Release 45 of 86

NASA's Great Observatories Celebrate International Year of Astronomy

Release date: Nov 10, 2009 11:00 AM (EST)

A never-before-seen view of the turbulent heart of our Milky Way galaxy is being unveiled by NASA on Nov. 10. This event will commemorate the 400 years since Galileo first turned his telescope to the heavens in 1609. In celebration of this International Year of Astronomy, NASA is releasing images of the galactic center region as seen by its Great Observatories to more than 150 planetariums, museums, nature centers, libraries, and schools across the country.

The Full Story
Release date: Nov 10, 2009
NASA's Great Observatories Celebrate International Year of Astronomy

A never-before-seen view of the turbulent heart of our Milky Way galaxy is being unveiled by NASA on Nov. 10. This event will commemorate the 400 years since Galileo first turned his telescope to the heavens in 1609.

In celebration of this International Year of Astronomy, NASA is releasing images of the galactic center region as seen by its Great Observatories to more than 150 planetariums, museums, nature centers, libraries, and schools across the country.

The sites will unveil a giant, 6-foot-by-3-foot print of the bustling hub of our galaxy that combines a near-infrared view from the Hubble Space Telescope, an infrared view from the Spitzer Space Telescope, and an X-ray view from the Chandra X-ray Observatory into one multiwavelength picture. Experts from all three observatories carefully assembled the final image from large mosaic photo surveys taken by each telescope. This composite image provides one of the most detailed views ever of our galaxy's mysterious core.

Participating institutions also will display a matched trio of Hubble, Spitzer, and Chandra images of the Milky Way's center on a second large panel measuring 3 feet by 4 feet. Each image shows the telescope's different wavelength view of the galactic center region, illustrating not only the unique science each observatory conducts, but also how far astronomy has come since Galileo.

The composite image features the spectacle of stellar evolution: from vibrant regions of star birth, to young hot stars, to old cool stars, to seething remnants of stellar death called black holes. This activity occurs against a fiery backdrop in the crowded, hostile environment of the galaxy's core, the center of which is dominated by a supermassive black hole nearly four million times more massive than our Sun. Permeating the region is a diffuse blue haze of X-ray light from gas that has been heated to millions of degrees by outflows from the supermassive black hole as well as by winds from massive stars and by stellar explosions. Infrared light reveals more than a hundred thousand stars along with glowing dust clouds that create complex structures including compact globules, long filaments, and finger-like "pillars of creation," where newborn stars are just beginning to break out of their dark, dusty cocoons.

The unveilings will take place at 152 institutions nationwide, reaching both big cities and small towns. Each institution will conduct an unveiling celebration 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 in Baltimore, Md., the Spitzer Science Center in Pasadena, Calif., and the Chandra X-ray Center in Cambridge, Mass.



BACKGROUND INFORMATION: LIST OF PARTICIPATING INSTITUTIONS FOR IYA 2009 GREAT OBSERVATORIES GALACTIC CENTER REGION IMAGE UNVEILING

