble's visible-light view shows off the swirls of bright stars and glowing gas that give Messier 101 its nickname "the Pinwheel Galaxy." In contrast, Spitzer's infrared-light image sees into the spiral arms and reveals the glow of dust lanes where dense clouds can collapse to form new stars. Chandra's X-ray uncovers the high-energy features in the galaxy, such as remnants of exploded stars or matter zooming around black holes. The juxtaposition of observations from these three telescopes provides an in-depth view of the galaxy for both astronomers and the public.

"The amazing scientific discoveries Galileo made four centuries ago are continued today by scientists using NASA's space observatories," said Denise Smith, the unveiling's project manager at the Space Telescope Science Institute in Baltimore. "NASA's Great Observatories are distributing huge prints of spectacular images so the public can share in the exploration and wonder of the universe."

The unveilings will take place Feb. 14-28 at 76 museums and 40 schools and universities nationwide, reaching both big cities and small towns. Sites are planning celebrations involving the public, schools, and local media.

The Astrophysics Division of NASA's Science Mission Directorate supports the International Year of Astronomy Great Observatories image unveiling. The project is a collaboration among the Space Telescope Science Institute, the Spitzer Science Center in Pasadena, Calif., and the Chandra X-ray Center in Cambridge, Mass.

The M101 images and a list of places exhibiting these images can be found at:

Find out more about NASA's contributions to the International Year of Astronomy at:

J.D. Harrington | Newswise Science News
Further information:

More articles from Physics and Astronomy:

nachricht Gamma ray camera offers new view on ultra-high energy electrons in plasma
28.10.2016 | American Physical Society

nachricht Scientists measure how ions bombard fusion device walls
28.10.2016 | American Physical Society

All articles from Physics and Astronomy >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: Novel light sources made of 2D materials

Physicists from the University of Würzburg have designed a light source that emits photon pairs. Two-photon sources are particularly well suited for tap-proof data encryption. The experiment's key ingredients: a semiconductor crystal and some sticky tape.

So-called monolayers are at the heart of the research activities. These "super materials" (as the prestigious science magazine "Nature" puts it) have been...

Im Focus: Etching Microstructures with Lasers

Ultrafast lasers have introduced new possibilities in engraving ultrafine structures, and scientists are now also investigating how to use them to etch microstructures into thin glass. There are possible applications in analytics (lab on a chip) and especially in electronics and the consumer sector, where great interest has been shown.

This new method was born of a surprising phenomenon: irradiating glass in a particular way with an ultrafast laser has the effect of making the glass up to a...

Im Focus: Light-driven atomic rotations excite magnetic waves

Terahertz excitation of selected crystal vibrations leads to an effective magnetic field that drives coherent spin motion

Controlling functional properties by light is one of the grand goals in modern condensed matter physics and materials science. A new study now demonstrates how...

Im Focus: New 3-D wiring technique brings scalable quantum computers closer to reality

Researchers from the Institute for Quantum Computing (IQC) at the University of Waterloo led the development of a new extensible wiring technique capable of controlling superconducting quantum bits, representing a significant step towards to the realization of a scalable quantum computer.

"The quantum socket is a wiring method that uses three-dimensional wires based on spring-loaded pins to address individual qubits," said Jeremy Béjanin, a PhD...

Im Focus: Scientists develop a semiconductor nanocomposite material that moves in response to light

In a paper in Scientific Reports, a research team at Worcester Polytechnic Institute describes a novel light-activated phenomenon that could become the basis for applications as diverse as microscopic robotic grippers and more efficient solar cells.

A research team at Worcester Polytechnic Institute (WPI) has developed a revolutionary, light-activated semiconductor nanocomposite material that can be used...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>



Event News

#IC2S2: When Social Science meets Computer Science - GESIS will host the IC2S2 conference 2017

14.10.2016 | Event News

Agricultural Trade Developments and Potentials in Central Asia and the South Caucasus

14.10.2016 | Event News

World Health Summit – Day Three: A Call to Action

12.10.2016 | Event News

Latest News

Prototype device for measuring graphene-based electromagnetic radiation created

28.10.2016 | Power and Electrical Engineering

Gamma ray camera offers new view on ultra-high energy electrons in plasma

28.10.2016 | Physics and Astronomy

When fat cells change their colour

28.10.2016 | Life Sciences

More VideoLinks >>>