The views of the solar system that one can see while standing here on Earth are often impressive, if not mind-blowing. But from the inner solar system to its outer reaches, the closer and more detailed views of Venus, Mars, Jupiter, Saturn and the other planets that have been achieved during the Space Age show unparalleled beauty and visions difficult to fathom. This otherworldly view, collected during 40 years of robotic space missions and then processed into breathtaking images, is the subject of the new Smithsonian traveling exhibition Beyond: Visions of Planetary Landscapes. The exhibit paints a rarely seen and mesmerizing portrait of our solar system’s diverse worlds and their moons.
Featuring 35 large-scale (ranging from 3 feet to 5 feet in width) framed prints containing 59 individual photographs, all digitally processed by artist Michael Benson, the exhibition debuts May 7, 2011 at the Petaluma Museum in Petaluma, CA. Beyond will remain on view through July 4, 2011
The exhibit’s astonishing views of the solar system’s planets and their moons come primarily from NASA and European Space Agency missions. Benson mines planetary databases for his source material; then, using various techniques, including a mosaic or collage process, he pulls together the images to create seamless photographs of unprecedented clarity and realism. Throughout the process, Benson strives to stay true to the natural and breathtaking reality of space. “My goal was to locate, digitally process and print some of the most extraordinary sights ever captured,” Benson said. “I view the photographic legacy of these missions as being a chapter in the history of photography.”
In addition to Benson’s photography the exhibition will include a display of rare meteorites on loan from the California Academy of Science, memorabilia and artifacts concerning space exploration, an Astronomy night and speaker series including noted NASA representatives, Scientists and local Astronomers.
The film “The Dream is Alive” focusing on the Space Shuttle missions will be presented every Saturday at 1pm.
Every Saturday at 3:00 there will be a guest speaker, (free w/cost of admission). To see the list of speakers click here.
“We are extremely excited about hosting the Beyond exhibition. It will be a unique opportunity for our visitors to immerse themselves in the amazing complexity and beauty of deep space. “ One of our goals is to get the younger generation interested in space” comments Joe Noriel, Museum President. The Petaluma Museum exhibition is the exclusive California engagement for Beyond.
Thursdays through Saturdays 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.; Sundays 12:00 to 3:00 and by appointment.