Our frames are in the Smithsonian observatory

The advantage to publishing a blog is that once in a while, one gets to toot their own horn. Well, Toot-Toot! We’ve been doing framing for the Smithsonian’s Astrophysical Observatory for the past 6 years. The observatory is located right here in MA, down the street from Harvard University in Cambridge. It’s most notable for hosting the X-ray center which operates the Chandra satellite. The observatory’s scientists process the data and distribute it to others around the world for analysis. Many of the items that we’ve framed for them are photos taken by Chandra. Last week, we paid a visit to see the results in their native environment – a double-whammy if you’re a framer and a science nerd!Chandra is a telescope specially designed to detect X-ray emissions from very hot regions of the Universe such as exploded stars, clusters of galaxies, and matter around black holes. Because X-rays are absorbed by Earth’s atmosphere, Chandra must orbit above it, up to an altitude of 86,500 miles in space.
The wall pictured below is dedicated to X-ray astronomy pioneer Leon van Speybroeck. It includes his favorite images that resulted from the Chandra project.

Some of our favorite pieces were these old-timey illustrations of some Chandra precursors. They weren’t in the best looking shape when the posters were first brought to us, but now they fit right in. Our liaison at the observatory makes sure that everything they bring us gets museum glass. That’s a big part of why these snapshots we took show little-to-no glare on the framed items. Thanks to the staff for taking the time to show us around and give us the inside scoop on the before & after of the work we’ve done for them.
If you’re a science nerd like some of us, you should know that on the third Thursday of every month they host “Observatory Nights.” The free event includes a nontechnical lecture and telescopic observing from the observatory roof if weather permits. The lectures are intended for high-school age and older audiences but children are also welcome. This Thursday the 16th focuses on “The Life of Super-Earths.” Check it out and let us know what you thought.

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