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Zolt Levay

Zolt Levay

Zolt Levay

I was born in Rawalpindi, Pakistan, of Hungarian parents, came to the U.S. at the age of four, and grew up near Baltimore, Maryland. I became interested in astronomy in high school, being particularly fascinated by the magnificent photographs made with the world's great telescopes. Trying to make photos with my own home-built telescope helped fuel an interest in all things technical and a growing passion for photography.

I pursued astronomical studies at Indiana University that also included heavy doses of math, physics, and computer science. I left Bloomington with a degree in Astrophysics in 1975 for graduate studies at Case Western Reserve University (Warner and Swasey Observatory) in Cleveland, Ohio. In 1978 I joined Computer Sciences Corporation at NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center in Greenbelt, Maryland, where I helped support a variety of space science missions, culminating with the International Ultraviolet Explorer (IUE) satellite.

Zolt Levay

Levay at Work

I arrived at the newly-established Space Telescope Science Institute in 1983, still employed by CSC, to help design and write software for astronomers to view and analyze data obtained by the Hubble Space Telescope. The next several years were a roller-coaster ride of anticipation, dissappointment, and triumph, watching launch delays, the Challenger accident, deployment of the telescope, realization of serious problems, and finally the successful servicing of HST in 1993. Each subsequent servicing mission has greatly improved the

In 1993 I began to work in the Office of Public Outreach at STScI, now employed by the Association of Universities for Research in Astronomy (AURA). I started this phase of my career just when the first remarkable data emerged from the repaired telescope, and found myself helping to produce and distribute the first successful images. Ever since, I have been privileged to work with scientists and technical professionals here at STScI and throughout the world to assemble the observations into photos, illustrations, video and other products that we distribute to the public via the web, media, and educators.

I am a member of the Hubble Heritage Team, which strives to showcase the finest images made by the Hubble Space Telescope. I have been fortunate to assemble and help publicize some of the most remarkable HST images, including the Helix Nebula, Hubble Deep Fields, Orion Nebula, Whirlpool Galaxy, Andromeda Galaxy Halo, and many others.

When I'm not busy with HST photos, I enjoy my family and trying to make photographs with my own equipment while traveling, hiking, camping, and canoeing, as well as occasionally getting my hands dirty gardening, woodworking and keeping the house from falling apart.

 

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