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Mural-sized images from NASA observatories unveiled

News Release — 13 February 2009


Media contact: Sue Stevens, senior media relations officer, (817) 272-3317,

ARLINGTON - Mural-sized images of stars, solar systems, black holes and other aspects of space will be unveiled by astrophysicist Neil deGrasse Tyson at 3:30 p.m. Tuesday, Feb. 17, at the UT Arlington Planetarium atrium, 700 Planetarium Place.

The murals are part of the "Great Observatories" exhibit by NASA, in celebration of the International Year of Astronomy and the 400th anniversary of Galileo turning his telescope to the heavens.

The images, which will be on permanent display, come from the Hubble Space Telescope, the Chandra X-ray Observatory and Spitzer Space Telescope.

One 6-foot-by-3-foot display shows three full-color images that showcase the galaxy's features in the infrared light observed by Spitzer, the visible light seen by Hubble and the X-ray light detected by Chandra. The images show the details of the grand design spiral structure for which the galaxy is famous and the underlying giant clouds where stars are born, as well as the hidden locations and black holes and exploded stars. These multi-wavelength views provide both stunning beauty and a wealth of scientific information.

Another 3-foot-by-3-foot image of Messier 101 combines the views from all three telescopes into a composite that mimics seeing with eyes, night vision goggles and X-ray vision at the same time.

The International Year of Astronomy's "Great Observatories" 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., supported by the Astrophysics Division of NASA's Science Mission Directorate.

Go online for more information about the Hubble Space Telescope, the Spitzer Space Telescope and the Chandra X-ray Observatory.

Tyson is the director of the Hayden Planetarium at the American Museum of Natural History in New York and host of the PBS educational television show "NOVA scienceNOW."

Tyson will speak as part of the Maverick Speakers Series at 8 p.m. Tuesday at Texas Hall, 701 W. Nedderman Drive. His subject is "The Cosmic Perspective: How the astrophysicists view life, the universe and everything." The event is free but tickets are required. They may be printed from the Maverick Speakers Series Web site. Read the news release to learn more about Tyson.


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