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Paper: Aesthetics & Astronomy
Volume: 431, Science Education and Outreach: Forging a Path to the Future
Page: 139
Authors: Arcand, K. K.; Smith, L. F.; Smith, J.; Watzke, M.; Hove, K. H. t.; Smith, R.
Abstract: Astronomy is considered by many to be one of the most visual of the sciences. Most people have some experience with visually processing and reacting to astronomical information, beginning with gazing at the night sky. Today, modern astronomy and astrophysics extend far beyond what is detectable with the human eye. Researchers explore the Universe through a fleet of space-based telescopes, as well as major facilities on the ground, which cover the entire electromagnetic spectrum. The release of science results from these different types of light poses major questions about the dissemination and communication of that knowledge including: how do non-experts (i.e., the public) perceive these images? Recently the Smithsonian Astrophysical Observatory hosted a survey and focus group meetings to study the perception of multi-wavelength astronomical imagery and the effects of the scientific and artistic choices in processing astronomical data. The images in the study came from a variety of space and ground-based observatories, including the Chandra X-ray Observatory, Hubble Space Telescope, Spitzer Space Telescope, the Very Large Array, the Hinode satellite, and many others. This talk will provide an overview of the results of the preliminary Aesthetics and Astronomy study.
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