Snapshots of faraway planets and their moons, and images of meteors’ ongoing impact on Earth are now on display at the John C. Hitt Library at UCF.
The exhibit, which opened Friday, is called From Earth to the Solar System (FETTSS). FETTSS is a collection of images intended to illuminate the exhilaration of planetary exploration and the understanding of the solar system’s origin and evolution over time. The traveling exhibit commemorates NASA’s Year of the Solar System, an education and public outreach initiative that runs from October 2010 until August 2012. A total of 30 images are on display at the exhibit.
“We’ve got images from a number of different space missions [of] spacecrafts that have visited Venus, Mars, Jupiter, Saturn, and Uranus,” astronomy professor Dr. Josh Colwell said. “There’s spectacular images of the Earth as well, which kind of puts our planet in the context of the solar system, so that we see our own planet as one of many worlds. All of those worlds have their own fascinating characteristics.”
FETTSS is based on the project, From Earth to the Universe (FETTU). FETTU was awarded the International Year of Astronomy Prize for Excellence in Astronomy Education and Public Outreach in 2009. FETTU has also been featured around the globe in shopping venues, parks, airports, and other unique areas, reaching millions of people in such diverse locations as New York City, Reykjavik, Alexandria, Shanghai, and Lima.
UCF’s Planetary Sciences Group within the College of Sciences arranged to have the FETTSS exhibit make a stop in Orlando, giving the public a chance to see the solar system from a new and unique perspective.
“These pictures show the beauty and variety in the solar system,” astronomy professor Dr. Dan Britt, one of the key members of the Planetary Sciences Group, said. “What strikes me is that all the processes that occur on Earth, such as sand dunes, volcanism, mountains, and ice sheets, also are found under alien conditions on other planets and moons.”
The images unite together themes in astrobiology, planetary science and astronomy. The collection includes contributions credited to a wide variety of sources, from backyard astronomers to enormous telescopes in space. The collection represents the contemporary state of space exploration and discovery as seen through the eyes of the scientific community.
Senior William Lipschutz took astronomy in his freshman year, and since then, he has been reading thoroughly into the subject.
“It's an incredible exhibit,” Lipschutz said. “I’ve been in the library all day, and coming over to the exhibit to look at the incredible photographs was a great break from studying. It makes you feel so much more in tune with the big picture of the universe.”
The free exhibit, displayed on the third floor of the UCF library, is open to the community from 7:30 a.m. to 11 p.m. Mondays through Thursdays and from 7:30 a.m. to 7 p.m. on Fridays. The exhibit is also open from 9 a.m. to 7 p.m. Saturdays and from noon to 11 p.m. Sundays.
The library will be closed Saturday and Sunday, May 12-13, and Memorial Day. The final day to see the exhibit is May 29.