McAuliffe Center to Become New Home for NASA Commissioned Exhibit of Deep Space Images

McAuliffe Center to Become New Home for NASA Commissioned Exhibit of Deep Space Images

Sep 11, 2014

The Framingham State University Christa Corrigan McAuliffe Center will be the new home of a stunning collection of astronomical images taken by the NASA Chandra X-ray Observatory.

The exhibition was commissioned by NASA headquarters to celebrate the 15th anniversary of the launch of the observatory. It opened in Washington D.C. earlier this year and is now going to be hosted permanently at the McAuliffe Center.

“You don’t need to be a scientist to appreciate the beauty of these images,” says McAuliffe Center Director, Dr. Irene Porro. “People can think of it like an art gallery. If you want to know more about what you are looking at, that’s when we can get into the science behind it.”

Dr. Belinda Wilkes, director of the Chandra X-ray Observatory, will be on hand for a special grand opening of the exhibit on Friday, September 26, from 4 to 6 p.m. at the McAuliffe Center. Dr. Wilkes will give a special presentation on the first 15 years of the observatory in the University’s state-of-the-art Planetarium. Beginning on October 3rd, the exhibit will be open to the public every Friday from 2 to 5 p.m.

The Chandra Observatory was launched in 1999 on the Space Shuttle Columbia. The X-ray telescope has taken images of the universe as it looked about 800 million years after the Big Bang (or just about 12.5 billion years ago).

The Chandra X-ray Observatory is a scientific collaboration between the Smithsonian Astrophysical Observatory and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and the control center for the Observatory is located in Kendall Square in Cambridge. Dr. Porro, who prior to coming to FSU was the educational director at MIT’s Kavli Institute for Astrophysics and Space Research, was able to capitalize on her connections at the observatory in order to bring the exhibit to Framingham State.

“This is the first concrete step toward a stronger partnership between the McAuliffe Center and the Chandra X-ray Observatory,“ she says.

More information about the Chandra mission can be found here.

About Framingham State University

Framingham State University was founded in 1839 as the nation’s first public university for the education of teachers. Since that time, it has evolved into a vibrant, comprehensive liberal arts institution offering small, personalized classes on a beautiful New England campus. Today, the University enrolls more than 6,000 students with 58 undergraduate and graduate degree programs in the arts, humanities, sciences, social sciences and professional fields. As a State College and University (SCU), Framingham State prides itself on quality academic programs, affordability, and commitment to access for all qualified students.