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Carnegie Science Center to Display New NASA Deep Space Images


mages Unveiled on Galileo’s Birthday, Sunday, Feb. 15

PITTSBURGH, PA. – In 1609, Galileo first turned his telescope to the heavens and gave birth to modern astronomy. To commemorate 400 years of exploring the universe, NASA’s Great Observatories have provided Carnegie Science Center and more than 100 other planetariums and museums prints of a before unseen image created by several different telescopes.

At 2 pm on Sunday, February 15, Galileo’s birthday, Carnegie Science Center will unveil two prints of a new deep space image of the spiral galaxy Messier 101 created by combining the optical view from the Hubble Space Telescope, the infrared view from the Spitzer Space Telescope, and the image provided by the Chandra X-ray Observatory. One print will overlay the images captured by the three observatories while a matched trio of images of Messier 101 will show the separate images, illustrating the different wavelength views of the galaxy uncovered by each observatory.

“These images provided by NASA give us yet another tool to use in inspiring our visitors to explore astronomy, whether as a hobby or for the myriad of science careers revolving around astronomy,” said John Radzilowicz, Carnegie Science Center Director of Visitor Experience and University of Pittsburgh astronomy professor. “Thousands of professionals from around the world use these telescopes on a daily basis to explore the universe, and these images provide our visitors a look at the amazing images researchers and astronomers see every day.”

Messier 101 is a face-on spiral galaxy about 22 million light-years away in the constellation Ursa Major. It is in many ways similar to, but larger than, our own Milky Way galaxy. Hubble’s visible-light view shows off the swirls of bright stars and glowing gas that give the galaxy 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 picture 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 made by Galileo four centuries ago are continued today by scientists using NASA’s space observatories,” says Dr. Denise Smith, the unveiling Project Manager at the Space Telescope Science Institute in Baltimore, Md. “NASA’s Great Observatories are distributing huge prints of spectacular images so that the public can share in the exploration and wonder of the universe.”

The International Year of Astronomy Great Observatories Image Unveiling is supported by the NASA Science Mission Directorate Astrophysics Division. The project is a collaboration between the Space Telescope Science Institute, the Spitzer Science Center, and the Chandra X-ray Center.

For more information, please contact Mike Marcus, Carnegie Science Center Assistant Director of Marketing & Community Affairs at or call at 412.237.1657.


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