whirlpool galaxy 311.
(photo credit: Bareket Observatory)
On Sunday and Monday evenings, galaxies located millions of light years away
from Earth will seem a whole lot closer to the human eye.
In honor of
Global Astronomy Month, the Bareket Observatory, located east of Maccabim, near
Modi’in, will team up with NASA and American experts to lead a live “virtual
space journey through a telescope,” available to audiences through an
international webcast, and will incorporate “sonification” – musical
representation that turns light photons into sound – for blind listeners as
“The public will be able to reach this content that, most of the
time, is only available to a very specific region of the population,” said Ido
Bareket, a physicist and team member at the observatory, whose parents opened
the observatory 25 years ago.
The telescope will hone in on images of
nebulae, galaxies, asteroids, minor planets, distant quasars (quasi-stellar
radio sources) and extra-solar planet systems, the observatory reported. These
images will be captured through the Bareket remote robotic Internet telescope,
with accompanying musical representation by Marty Quinn of Design Rhythmics
Sonification Research Lab in New Hampshire and expert commentary by Dr. Mark
Hammergren of the Adler Planetarium in Chicago.
The hope is that
individuals, museums and schools will tune in all over the globe. The two
webcasts will occur on Sunday and Monday at 9-11 p.m. Israel local time, 6-8
p.m. Greenwich Mean Time, 2-4 p.m. in New York, and so on.
This is the
observatory’s second international webcast, the first having occurred in 2009 to
commemorate the International Year of Astronomy, as told in the still-available
video from two years ago. During that presentation, viewers were able to see and
learn about “birth, life and death of stars,” which are “just like people; stars
have unique stories to tell,” as narrated by Hammergren.
Unlike the 2009
webcast, which was shown on the Bareket Observatory website alone, this year’s
content will be hosted on NASA’s website –“so you can think of NASA as a platform that will enable as many people as
possible to reach the content,” Bareket said, hoping that this will become an
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This year’s program cannot specifically focus on stars
because they are most visible during the summer – when the 2009 webcast occurred
– and the types of images captured must simply be “based on the sky,” Bareket
explained. But some specific images he expects the public to get to see include
galaxies such as the faraway M87 (Messier 87) giant elliptical galaxy, the
planet Saturn, several asteroids and one of the brightest nebulae, the M42
(Messier 42) Orion Nebula. These views will be available for observation through
different types of visible light, such as infrared and hydrogen-alpha
Interviews will occur during both webcasts with
“astronomical celebrities” such as John Dobson, creator of the Dobsonian
telescope; possibly David Levy, a famous “asteroid hunter”; a representative
from the Search for Extraterrestrial Intelligence Institute; and the CEO of
Global Astronomy Month. Viewers and listeners will have the opportunity to type
questions during the cast.
With the accompanying sonification, Bareket
stressed that the webcast will be just as much for blind participants as for
those who can see the images projected on the screen.
“It should be much
more than only a visual experience,” he said.Viewers can join the
“Voyage into Deep Space” webcast live at www.nasa.gov/offices/education/pr
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