They say that everything is bigger in Texas. So it seems only fitting that NASA would visit Texas to show off its largest space telescope yet.
From March 8 to 10, 2013, the full-scale model of NASA’s James Webb Space Telescope will be on display at the South by Southwest (SXSW) Interactive Festival in Austin — and we want you to see it for yourself!
The length of a tennis court and four stories tall, the life-size telescope model will be set up on the lawn outside Austin’s Long Center for the Performing Arts and will be free for everyone to see. No SXSW badge is required. Just come on down!
The Webb telescope model outside the Long Center in Austin (artistic concept)
The real Webb telescope is currently under construction. After its launch — scheduled for 2018 — Webb will look more than 13 billion years back in time to help unveil the mysteries of how the universe’s first stars, planets, and galaxies formed.
Along with the telescope model, NASA and partner organizations will offer a variety of other displays and activities to inform, engage, and entertain you from noon to midnight each day.
Inside the NASA Experience Tent located near the model, you’ll be able to take a guided tour of the universe on a 20-foot-wide, 10-foot-tall “visualization wall” powered by Microsoft’s World Wide Telescope.
A Nobel prize winner and other experts involved with the Webb telescope will be giving presentations throughout the day and night, and then hanging around to speak to guests like you about Webb and the astronomical secrets it’ll help unveil.
You can also video chat with engineers in a giant NASA clean room in Maryland, where parts of the Webb telescope are being assembled and tested.
Join us after dark, too, to look at the stars over Austin. Local amateur astronomers will set up their telescopes each evening to give you a closer view of the night skies and some of its treasures, including a comet, Jupiter and its moons, the rings of Saturn, and the star-forming clouds of the Orion Nebula.
Also, in keeping with the “everything is bigger in Texas” theme, we’ll be attempting to break the Guinness World Record for the largest astronomy lesson ever taught. And we want you to be a part of it!
However, if you can’t make it to Austin, you can still follow along with the activities by participating in live Google Hangouts from the site, watching video updates recorded on location, browsing photos taken by visitors, seeing who has checked in at the model, or keeping track of what people are tweeting about the event — all at go.nasa.gov/JWSTsxsw.