Okay, so I own a telescope. Actually I own 2 telescopes. Nerd alert, I know. But I really like astronomy. It’s so much fun to find the thousands upon thousands of things in the night sky. There is an endless supply of things to see, especially if you have a dark sky.
Vestavia, where I live, doesn’t exactly have the darkest skies. There is a lot of “light pollution” which is an amateur astronomers worst enemy, next to clouds that is. If you want to find the darkest skies you’d have to go to the middle of a desert or just leave Earth altogether. Well, as it turns out, NASA has several telescopes that have done just that.
To name a few: the Chandra X-ray Observatory, Hubble Space Telescope and Spitzer Space Telescope are all floating around in space, orbiting Earth, minding their own business. And their business is serious. They are doing some complicated science as they take images of the farthest reaches of the known universe. The images are not just pretty pictures for us to enjoy in forwarded emails or the occasional news story, but they reveal startling and revealing things about the space around us.
This Saturday. November 21st, McWane is unveiling never before photographs taken by these three amazing space telescopes of the central region of our galaxy, The Milky Way, to commemorate the International Year of Astronomy. The International Year of Astronomy 2009 celebrates the 400th anniversary of Galileo turning a telescope to the heavens. Boy, have we come a long way since then!
The images are absolutely beautiful. A giant 6-foot-by-3-foot image presents a unique view that showcases the Galaxy in near-infrared light observed by Hubble, infrared light observed by Spitzer, and X-ray light observed by Chandra. Its’ the most wide ranging view you’ve ever seen of our galaxies core.
My friends and fellow members of Birmingham Astronomical Society will be here as well for the celebration, complete with their telescopes and space knowledge. The festivities begin at 10:00 am and the images will be unveiled at 1:00 pm. Don’t miss it!
Want more? Click here to learn about the Hubble Space Telescope, scope out the Spitzer Space Telescope, check into the Chandra X-ray Observatory and above all click here to learn what NASA’s celebration of the International Year of Astronomy is all about,
Hope to see you Saturday!