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Citadel News Service
4 Nov 2009

Journey to the center of our Galaxy

The Citadel will take visitors on a journey to the center of our Galaxy when it unveils two unprecedented mural-sized images of the Milky Way’s core as seen by three of NASA’s space-based observatories.

The images are being released this month by NASA in observance of the International Year of Astronomy in 2009, which celebrates the 400th anniversary of Galileo turning a telescope to the heavens.

The Citadel Physics Department will celebrate the release of the images with a lecture by Patrick Briggs, associate professor of Physics, entitled “The Milky Way Center: An Unveiling.” The lecture begins at 6:30 p.m. Tuesday, Nov. 17, 2009 in Grimsley Hall Room 117 and is free and open to the public.

At the same time, two stunning photographs of the central region of our Galaxy will be unveiled by Charles Groetsch, dean of the School of Science and Mathematics. A giant 6-foot-by-3-foot image provides the most wide-ranging view ever of our Galaxy’s mysterious hub and combines observations from three orbiting telescopes: Hubble (visible light), Spitzer (infrared radiation), and Chandra (x-rays). Groetsch also will unveil the separate images from each telescope side-by-side on a second 3-foot by 4-foot panel.

The images show the spectacle of stellar evolution from vibrant regions of star birth to young hot stars, to old cool stars, to seething remnants of stellar death called black holes. This activity occurs against a vivid backdrop in the crowded, hostile environment of the Galaxy’s core.

For more information contact The Citadel Physics Department at 843-953-5122.

Other links of interest

Hubble Space Telescope

Spitzer Space Telescope

Chandra X-ray Observatory

NASA’s International Year of Astronomy

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