David Aguilar
(617) 495-7462

Christine Pulliam
(617) 495-7463


CfA Press Release
 Release No: 02-19
For Immediate Release: September 16, 2002

Cosmic Questions Explored in New CfA Museum Exhibit

Cambridge, MA -- On Thursday, September 19, 2002, a new exhibit developed by educators and scientists at the Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics (CfA) will open at the Boston Museum of Science. Titled COSMIC QUESTIONS: OUR PLACE IN SPACE AND TIME, the traveling exhibition focuses on the theme that "the story of the Universe is the story of us." It explores questions such as: What is the universe like? Was there a beginning to time? How do we fit in?

"We designed this exhibit to be both visually stunning and interactive, to interest visitors of all ages while teaching them about astronomy and their place in the Universe," says project director Mary Dussault. "We want to bring astronomy down to Earth and show that these aren't just astronomers' questions, they're everyone's questions."

CfA personnel spent three years planning, designing and constructing the 5,000 square foot exhibit. Among other activities, its four areas offer visitors a chance to:

* Go beyond the visible and observe what the Universe would look like if we could see infrared light or X-rays.
* Journey to a black hole and study it from a virtual orbiting observatory.
* Discover what it's like to be an astronomer - make the acquaintance of observers on a Hawaiian mountaintop or a team launching a great observatory into space.
* Program a remote telescope to take a picture of an object that you select.

COSMIC QUESTIONS was made possible by generous support from the National Science Foundation and from NASA. The exhibition will be on display at the Museum until January 5, 2003. Its national tour will begin in February 2003, managed by the Association of Science-Technology Centers.

Headquartered in Cambridge, Massachusetts, the Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics (CfA) is a joint collaboration between the Smithsonian Astrophysical Observatory and the Harvard College Observatory. CfA scientists organized into seven research divisions study the origin, evolution, and ultimate fate of the universe.

For more information, contact:

David A. Aguilar
Director of Public Affairs
Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics

Christine Lafon
Public Affairs Specialist
Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics
Phone: 617-495-7463, Fax: 617-495-7016

Section Photo