Posted by William Nunnelley on 2009-01-14

The National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) selected Samford University's Christenberry Planetarium as one of 100 sites in the United States to display two spectacular images Feb. 17 from its Great Space Observatories: the Hubble Space Telescope, The Spitzer Space Telescope and the Chandra X-ray Observatory.

This selection is in response to the United Nations declaring 2009 as the International Year of Astronomy, and is in celebration of the 400th anniversary of Galileo Galilei's first observance of the solar system through a telescope.

The Birmingham Astronomical Society will host the free event with live presentations and telescopes for people to look through at 7 p.m. that night. Spectacular globular star clusters and star-forming regions called nebulae will be visible, according to George Atchley, Samford planetarium director.

Samford is a leading Christian university offering undergraduate programs grounded in the liberal arts with an array of nationally recognized graduate and professional schools. Founded in 1841, Samford is the 87th-oldest institution of higher learning in the United States. The Wall Street Journal ranks Samford 1st nationally for student engagement and U.S. News & World Report ranks Samford 66th in the nation for best undergraduate teaching and 104th nationally for best value. Samford enrolls 5,683 students from 47 states and 19 countries in its 10 academic schools: arts, arts and sciences, business, divinity, education, health professions, law, nursing, pharmacy and public health. Samford fields 17 athletic teams that compete in the tradition-rich Southern Conference, and ranks 3rd nationally for its Graduation Success Rate among all NCAA Division I schools.