Powers of 60 Multimessenger Astronomy Exhibition

Powers of 60 Exhibition

Welcome to the webpages of "Powers of 60: An Astronomical Jubilee"


This exhibition, which marked the Queen's Diamond Jubilee, celebrates sixty years of remarkable advances in our understanding of the Universe. It was initially displayed in June 2012 at various locations throughout the city of Glasgow, as part of Glasgow Science Festival, then subsequently as part of BBC Stargazing Live 2013 in Glasgow.

In the sixty years since 1952 our view of the Universe has been transformed. Astronomers now routinely use the latest technology to probe the cosmos with many different forms of light, or electromagnetic radiation, asking some of the biggest questions in science:

"How did the Universe begin?"

"How did stars and galaxies form?"

"Is there life on other planets?"

In addition to the many types of light which their telescopes and satellites now detect, astronomers have begun to open some completely new windows on the Universe: cosmic rays, neutrinos, gravitational waves. These new "messengers" allow us to study the universe in a completely different way, probing phenomena which are totally invisible to conventional telescopes. Such exciting developments are heralding the dawn of a revolutionary new age in our exploration of the cosmos: multi-messenger astronomy.

The 2004 Transit of Venus

Our exhibition also marked the June 2012 Transit of Venus. This exceedingly rare astronomical event (the next transit is in 2117) has an illustrious history. The 1769 transit, observed by Captain Cook, helped to determine reliably the distance from the Earth to the Sun - thus completing the first step of a key scientific challenge: to measure the scale of the cosmos.

"Powers of 60" take us on a journey from the Solar System to the farthest reaches of the cosmos via six cosmic "milestones", each one sixty times more distant than the last, and each one representing a new window on the Universe.

Follow this link to find out how we celebrated the 2012 Transit of Venus in Glasgow.

"Powers of 60" was conceived and designed by Professor Martin Hendry of the University of Glasgow, with generous funding support from the Science and Technology Facilities Council, the University of Glasgow and Glasgow Science Festival.