Chandra & CfA Shines on National Mall & Across the Smithsonian

On Saturday, June 22, Chandra’s 25th anniversary shone as part of the Smithsonian’s Cosmic Journey initiative, with events across SI's Solstice Saturday. During Solstice Saturday, SI museums on the Mall stay open late and host special programs and performances.

The event drew record-breaking audiences with many tens of thousands of people over the course of the day, braving the DC heat to enjoy a day and evening of astronomy. 
Chandra content was featured at multiple museums including Air & Space, Natural History, Arts & Industries, African American History & Culture, and Hirshhorn, for example. The installations included Chandra sonifications and large scaled image projects, trivia, handouts, 3D prints, and a documentary world premiere of "Listen to the Universe" from Chandra and NASA+.

Listen to the Universe

One standout of the Solstice program was the Astronomy Festival on the National Mall, an event run in association with SI's Solstice Saturday and Hofstra University.  CfA
volunteers ran an immensely popular booth celebrating Chandra's 25th anniversary.

Listen to the Universe
Listen to the Universe

The booth, spanning 4 tables of activities and materials developed by Chandra, NASA's Universe of Learning, and Whipple Observatory had a steady stream of visitors. Kids and adults were entranced by sonifications, held 3D models of supernova remnants, traced footprints on the "Moon", and crafted bookmarks showing the life cycle of stars. Visitors created images of the Cassiopeia A supernova remnant using NASA data – with a special highlight on Chandra data – and enjoyed handouts showcasing Chandra science, women in astronomy, and Whipple Observatory.

The booth engagement was made possible by an incredible team of staff and volunteers: CfA's Rutuparna Das, Rodolfo Montez, Amy Oliver, and Erika Wright; Solar System Ambassadors Karen Horvath and Kristin Jaburek; and Smithsonian Because of Her Story intern Hailee Brandt. And additional Chandra and Smithsonian staff contributed heavily to the SI-wide Cosmic Journey in D.C. for the Summer Solstice.

-Megan Watzke, CXC

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