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Ritter Plantetarium and Toledo-Lucas County Public Library celebrate International Year of Astronomy by unveiling mural-sized images from NASA’s great observatories

Ritter Planetarium, of The University of Toledo’s College of Arts and Sciences, and the Toledo-Lucas County Public Library collaborate to take visitors on a journey to the center of our galaxy when they unveil unprecedented mural-sized images of the Milky Way’s core as seen by NASA’s Hubble Space Telescope, Spitzer Space Telescope, and Chandra X-ray Observatory.
The images will be unveiled to the public at 7 p.m. on Nov. 13, 2009, at UT and at 6 p.m. on Nov. 24 at the main branch of the library. The stunning photographs of the central region of our galaxy commemorate the International Year of Astronomy and will be unveiled by Nancy Morrison, director of Ritter Planetarium.
The International Year of Astronomy 2009 celebrates the 400th anniversary of Galileo turning a telescope to the heavens. Since Galileo's spyglass, telescopes have grown ever larger and ever better, and have moved to mountaintops and into space.

NASA’s Great Observatories represent the crowning achievements of astronomy four centuries later and are honoring this legacy with a national image unveiling. Ritter Planetarium and the Toledo-Lucas County Public Library will display these unprecedented images.

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. This combined image was carefully assembled from mosaic photo surveys of the core by each telescope. It provides the most wide-ranging view ever of our Galaxy’s mysterious hub.

Ritter Planetarium and the Toledo-Lucas County Public Library will also unveil 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 central region of our galaxy that illustrates not only the unique science each observatory conducts, but also how far astronomy has come since Galileo.

Within these images one can trace 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 super-massive black hole, millions of times more massive than our Sun.

These multi-wavelength views provide both stunning beauty and a wealth of scientific information that could not have been dreamed of by Galileo.
After the unveiling, the new images will be on permanent display in the lobby of Ritter Planetarium and at the library.  
Ritter Planetarium is located at 2801 W. Bancroft, on UT’s Main Campus. It holds public programs each Friday evening at 7:30 p.m. and Saturday afternoon at 1 p.m.
For more information, call 419-530-2650 or see rpbo.utole

Additional information about the Hubble Space Telescope is available at http://hubblesite.org/. Additional information about the Spitzer Space Telescope is available at http://www.spitzer.caltech.edu/. Additional information about the Chandra X-ray Observatory is available at http://chandra.harvard.edu/. Additional information about NASA’s celebration of the International Year of Astronomy is available at http://astronomy2009.nasa.gov/.






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