Depths of space reach into Milne with Hubble display

For anyone passing through Milne Library, it's worth the time to notice the large photo exhibit that is spread throughout the first floor. The exhibit, titled "Heavens Above," features 29 images of space taken by the Hubble Telescope, several astronomical displays and a large scale model of the solar system.

The traveling exhibit, organized by the Space Telescope Science Institute and the Alden B. Dow Museum of Science and sponsored by Geneseo's Corporate and Business Partners, opened Aug. 27 and will remain open until the end of the semester.

According to Tracy Paradis, a Milne reference librarian who oversees the exhibit, "This is the only place in New York State where this exhibit will stop and it is the biggest display Milne Library has ever had."

Paradis said that the idea for bringing "Heavens Above" to the college began when Ed Rivenburgh, director of the library, saw the exhibit at a conference.

The grand opening, on Sept. 7, featured a presentation entitled "An Evening with the Stars," presented by Dr. Matthew Bobrowsky, an astronomer at the STSI. The lecture focused on the Hubble Space Telescope.

"Over 150 people were at the first lecture, which was followed by the opportunity to see the new telescope on the roof in the Integrated Science Building," said Paradis.

Student response to the exhibit has been very positive. Some believe that the display is a great idea but haven't had the time to stop and take a look. Those who have taken the time to look at the colorful images have said they appreciate them. Sophomore Jerome Han found that the arrangement "gets you out of the atmosphere of school for a while."

Paradis said she's seen a great deal of student interest. "There is always someone in the hall looking at the pictures," she said.

The library has planned several events surrounding the exhibit. On Sept. 21, Mike Tarbell gave a presentation titled "Native American Star Knowledge." Tarbell is a native educator at the Iroquois Indian Museum and professor of history at SUNY Cobleskill.

"Overall, it was interesting," said junior Samantha Goodwin. "He had nice pictures on a slideshow and he was a very interesting speaker. He spoke about how different star patterns represent the harvest seasons."

Upcoming events include a presentation titled "Astronomical History of the Mayan Indians of Ancient Mexico," which will be given by Dr. Anthony F. Aveni, professor of astronomy and anthropology, on Sept. 27 at 4 p.m. in Milne 104.

On Oct. 20, Family Day, a discussion will be held at 1 p.m. by Joel Primack and Nancy Ellen Abrams about their book, The View from the Center of the Universe. Students and their families will also then be given the opportunity to star gaze using the ISC telescope.

There are many ways students can actively involve themselves with "Heavens Above." There is an online registration form to participate in a series of presentations of student ideas about what the universe means to them.

"We want students to do something creative with what they see with the images - to react to it and think about what it means to them," explained Paradis. The presentations will be on Nov. 28 from 6-8 p.m.

"Our objective is to get the physics department talking to the philosophy department and so on," said Paradis. "Space exploration touches everyone and we want people to get involved and talk with each other. It's an opportunity to think about the world beyond and think about the universe."