The NASA Goddard Space Flight Center Visitor Center will debut its newest exhibit, “Hubble Space Telescope: New Views of the Universe” on Friday, October 3 at 7 p.m. in the Space Science Gallery.

The exhibit is being brought to the Goddard Space Flight Center, Greenbelt, Maryland, in collaboration with the Smithsonian Institute Traveling Exhibition Service.

The “New Views of the Universe” exhibit contains images and data taken from the Hubble Space Telescope (HST) of planets, galaxies, black holes, and many other fascinating cosmic entities. The exhibit is comprised of spectacular backlit color images and contains numerous interactive displays. Using a computer, visitors will be able to ìhitî Jupiter with a comet, attempt to put star clusters in order of age, use the Hubble Deep Field image to estimate the number of galaxies in the universe, match before and after images of colliding galaxies, find specific galaxy distances from Earth using Cepheid variable stars. Using an infrared camera, visitors can also learn about the different wavelengths of light by taking pictures of their hand in visible and infrared light. Numerous videos will be shown including, Shoemaker-Levy (a comet collision with Jupiter), Star Life Cycle Animations, Age of the Universe and the Hubble Deep Field.

“The exhibit is an outstanding venue for presenting the spectacular images of the universe and the associated discoveries made with the Hubble Space Telescope,” said James Jeletic, HST Science Operations Manager at the Goddard Space Flight Center.” Even though I see these images every day, it is inspirational to me when I see them enlarged and illuminated as they appear in this exhibit. We are fortunate that people in this area of the country, including those individuals who devote their careers to operating and enhancing the Hubble Space Telescope, have an opportunity to share this experience.”

Some of the more famous HST images in the exhibit include the Eagle Nebula and the Hubble Deep Field that are rendered as large backlit transparencies (six feet high by 9.5 feet wide). The spiral galaxy NGC 4414 and a montage of our solar system planets (Mercury excluded) also appear on their own large backlit transparencies. Other well-known images such as the Antennae Galaxies, Supernova 1987A, and the comet Shoemaker-Levy collision with Jupiter appear on various light boxes. There are also displays of images and data on black holes, gravitational lenses, star clusters, and more.

“The exhibit magnificently displays and describes the wonders of the night sky that call for us to explore them,” said Kevin Hartnett, a member of the HST Technical Management Team at Goddard. “It also celebrates the achievements of NASA’s Hubble Space Telescope and the many individuals here at Goddard and elsewhere who have labored so hard to make it the productive scientific observatory that it is.”
The exhibit originally opened at the Adler Planetarium and Astronomy Museum in Chicago in June 2000. Other tours have included: Space Center Houston, Kennedy Space Center in Fla., the Strategic Air Command Museum in Ashland in Nebraska, and the North Carolina State Museum of Natural Science in Raleigh. Various versions of the “New Views of the Universe” exhibit will travel to science museums, major planetaria, and space centers through 2005.

“Hubble Space Telescope: New Views of the Universe” has been organized by the Smithsonian Institution Traveling Exhibition Service and the Space Telescope Science Institute, operated for the National Aeronautics and Space Administration by the Association of the Universities for Research in Astronomy, Inc. The exhibition and its educational programs have been made possible through the generous support of the National Aeronautics and Space Administration Offices of Space Science and Education in Washington, D.C. and Lockheed Martin, Bethesda, Md.