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JWST is coming to South by Southwest!

That’s right! During the South by Southwest Gaming Expo from March 8 to 10, 2013, Austin will be home to the full-scale model of the James Webb Space Telescope. The model does not often make appearances, and as it is the length of a tennis court and four stories tall, it’s not something you want to miss if you can help it!

JWST Full-scale model
Full-scale model in Munich, Credit: EADS Astrium

Full-scale Model in Baltimore
Full-scale model in Baltimore, Credit: Mark Clampin

Along with the model, NASA and partner organizations will have variety of other displays and activities available from noon to midnight each day.

Inside the NASA Experience Tent located near the model, you can take a guided tour of the universe on a 20-foot-wide, 10-foot-tall “visualization wall” powered by Microsoft’s World Wide Telescope.

An astronaut, a Nobel Laureate (our own Dr. John Mather), and other experts involved with JWST will be giving presentations throughout the day and night, and then hanging around to chat with visitors and answer questions.

We are going to have several video chats with engineers in NASA Goddard’s enormous clean-room, as well as in Houston, where a giant thermal vacuum chamber will test components of JWST.

After dark, we’ll be looking at the stars over Austin. Local amateur astronomers will be setting up their telescopes each evening to give a closer view of the night skies, including a comet, Jupiter and its moons, the rings of Saturn, and the star-forming clouds of the Orion Nebula.

Also, in keeping with the “everything is bigger in Texas” theme, we’ll be attempting to break the Guinness World Record for the largest astronomy lesson ever taught. If you’re in the Austin area, please come be a part of it!

It’s all free and open to the public.

Here’s some schedule information for NASA @ SXSW.

If you can’t make it to Austin, you can still follow along with the activities by participating in live Google Hangouts, watching video updates recorded on location, browsing photos, seeing who has checked in at the model on 4 Square, or keeping track of what people are tweeting about the event — all at Check for the latest, starting next week as we build up to the big weekend – one thing that we’ll have by the end of next week will be a time-lapse of the full-scale model being constructed over three days!

Our plan is to do some special SXSW coverage for our Blueshift followers, so expect some image and video posts during the event here as well!

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