- The nine
75-watt halogen street lights in the gallery meet the International
Dark-Sky Association's approval because they illuminate downward
only, protecting the night sky from light pollution that limits
astronomical observations in densely populated areas.
- The replica
of Tycho Brahe's armillary sphere was displayed at the 1962
World's Fair in Seattle, officially known as the "Century
21 Exposition." John Glenn's "Friendship 7" Mercury
spacecraft, now part of the museum's "Milestones of Flight"
gallery, was also displayed at the fair.
Herschel died in 1822 but his son John took the 20-foot telescope
from England to South Africa in 1833 and used it to complete
his father's work of mapping the entire night sky.
- There is
an industrial diamond in one camera of the Prime Focus Spectrograph;
a sapphire in another camera of the spectrograph. Both gems
are used to flatten the focal plane where the photographic emulsion
- The cartoons
explaining how detectors sense light from the entire known spectrum,
displayed in the "Exploring the Universe in the Digital
Age," were drawn by Eli Dwek, a theoretical astrophysicist
at NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center in Greenbelt, Md.
- The exhibition's
backup Hubble Space Telescope (HST) mirror is optically flawless.
The mirror flown on the HST differed in shape by less than 1/50th
the thickness of a human hair but that was enough to require
major repairs by spacewalking astronauts.
- The Hopkins
Utraviolet Telescope (HUT), the Hubble Space Telescope WF/PC
("whiff-pick") camera and the Faint Object Spectrograph
(FOS) on display in "Explore the Universe" actually
explored in space. The HUT flew in 1990 and 1995 and operated
within the space shuttle's payload bay. The WF/PC was deployed
as part of Hubble Space Telescope in 1990 and retrieved during
a vital servicing mission in 1993; the FOS was in orbit as part
of the Hubble Space Telescope for almost seven years before
being removed in 1997.
- The Chandra
X-ray Observatory is named for the late astrophysicist Subrahmanyan
Chandrasekhar (su-bra-MAHN-yahn chan-drah-SAY-kar). Known to
the world as Chandra (which means "moon" or "luminous"
in Sanskrit), the University of Chicago professor was awarded
the 1983 Nobel Prize for his theoretical studies of the physical
processes important to the structure and evolution of stars.
the Universe Media Kit:
The Universe Press Release - September 13, 2001
Explore The Universe Curator's Top
Explore The Universe Interactive,
Graphic and Audiovisual Highlights
Explore The Universe Bios
Explore The Universe Quick Facts
Explore The Universe Fun Facts
Explore The Universe Imagery for Press
Online Exhibition: http://airandspace.si.edu/exploretheuniverse
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