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2009-04-23 02:43:54
NASA's Great Observatories Celebrate International Year of Astronomy 02.10.09 This image of the spiral galaxy Messier 101 is a composite of the Hubble, Chandra and Spitzer space telescopes. Galileo first turned his telescope to the heavens in 1609, marking the dawn of modern astronomy. To commemorate 400 years of exploring the universe, 2009 has been designated the International Year of Astronomy. In conjunction with Galileo's birthday on Feb. 15, NASA is releasing images from its Great Observatories -- the Hubble Space Telescope, Spitzer Space Telescope, and Chandra X-ray Observatory -- to more than 100 planetariums, museums, nature centers and schools across the country. The selected sites will unveil a large 9-square-foot print of the spiral galaxy Messier 101 that combines the optical view of Hubble, the infrared view of Spitzer, and the X-ray view of Chandra into one multi-wavelength picture. "It's like using your eyes, night vision goggles and X-ray vision all at the same time," said Dr. Hashima Hasan, lead scientist for the International Year of Astronomy at NASA Headquarters in Washington