Introduction Panel Text

Download the Adobe InDesign CS3.0 files for sample 4'x3' layout of the Introduction Panel (and others) in English and Spanish. The panels may be edited to replace the language or resize the images.

Below are links to language translations of the Introduction Panel text.

Spanish Translation
French Translation
German Translation
Italian Translation

Note: There are slight modifications to the text translations.

In 1609, Galileo Galilei first turned his telescope to the sky. The observations he made of the Moon, Sun, and Jupiter revolutionized astronomy. They also had a lasting impression on society and changed our view of the Universe forever.

Today, 400 year later, the United Nations and organizations around the world have united to celebrate the International Year of Astronomy (IYA2009) under the one central theme: "The Universe, Yours to Discover." The concept is for people across the globe to join together in an understanding that the marvels of the Universe are part of our common heritage. One Earth. One sky.

From Earth to the Universe is one of the major undertakings of IYA2009. Astronomy's magical appeal has a lot to do with the fantastic images of the cosmos captured by humanity's fleet of space- and ground-based telescopes. These, together with images made by the world's best astrophotographers and amateur observers, form the body of the project. The aim is to bring these images to as many people as possible by mounting exhibitions in public venues such as shopping malls, metro stations, parks, airports and others.

The images in From Earth to the Universe are, indeed, yours to discover. Perhaps you will find them inspirational, astonishing, or beautiful. Or perhaps your reaction will be different. Whatever you take away from this project, we hope that you realize that the Universe -- and the mysterious wonders it contains -- belongs to us all.


The Universe is unimaginably big. The planets of our Solar System orbit the Sun in a space about 7.5 billion miles (12 billion kilometers) across. While that is in itself an enormous number, it is dwarfed when it’s compared to the distance to the nearest star to our Sun, Proxima Centuari. That star is 24,000,000,000,000 miles (38,000,000,000,000 kilometers) away from us.

Since Proxima Centauri is one of the closest objects to us, it's clear the numbers get gigantic if we are talking about things across our Galaxy or beyond. To describe these vast distances, astronomers use a unit called a light year. While it sounds like it is a unit of time, a light year is, in fact, a measure of distance. Light travels at 186,000 miles per second, and a light year refers to the distance that light travels over one year, which translates into 5,865,696,000,000 miles (9,460,800,000,000 kilometers). Throughout this exhibition, we use "light time" – light seconds, light minutes, and light years – to try to help with a sense of scale and give some perspective at where these objects lie across the Universe.


All the images you see here are in color. In many images, the colors are approximately how you would see them if you were close enough and your eyes sensitive enough. However, telescopes can see much more than we can with our eyes. They are more sensitive and can see fainter light and colors, and are also receptive to other kinds of light (electromagnetic waves) outside of the visible spectrum β€” ultraviolet, infrared, X-rays, radio waves and so on. For images made from these invisible parts of the spectrum the familiar colors are often assigned so that the 'reddest' light is red and the 'bluest' light is blue. In this way it is possible to map the invisible light, such as X-rays or infrared light, to make images that we can see.

Some images are taken through special filters that target individual physical processes, such as certain compositions or temperatures, and these are often color-coded in a way that shows the most information. They are beautiful demonstrations of how modern astronomy can resemble art.