Hubble Space Telescope: New Views of the Universe opens March 1

Saturday, March 1, 2008

During SC State’s 2008 Founders’ Day celebration, an exhibition entitled the Hubble Space Telescope: New Views of the Universe will open at the I.P. Stanback Museum and Planetarium on the campus of SC State. The exhibition will highlight the Hubble Space Telescope’s contributions to astronomy with stunning images and interactive displays.

Celestial experts Mark Voit and Maurice Henderson will also attend the exhibit opening. Voit is the project scientist who developed the Hubble Space Telescope exhibition for the Smithsonian and is the author of its companion book and Henderson of the NASA/Goddard Space Flight Center, a member of the Stanback Advisory Board and leader of the NASA team which installed the exhibition.

Also during the opening which will begin at 6 p.m. on March 1, Part II of Harlem on My Mind 1940-1959 will be exhibited. Harlem on My Mind 1940-1959 has been dedicated to Paul Robeson. SC State’s chief of police, Gregory Harris will share Robeson’s songs.

“We are so excited to bring an exhibition like the Hubble Space Telescope: New Views of the Universe to SC State,” said Ellen Zisholtz, director of the I.P. Stanback Museum and Planetarium. “To have such a fascinating exhibit on display for not only the SC State community, but for the City of Orangeburg, and the state of South Carolina is especially significant,” Zisholtz continued.

A pre-opening lecture on the exhibition will be conducted Mark Voit at 5 pm. Further, tours of exhibitions, a new planetarium show created by Elizabeth Mayo with original music composed by James Orlick, lectures by Don Walter, SC State professor of physics, Hubble researcher and Henderson, music under the stars, and telescope viewing on the front lawn of the museum will be available. There will also be a reception and a wine tasting sponsored by Four Moons Wine and Gourmet of Orangeburg, S.C. and book signings by 13 authors.

Lastly, during the March 1 events, Felton Laboratory School will hold its reunion. The reunion’s special guest will be alumnus Eugene H. Robinson, associate editor and columnist with The Washington Post. Robinson is also the speaker for SC State’s 112 Founders’ Day Celebration which will be held on Sunday, March 2 at 4 p.m. at the Smith-Hammond-Middleton Memorial Center on the campus of SC State.

About Hubble
Named for the pioneering astronomer Edwin P. Hubble, the Hubble Space Telescope (HST) is a large space-based observatory which has revolutionized astronomy by providing unprecedented deep and clear views of the Universe, ranging from our own solar system to extremely remote fledgling galaxies forming not long after the Big Bang 13.7 billion years ago.

Launched in 1990 and placed in orbit 600 miles above the surface of the Earth, Hubble is far above the distorting effects of the Earth’s atmosphere. Four servicing missions with the space shuttle have greatly expanded its scientific powers through the installation of new instrumentation. Hubble’s coverage of light of different colors or “spectral range” extends from the ultraviolet through the visible (to which human eyes are sensitive) and into the near-infrared.

Following the 2003 Columbia Space Shuttle disaster, the fifth and final servicing mission for the Hubble Space Telescope (originally slated for 2005) was cancelled due to safety considerations. Without the manned servicing missions all of the instruments aboard the Hubble would eventually fail, effectively decommissioning the telescope. Space-based observation would be significantly decreased until Hubble’s successor would be launched in 2013. Outcries from the public and scientific communities and appeals from congress to save Hubble eventually changed the minds of the administrators at NASA. The fifth and final servicing mission for the Hubble Space Telescope is targeted for late August 2008. This mission, to be flown by the Space Shuttle Atlantis, will provide Hubble with new instrumentation that will greatly enhance Hubble’s capabilities and further its continued success through the year 2013.

Hubble Space Telescope: New Views of the Universe will be available at the I.P. Stanback Museum and Planetarium beginning March 1 and will continue through June 15, 2008. The exhibition has been organized by the Smithsonian Institution Traveling Exhibition Service and the Space Telescope Science Institute, operated for the National Aeronautics and Space Administration by the Association of Universities for Research in Astronomy, Inc. The exhibition and its educational programs have been made possible through the generous support of the National Aeronautics and Space Administration Offices of Space Science and Education and Lockheed Martin.