Smithsonian Institution Traveling Exhibition Service


Archived exhibitions are no longer available for booking but are maintained as a virtual record of past Smithsonian Institution Traveling Exhibition Service (SITES) programs.


Hubble Space Telescope: New Views of the Universe

How old is the universe? How big is it? How did it begin? For centuries, human beings have pondered these questions as they peered into the skies. But it wasn’t until 1609, when Galileo trained his telescope on the heavens, that our view of the universe expanded beyond what the naked eye could see.

Since then, developments in optics, photography, and spectroscopy have pushed back the boundaries of the known universe. Among the most far-reaching of these tools is the Hubble Space Telescope, named for American astronomer Edwin Hubble (1889–1953). Since its launch in 1990, the Hubble Space Telescope has become a household word. The largest astronomical telescope ever sent into space, Hubble continues to provide astronomers with an unprecedented amount of information about the universe, sending awesome images of distant galaxies and other celestial features that inspire scientists and the general public as well.

Featuring the best of Hubble’s beautiful images, Hubble Space Telescope: New Views of the Universe shows visitors how this suite of scientific instruments is challenging widely held assumptions about the cosmos.

The exhibition explores Hubble, its history and purpose, and its anatomy and operation, immersing visitors in the magnificence and mystery of the Hubble mission.

Visitors enter the exhibition through a tunnel of monitors that projects images taken by Hubble. Four large freestanding structures are devoted to Hubble’s contributions to the exploration of planets, stars, galaxies, and the universe. A scale model of Hubble is complemented by “satellite” units that incorporate hands-on activities about how the telescope works.

Hubble Space Telescope has been organized by SITES and the Space Telescope Science Institute (STScI), operated for the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) by the Association of Universities for Research in Astronomy, Inc. (AURA). The project’s advisory committee includes science educators, former astronauts, planetarium directors, and a Nobel Prize-winning physicist.

The exhibition and its educational programs have been made possible through the generous support of NASA’s Offices of Space Science and Education and Lockheed Martin.

> Check out an itinerary of where this exhibition traveled.



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