Unveiling ceremony, astronomy program and family activities on Presidents Day

SEATTLE, Feb. 5, 2009

NASA Image Unveiling: Monday, Feb. 16, 11 a.m.

The Museum of Flight is one of only 100 institutions chosen by NASA to participate in a national event unveiling new, breathtaking mural-sized images from all three of NASA's Great Observatories: the Hubble Space Telescope, Spitzer Space Telescope, and Chandra X-ray Observatory. Museum President and CEO Dr. Bonnie J. Dunbar will reveal the images in a ceremony in the Museum's Side Gallery at 11 a.m. on Monday, Feb. 16.  Guests include local academic and civic leaders, and University of Washington astronomer Dr. Bruce Balick, who is the featured speaker in a public program at the Museum at 1 p.m.Museum educators will be offering a selection of fun, space related family activities all day. The Presidents Day events are in celebration of Galileo's birthday--Feb. 15, 1564--and International Year of Astronomy 2009. All events are geared to the family, and are free with admission to the Museum. The New Images
One 6-foot-by-3-foot image shows three striking full-color images that showcase the spiral galaxy Messier 101 in the infrared light observed by Spitzer, the visible light observed by Hubble and the X-ray light observed by Chandra. The images show not only the details of the grand design spiral structure for which the galaxy is famous, but also the underlying giant clouds where stars are born, as well as the hidden locations of black holes and exploded stars. Another 3-foot-by-3-foot image of Messier 101 combines the views from all three telescopes into an amazing composite-like seeing with natural vision, X-ray vision, and through night vision goggles simultaneously.
For more information about the Hubble Space Telescope visit: http://hubblesite.org/
For more information about the Spitzer Space Telescope visit: http://www.spitzer.caltech.edu/
For more information about the Chandra X-ray Observatory visit: http://chandra.harvard.edu/ UW Professor of Astronomy Bruce Balick Lecture: Monday, Feb. 16, 1 p.m.
UW Professor of Astronomy Bruce Balick has used the Hubble Space Telescope extensively. His 1 p.m. talk, "Galileo and the Great Observatories," will feature images from Hubble and the other two NASA Great Observatories to show how they have changed the ways in which we understand stars, galaxies and the cosmos.
Balick was on NASA's scientific design team for a new camera for the Hubble Space Telescope-scheduled to be brought there via Space Shuttle in May, and he plans to be among the most active users of the new instrument.  Balick has been at the UW since 1975 and was recently the Chair of the Astronomy Department. His research field is the deaths of stars.
For more information about Balick, see: http://www.astro.washington.edu/users/balick/
Family Program: Galileo Times 2!, Monday, Feb. 16
Celebrate the birthday and astronomical accomplishments of one of the world's greatest scientists-the 17th century Italian genius Galileo Galilei-by constructing a paper model of Galileo's telescope. Education Program: The Scientific Sky, Monday, Feb. 16
This exciting presentation provides a brief history of astronomy and introduces some of the newest discoveries in the field. Images from the Hubble Space Telescope and results from the latest missions to Mars, Jupiter, and Saturn are included. Family programs will be in the Museum's Side Gallery.
The International Year of Astronomy 2009 celebrates the 400th anniversary of Galileo first turning a telescope to the heavens. From Galileo's first spyglass, telescopes have grown larger and better, and have moved to mountaintops and to space. NASA's Great Observatories represent the achievements of astronomy four centuries later and are honoring this legacy with a national unveiling of new images.
For more information on the International Year of Astronomy visit: http://astronomy2009.us/