Thursday, October 8, 2009

Explore galaxies far, far away

While Columbus Day weekend is usually a time for apple picking, leaf peeping, and country fairs, the three-day weekend also commemorates one of the world’s most famous explorers. More than five hundred years after Christopher Columbus sailed the ocean blue, the world of exploration has shifted to the great unknowns of outer space.

It’s appropriate that Columbus Day weekend kicks off the “New Views of the Universe” exhibition at the Ocean Explorium in New Bedford. The traveling exhibition put together by NASA highlights the deep-space discoveries of the Hubble Telescope, which orbits 350 miles above the earth and has located fledgling galaxies as far as 12 billion light years away. Visitors will be able to see some of the Hubble’s dazzling images of planets, galaxies, black holes, and other cosmic bodies along with a scale model of the telescope. Interactive activities, including computer games and videos, showcase how the telescope works. The exhibit will also preview the next generation of exploration with the James Webb telescope, due to launch in 2014.

The exhibit opens on October 10 and will be at the Ocean Explorium through January. The science education center—a blend of aquarium and museum—will also feature talks by some of NASA’s premier scientists and engineers on Tuesday nights in October. The Ocean Explorium is open 10 a.m. to 4 p.m., Thursdays through Sundays and on holidays. Visit for more information.

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