COMMERCE — Visitors to the Texas A&M University-Commerce Planetarium can journey to the center of the galaxy thanks to new 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 were unveiled to the public on Dec. 1 and will be on display in the planetarium for shows each Friday at 7 and 8 p.m. The photographs of the central region of our Galaxy commemorate the International Year of Astronomy, which celebrates the 400th anniversary of Galileo using a telescope to look into the night skies.
NASA’s Great Observatories honors the crowning achievements in astronomy four centuries after Galileo's discovery with the national image unveiling at the A&M-Commerce Planetarium.
One six-foot-by-three-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 viewed by Chandra. The combined image was assembled from mosaic photo surveys of the core by the telescope and provides the most wide-ranging view of our galaxy’s mysterious hub.
The planetarium also unveiled a matched trio of Hubble, Spitzer and Chandra images of the Milky Way’s center on a three-foot-by-four-foot panel. Each image displays the telescope’s multiple wavelength views of the central region of our galaxy, and shows the growth of science and astronomy since Galileo.
The images also trace the evolution of stars from vibrant regions of star birth and young hot stars, to old cool stars and seething remnants of stellar death called black holes. These multi-wavelength views provide a wealth of scientific information that occurs in the crowded, hostile environment of the galaxy’s core.
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