Hubba, Hubba, Hubble

This year marked the 20th anniversary of the Hubble Telescope. As one of the celebratory activities, the European Space Agency sponsored a contest for folks to show how thoroughly Hubble images have become embedded in our rich culture.

Hubble Pop Culture Contest:

Cool Toys Pic of the day - Hubble Pop Culture Contest

They created a Flickr group and encouraged people to watch for Hubble images, grab pics, and post them to the Flickr group, tagged with the topic they wanted to have considered for a prize. There were five potential prize areas.

1. Most Artistic,
2. Weirdest,
3. Funniest,
4. Largest,
5. Smallest.

Flickr: Groups: Hubble Pop Culture Contest:

The official announcement of the winners is here.

Discover Hubble on Earth (September 1, 2010):

I am so thrilled to be able to say that I was awarded second place in the WEIRD category! My family will happily tell you this is no surprise to them.

Here is the back story of how I got there.

A couple months ago, Shannon Murphy, one of my friends in SL pinged me, saying, “Have you seen the Hubble Contest? You should submit one of your gowns!” I hadn’t heard about it, but was excited and intrigued and wanted to do this. “Gowns” referred to a line of astronomy-themed garments I’ve made in Second Life that I call my Sky Mother series. As a librarian, I am really rigorous about ensuring that the source images used for my SL gowns are creative commons licensed for adaption or in the public domain. I thought some of the images were probably from Hubble, but the easiest way to make sure was to make a new gown. So I did. 🙂 Then, because I was feeling inspired, I added Hubble-eyes and hair as well.

Shannon had worked with the University of Michigan LS&A Theme Semester on astronomy. [The Universe, yours to discover ] I am the University of Michigan Second Life community manager (Second Life name, Perplexity Peccable). In that role I worked closely with Shannon on Second Life events to support the theme semester. My Second Life partner is also involved with astronomy, working closely with NASA CoLab in Second Life and serving as the chair of the Oklahoma Space Alliance in real life. Actually, Inertial (my partner) and I met at the grand opening of one of the space sims in Second Life.

Here are the original Hubble pics for the gown I designed.

Gown (Starburst Cluster):
Eyes (Cat’s Eye Nebula):
Hair (Star Cluster NGC 265):

There is a very cool section in the Hubblecast where they show the original image for the gown and transition into how it was used in the gown, blurring between the two images.

Hubblecast 38: Hubble in popular culture:

Ah, but what does the gown look like? Here are some pics. These all look best on a black background, so I’ve given a link to that version for each of them.

The version used in the Hubble PR for the contest.
Hubble Gown

A good view of the eyes and hair.
Hubble Gown

A better view of the eyes.
Hubble Gown

My favorite of all the images of the gown.
SL - Hubble Gown FINAL

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s