Starscape was contacted by artist Irene Rogan for advice and components for an artistic commission that she was working on.
It is an interactive “light sculpture” inspired by photos of the ‘Veil Nebula’ – a large, relatively faint supernova remnant in the constellation Cygnus.
The source supernova exploded some 5,000 to 8,000 years ago. This faint telescopic object was first recorded by the celebrated astronomer Sir William Herschel.
Irene has created a work designed to connect the viewer with an image of the real universe.
The stars evoke a sense of awe ,and the work references the inspirational importance of the stars in the history of human development, mythology and scientific exploration.
The work connects environment and science. It also celebrates International Year of Astronomy 2009. Working with CHFT Hawaii (Canada France Hawaii Telescope) personnel and e2v Chelmsford (a space imaging company which is a supplier of sensors to Hubble and terrestrial telescopes), the artist created ‘Celestial Fix’.
The ceiling sculpture is embedded into Chelmsford’s new Army and Navy centre – a mixed development of shops, flats and a Travelodge Hotel.
There are two new constellations invented within the work. One is ‘Shelter’ and the other is ‘Hand’, both of which were developed with Sixth Form pupils from Moulsham High School and with the artist and a scientist from e2v.
The constellations are made of optical fibres programmed to alternate in relation to real celestial events occurring throughout the year, using an astronomical calendar.
Fabrication of the 400cm x 150cm glass, aluminium and laminate ellipse was by Smith of Derby.
Photo credit: Mark Baigent