• Seeing the Invisible Universe

    The Andromeda Galaxy, as viewed from different forms of light. We typically see the galaxy through visible light (center image), but invisible forms of low show different pictures. Radio waves show the coldest areas, where new starts are forming, while X-ray emissions show the location of a giant black hole and other exotic sources. Photo by NASA.

    In recent years, we’ve made incredible discoveries in astronomy by viewing the sky outside the range of visible light. On the ground, we’ve built an array of radio telescopes designed to show us exactly how the universe’s new stars form and grow. We’ve launched telescopes into orbit around Earth that allow us to view space using other forms of light, forms typically absorbed by our atmosphere. The images that we’ve taken with these new telescopes – both on Earth and from space – have provided never-before-seen glimpses into our universe and led to important advancements in science.

    Join MHCC Planetarium Sky Theater Director Pat Hanrahan on Tuesday, May 7, and Friday, May 10, for an immersive presentation on “Seeing the Invisible Universe.” Showtimes at 6 and 7:15 p.m. on both dates. During the presentation, you’ll have the opportunity to view the entire night sky, as seen from different wavelengths (most of which are invisible to the human eye). Many of the images that you’ll see were taken by the Hubble Space Telescope, as well as other space telescopes around the world.

    If we all had gamma ray vision, none of the stars that we normally see in the night sky would be visible. Instead, we would see a whole new sky of star-like points representing very energetic objects (such as distant quasars). NASA connected these gamma ray dots to come up with some very imaginative constellations shown here. Photo by NASA.