Georgetown University’s Newspaper of Record since 1920

The Hoya

Georgetown University’s Newspaper of Record since 1920

The Hoya

Georgetown University’s Newspaper of Record since 1920

The Hoya

SPOTLIGHT: Artechouse Collaboration With NASA Showcases James Webb Telescope Images

“Beyond the Light,” an exhibit at Artechouse, an innovative art museum located close to L’Enfant Plaza, immerses visitors in projections of images from billions of light years away. 

The exhibit features floor-to-ceiling, wall-to-wall imagery of galaxies, nebulae and other distant parts of the universe captured by the James Webb Telescope, the largest telescope ever placed in space. While visiting Artechouse, space enthusiasts can also enjoy interactive experiences throughout the museum that explore the moon, climate science, other NASA technologies and heliophysics, which is the study of the sun and its interaction with the solar system. 

Hector Castillo, visitor experience host at Artechouse, said that the museum’s use of cutting-edge technology for its exhibits is what distinguishes it from traditional art museums. 

“I think that our use of technology really sets this museum apart,” Castillo told The Hoya. “If we didn’t have this collaboration with technology, Artechouse would be like any other museum. Not that that’s a bad thing — just as technology develops, we are trying to develop with it.” 

The exhibit, which was developed in collaboration with NASA’s Goddard Space Center, the James Webb Space Telescope Mission team at the Space Telescope Science Institute (STScI), and Johns Hopkins University’s William H. Miller III Department of Physics & Astronomy, closes March 3. 

The museum’s main room displays a 26-minute long series of images of the cosmos, taken by the James Webb Telescope and enhanced with artificial intelligence technology. Some of the images include galaxy NGC 2525, which is located 70 million light years from Earth, and galaxy NGC 628, which is located 34 million light years away from Earth. 

Eda Toprak (CAS ’26), a recent visitor to Artechouse, said her experience at the exhibit was engaging and impactful, especially her time spent in the main projection room. 

“It was in a way peaceful because it made me feel like I was in space,” Toprak told The Hoya.

Castillo said that the use of immersive projection technology allows visitors to fully grasp the recent advancements in space exploration and maximizes visitor education. 

“The immersive technology allows people to see how far space science has come,” Castillo said. “When people can place themselves within the exhibit, they want to learn more about it.”

@Artechouse/X | Artechouse DC’s “Beyond The Light” exhibit effectively leverages both technological advancements and accessible designs, allowing visitors to view images of the cosmos billions of light years away.

Laura Betz, the communications lead for the James Webb telescope, said in an online NASA article that NASA helped design “Beyond the Light” to display the profound discoveries of the telescope. 

What’s so amazing about the James Webb Space Telescope is that the whole world came together to build it,” Betz said in the article. “The images that this remarkable machine delivers to all of us from space remind us of our connectedness to each other.”

Toprak said the educational elements in the exhibit are geared toward people of all interests, not just science and astronomy lovers. 

“I would definitely recommend the exhibit because if you are a science person, there is a lot of information to take in, in terms of planets and moons of planets,” Toprak said. “And if you are not a science person, you can still enjoy the visuals and auditory effects.”

The exhibit has seen major success since its opening Sept. 15, which has caused Artechouse to repeatedly extend the closing date of the exhibit, according to Castillo. 

Castillo said he believes that a large part of the exhibit’s appeal comes from the collaboration with NASA’s Goddard Space Center, a hub for scientists and engineers who build instruments designed to study the Earth and its celestial neighbors. 

“When people hear NASA, their curiosity spikes, just because of what the company is and has done,” Castillo said.

While past Artechouse exhibits, such as “Life of a Neuron” and “Kingdom of Colors,” have also embodied the intersection of art and technology, Castillo said that “Beyond the Light” offers the most amount of scientific information in any Artechouse exhibit to date.

“With other exhibits, there’s more of a focus on the artistic side of things, but with ‘Beyond the Light,’ there is such a natural beauty in the photographs from the James Webb Telescope that we can focus more on the science,” Castillo said. “A lot of that is due to the collaboration with NASA because there are so many great minds to provide us with all sorts of information.”

Castille said he hopes the exhibit’s success will serve as a catalyst for future exhibits synthesizing technological advancements with accessible designs. 

“I think that this exhibit is setting a really high standard for Artechouse and is hopefully indicative of what’s to come,” Castillo said.

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