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Pieces of Eight


Mural Unveiled

Shawn Laatsch, visiting instructor in the Department of Mathematics and Science Education, unveiled a mural-sized image from NASA’s Hubble Space Telescope on campus Jan. 11.

The 4-foot by 4-foot image of the Orion nebula is on display in Flanagan Hall, Room 316, and will accompany Laatsch when he visits local schools for astronomy outreach programs. It is one of the largest images ever taken by the telescope, containing over a billion pixels.

This Orion mural is on display at ECU. (Contributed photo)

ECU was one of only two locations statewide selected to participate in the national unveiling of the murals. The N.C. Museum of Natural Sciences in Raleigh also was selected. Participants represented 70 locations in the United States and three international locations.

Deployed from the space shuttle Discovery in 1990, the Hubble telescope travels at 17,500 mph, completing an orbit above Earth’s atmosphere every 97 minutes. Each day the telescope generates approximately 4 gigabytes of data, enough to fill six cd-roms. The telescope provides snapshots and data on such celestial objects as galaxies, comets, black holes, dying stars and giant gas clouds, the birthplace of stars.

For additional information about the telescope, visit For more about the Orion image at ECU, or to arrange a presentation regarding the image, contact Laatsch at 328-9365.

This page originally appeared in the Feb. 3, 2006 issue of Pieces of Eight. Complete issue is archived at