  • Adler Planetarium and Astronomy Museum, Chicago, Illinois
  • Adventure Science Center, Nashville, Tennessee
  • Allegheny College, Meadville, Pennsylvania
  • Andover Public Library, Andover, Ohio
  • Antioch Community High School, Antioch, Illinois
  • Arizona Science Center, Phoenix, Arizona
  • Arlington Heights Memorial Library, Arlington Heights, Illinois
  • Ball State University Planetarium, Muncie, Indiana
  • Barberton Public Library, Barberton, Ohio
  • Barlow Planetarium, Menasha, Wisconsin
  • Batesville Memorial Public Library, Batesville, Indiana
  • Beachwood City Schools, Beachwood, Ohio
  • Bellarmine University, Louisville, Kentucky
  • Berkeley County Planetarium, Hedgesville, West Virginia
  • Bertha Voyer Memorial Library, Honey Grove, Texas
  • Bladen County Public Library, Elizabethtown, North Carolina
  • Boyle County Public Library, Danville, Kentucky
  • Bradley Observatory, Agnes Scott College, Decatur, Georgia
  • Brigham City Library, Brigham City, Utah
  • Calusa Nature Center and Planetarium, Fort Myers, Florida
  • Cameron Village Regional Library, Raleigh, North Carolina
  • Carmel High School Planetarium, Carmel, Indiana
  • Carnegie Public Library, East Liverpool, Ohio
  • Carnegie Science Center, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania
  • Cedar City Public Library, Cedar City, Utah
  • Centennial School District, Warminster, Pennsylvania
  • Chabot Space and Science Center, Oakland, California
  • Challenger Learning Center of Alaska, Kenai, Alaska
  • Challenger Learning Center of the San Joaquin Valley, Atwater, California
  • Cheektowaga Public Library, Cheektowaga, New York
  • The Children's Museum, West Hartford, Connecticut
  • The Christenberry Planetarium at Samford University, Birmingham, Alabama
  • The Citadel, Charleston, South Carolina
  • Columbus-Lowndes Public Library, Columbus, Mississippi
  • Connecticut Science Center, Hartford, Connecticut
  • Corning East High School, Corning, New York
  • Cradle of Aviation Museum, Garden City, New York
  • Cranbrook Institute of Science, Bloomfield Hills, Michigan
  • DC Public Library, Washington, DC
  • Defiance Public Library, Defiance, Ohio
  • Denver Museum of Nature and Science, Denver, Colorado
  • Des Plaines Valley Public Library District, Lockport, Illinois
  • Detroit Science Center, Detroit, Michigan
  • Discovery Museum and Planetarium, Bridgeport, Connecticut
  • Discovery Station and Brish Planetarium (Joint applicants), Hagerstown, Maryland
  • Don Harrington Discovery Center, Amarillo, Texas
  • Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Library (co-managed by San Jose Public and San Jose State Univ. Libraries), San Jose, California
  • Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Planetarium, Omaha, Nebraska
  • Drake Planetarium and Science Center, Cincinnati, Ohio
  • DuPont Planetarium - University of South Carolina Aiken, Aiken, South Carolina
  • Eureka Public Library District, Eureka, Illinois
  • Exploration Place, Wichita, Kansas
  • Explorit Science Center, Davis, California
  • Flagstaff City-Coconino County Public Library, Flagstaff, Arizona
  • Fontenelle Nature Association, Bellevue, Nebraska
  • Georgia Southern Planetarium, Statesboro, Georgia
  • Gheens Science Hall and Rauch Planetarium, Louisville, Kentucky
  • Grafton-Midview Public Library, Grafton, Ohio
  • Great Lakes Science Center, Cleveland, Ohio
  • Greenwich Public Library, Greenwich, Connecticut
  • Harris County Public Library, Lone Star College-CyFair Branch, Cypress, Texas
  • The Health Adventure, Asheville, North Carolina
  • Holly Grove Elementary School Media Center, Holly Springs, North Carolina
  • Holyoke Community College, Holyoke, Massachusetts
  • Hudnall Planetarium, Tyler, Texas
  • Hudson Library and Historical Society, Hudson, Ohio
  • Imiloa Astronomy Center of Hawaii, Hilo, Hawaii
  • Jefferson High School of Lafayette School Corporation, Lafayette, Indiana
  • Kansas City Missouri School District Planetarium, Kansas City, Missouri
  • Kate Love Simpson Morgan County Library, McConnelsville, Ohio
  • Kennedy Planetarium, South Bend, Indiana
  • Keystone Local School District, LaGrange, Ohio
  • Kingsville Public Library, Kingsville, Ohio
  • Knox County Public Library, Vincennes, Indiana
  • Kopernik Observatory and Science Center, Vestal, New York
  • Lafayette Science Museum, Lafayette, Louisiana
  • Lakeview Museum of Arts and Sciences, Peoria, Illinois
