From Earth to the Universe exhibition opens at the Powerhouse Museum

Part of the Beyond the Milky Way section of the FETTU exhibition, image Nick Lomb

Part of the Beyond the Milky Way section of the FETTU exhibition, image Nick Lomb

This morning (Friday 11 September 2009) saw the launch of the From Earth to the Universe (FETTU) exhibition on Level 2 of the Powerhouse Museum. The large group of invited guests including a number of science teachers attending a conference were welcomed by the Director of the Museum, Dawn Casey. Dr Casey mentioned that the exhibition was a major contribution by the Museum to the International Year of Astronomy and that science was a major priority for the organisation over the next three years. She then introduced the main speaker, Ilana Feain of the Australia Telescope National Facility. Dr Feain was largely responsible for the most detailed image of an active radio galaxy, Centaurus A, ever made. A giant wall print of this image has been placed just outside the entrance to the exhibition.

We will gloss over the the few words from the final speaker, a notorious blogger who is also associated with the exhibition. In his on-the-fly remarks he mused about the reaction of a past astronomer and pioneer astronomical photographer at Sydney Observatory, Henry Chamberlain Russell, to the magnificent images in the exhibition. Maybe he would be excited about the large format colour images, but could he cope with images taken in radio, infra-red, ultraviolet or X-rays? I doubt it.

A selection of images from the exhibition

A selection of images from the exhibition

Visitors were then invited to view the exhibition. As far as I could see and was told they were all most impressed with the images and the way they were displayed.

When you do visit, please take the ~9.5 minutes needed to watch the engrossing audio-visual tour of the Milky Way at the far end of the gallery – an exhibition highlight.

To put a major exhibition together the dedicated effort of numerous people was needed. Here is a partial list of people that deserve thanks: Ross, Kirstin, Zoltan, Danny , Diana, Brad, Toner, Kathleen, Sotha, Jansen, Judith, Tracy, Anne, Jacob, Iain, Andrew, Owen, Peter, Paul, Owen, Tim, Arthur, Geoff, Steve, Hayley, Dara, Rebecca, Mandy, Tim, Iwona, Paula, Silvy, all the team from the Powerhouse workshop. Plus the exhibition co-curator, the renowned astrophotographer, Dr David Malin.

There is a brief report in the Sydney Morning Herald on Saturday 12 September. Note the object shown is the active radio galaxy Centaurus A, but it is captioned as “Ethereal … Cena parkesatca”. A poor subeditor could not decipher the astronomical jargon for CenA (Centaurus A), Parkes Radio Telescope and ATCA (Australia Telescope Compact Array).

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