Portrait of the Milky Way
Acrylic on linen
Jon Lomberg collaborated with astronomer Jeff Goldstein to create this highly accurate view of our Milky Way galaxy for display in the Museum’s Where Next, Columbus? gallery (1992–2002). Working with the best astronomical data available, Lomberg and Goldstein plotted a computer–generated map of the Milky Way on the canvas. Then along the galaxy’s spiral arms, they carefully positioned more than 300 known objects, including nebulae, globular clusters, and star clusters.
Although incredibly precise and detailed, the painting is now dated—it reflects what we knew about our galaxy in the late 1980s. Since then, images from such space telescopes as the Hubble and Spitzer have deepened our knowledge of the Milky Way.
Lomberg was astronomer Carl Sagan’s primary artistic collaborator for more than two decades. He worked on Sagan’s Cosmos television series (for which Lomberg won an Emmy) and created covers for many Sagan books. He conceived the graphic elements used on the covers of both “Sounds of Earth” records (another Sagan project) that were placed aboard the two Voyager spacecraft. Lomberg also served as a visual consultant on the 1997 film Contact, based on Sagan’s novel, and designed many of the film’s astronomical sequences.
Gift of Jon Lomberg
Go back to 1992
Go to Hubble Space Telescope