Space Telescope Artwork Heads to Winter Olympics

Space Telescope Artwork Heads to Winter Olympics
This colorful cosmic view is part of a Spitzer Space Telescope art project 2010 Winter Olympics cultural festival in Vancouver. (Image credit: George Legrady)

Artwork inspired by NASA's Spitzer Space Telescope is makingan appearance at this year's Winter Olympics in Vancouver, British Columbia.

The Spitzer art project, called "We are Stardust,"was created by George Legrady, a professor at the University of California,Santa Barbara. The work is? one of more than 40 digital art installations inCODE Live, an 18-day event that features visual art, music, and performancesfueled by digital technology and audience involvement. It began on February 4and continues through February 21.

The project is a two-screen installation that maps thesequence of 36,034 observations made by the space telescope from 2003 to 2008. Spitzersees infrared light from the cosmos, capturing images of everything from cometsin our solar system to galaxies billions of light-years away.

At the same time that it project thetelescope's observations, the installation records the thermal presence andmovements of visitors to the gallery. Those images are superimposed with dataretrieved from the telescope's log that correlates with information such as theobservation number, name of the celestial body target, the vertical andhorizontal angles of the telescope, the observation date, duration, the name ofthe chief researcher, and which of the three onboard instruments were used tomake the observation.

"The intent of the project is to consider ourrelationship to both local and deep space, and how we conceptualize and situateourselves in relation to such spaces," said Legrady, whose work focuses onhow data and various forms of information are represented.

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