The University of Alabama

From ‘Earth to the Universe’ Exhibit Opens at UA Museum

A superb face-on spiral galaxy, The Whirlpool is a popular target for amateur astronomers. This image shows what the NASA / ESA Hubble Space Telescope saw when it observed this classic spiral. Special filters highlight the red glow of enormous hydrogen gas clouds, and this view shows how The Whirlpool is interacting with its much smaller neighbor, the yellow-coloured NGC 5195. (S. Beckwith for the NASA/ ESA Hubble Heritage Team)

A superb face-on spiral galaxy, The Whirlpool is a popular target for amateur astronomers. This image shows what the NASA / ESA Hubble Space Telescope saw when it observed this classic spiral. Special filters highlight the red glow of enormous hydrogen gas clouds, and this view shows how The Whirlpool is interacting with its much smaller neighbor, the yellow-coloured NGC 5195. (S. Beckwith for the NASA/ ESA Hubble Heritage Team)

TUSCALOOSA, Ala. — The University of Alabama’s Museum of Natural History announces the opening of “From Earth to the Universe,” a photographic exhibit on display in the Museum’s Atrium Gallery.

The exhibit consists of 26 stunning images of the universe taken from various telescopes around the world and many of NASA’s space probes. The images in “From Earth to the Universe” are a sample of the wide range of galaxies and star clusters in the universe. The exhibit is part of the mission for the International Year of Astronomy 2009 to bring the universe to everyone.

“We are pleased to serve as a venue for this international exhibition,” said Randy Mecredy, director of UA’s Alabama Museum of Natural History. “These wonderful astronomical images offer views of space that are not visible through a regular telescope and expose the audience to the wonder of the cosmos.”

“These images represent the most memorable products of many cameras and telescopes, at locations from sea level to the vicinity of Saturn,” said  Dr. William Keel, professor of astronomy and curator of the exhibition. “They were selected for visual impact rather than a survey of the science, and a good way to take them in is to simply let the impressions wash over you.”

The International Year of Astronomy 2009 celebrates the first astronomical use of the telescope by Galileo – a momentous event that initiated 400 years of astronomical discoveries and triggered a scientific revolution which profoundly affected our worldview. Now telescopes on the ground and in space explore the Universe, 24 hours a day, across all wavelengths of light.

“The International Year of Astronomy 2009 gives all nations a chance to participate in this ongoing exciting scientific and technological revolution,” said Catherine Cesarsky, president of the International Astronomical Union.

“This exhibition stretches around the globe,” said Keel. “Our installation has the added feature of a research partnership with the new Planetario Habana in Cuba where these prints are on display at the opening of the new planetarium and science-outreach center in Havana.”

The exhibit will be on display at the UA Museum of Natural History through December 23. The Museum is open Monday thru Saturday from 10 am to 4:30 pm. Admission is $2 for adults and $1 for children – UA students, staff and faculty are admitted for free.

UA’s department of physics and astronomy is part of the College of Arts and Sciences, the University’s largest division and the largest liberal arts college in the state. Students from the College have won numerous national awards including Rhodes Scholarships, Goldwater Scholarships and memberships on the USA Today Academic All-American Teams.

The University of Alabama, a student-centered research university, is experiencing significant growth in both enrollment and academic quality. This growth, which is positively impacting the campus and the state's economy, is in keeping with UA's vision to be the university of choice for the best and brightest students. UA, the state's flagship university, is an academic community united in its commitment to enhancing the quality of life for all Alabamians.

  • CONTACT: Chris Bryant, UA Media Relations, 205/348-8323, cbryant@ur.ua.edu
  • SOURCE: Randy Mecredy, director, Alabama Museum of Natural History, 205/348-2136; Dr. William Keel, 205/348-1641, wkeel@bama.ua.edu