  • LeRoy Collins Leon County Public Library System, Tallahassee, Florida
  • Lexington Public Library, Lexington, Kentucky
  • Lincoln Township Public Library, Stevensville, Michigan
  • Longway Planetarium, Flint, Michigan
  • Loudoun County Public Library, Leesburg, Virginia
  • Louisiana Art and Science Museum, Baton Rouge, Louisiana
  • Lueninghoener Planetarium, Midland Lutheran College, Fremont, Nebraska
  • Lyndon State College Library, Lyndonville, Vermont
  • Mancos Public Library, Mancos, Colorado
  • Mangum Elementary School, Bahama, North Carolina
  • Margaret C Woodson Planetarium, Salisbury, North Carolina
  • Marietta College; Anderson Hancock Planetarium, Marietta, Ohio
  • Mary L. Cook Public Library, Waynesville, Ohio
  • Maryland Science Center, Baltimore, Maryland
  • Marysville Public Library, Marysville, Ohio
  • Mayborn Planetarium, Central Texas College, Killeen, Texas
  • McAuliffe-Shepard Discovery Center, Concord, New Hampshire
  • McWane Science Center, Birmingham, Alabama
  • Medina City Schools / Medina Senior High School, Medina, Ohio
  • Merrillville Community Schools/Planetarium, Merrillville, Indiana
  • Metropolitan School District of Pike Township Planetarium, Indianapolis, Indiana
  • Milwaukee County Parks Department, Franklin, Wisconsin
  • Milwaukee Public Museum, Milwaukee, Wisconsin
  • Minerva Public Library, Minerva, Ohio
  • Missaukee District Library, Lake City, Michigan
  • Mohave Middle School, Scottsdale, Arizona
  • Morehead State University Space Science Center, Morehead, Kentucky
  • Morrison Regional Library, Charlotte, North Carolina
  • Mt. Evans Outdoor Education Laboratory, Evergreen, Colorado
  • NASA Goddard Space Flight Center Visitor Center, Greenbelt, Maryland
  • National Soaring Museum, Elmira, New York
  • New Carlisle Public Library, New Carlisle, Ohio
  • North Carolina Museum of Natural Sciences, Raleigh, North Carolina
  • North Central College Oesterle Library, Naperville, Illinois
  • Orland Park Public Library, Orland Park, Illinois
  • Pacific Science Center, Seattle, Washington
  • Pekin Public Library, Pekin, Illinois
  • Peter F. Hurst Planetarium (Jackson Public Schools), Jackson, Michigan
  • Pink Palace Museum, Memphis, Tennessee
  • The Planetarium at the College of Southern Nevada, Cheyenne Campus, North Las Vegas, Nevada
  • Princeton Public Library, Princeton, New Jersey
  • Purdue University, West Lafayette, Indiana
  • Putnam County Public Library, Greencastle, Indiana
  • Rainwater Observatorty and Planetarium, French Camp, Mississippi
  • Raritan Valley Community College, North Branch, New Jersey
  • Robeson Planetarium and Science Center, Lumberton, North Carolina
  • Saint Louis Science Center, St. Louis, Missouri
  • Santa Barbara Museum of Natural History, Santa Barbara, California
  • Schenectady Museum and Suits-Bueche Planetarium, Schenectady, New York
  • Schreder Planetarium - Shasta County Office of Education, Redding, California
  • Science Center of Pinellas, St Petersburg, Florida
  • The Science Factory Childrens Museum and Planetarium, Eugene, Oregon
  • Southern Illinois University Edwardsville, Edwardsville, Illinois
  • Stephens Memorial Observatory - Hiram College, Hiram, Ohio
  • Strasenburgh Planetarium, Rochester Museum and Science Center, Rochester, New York
  • Tellus Museum, White, Georgia
  • Texas AandM University-Commerce Planetarium, Commerce, Texas
  • Three Rivers Public Library District, Channahon, Illinois
  • Toledo-Lucas County Public Library, Toledo, Ohio
  • Tulsa Air and Space Museum and Planetarium, Tulsa, Oklahoma
  • Twinsburg Public Library, Twinsburg, Ohio
  • University of Arkansas, Fayetteville, Arkansas
  • University of Maine Maynard F. Jordan Planetarium, Orono, Maine
  • University of Nebraska at Kearney, Kearney, Nebraska
  • University of Nebraska - Lincoln, Ralph Mueller Planetarium, Lincoln, Nebraska
  • University of North Alabama Planetarium and Observatory, Florence, Alabama
  • University of Notre Dame, Notre Dame, Indiana
  • The University of Toledo, Toledo, Ohio
  • Urbana University, Urbana, Ohio
  • Virginia Air and Space Center, Hampton, Virginia
  • Walter R. Schuele Planetarium, Bay Village, Ohio
  • Warren County Public Library, Belvidere, New Jersey
  • Westlake Porter Public Library, Westlake, Ohio
  • Whitworth Ferguson Planetarium, Buffalo, New York
  • Wright-Patterson Air Force Base Library, Wright-Patterson Air Force Base, Ohio