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Space Museum shows Joseph Liu's passion for the universe

"Passion for the Universe – Joseph Liu's Pursuit of Stars", an astrophotographic exhibition to celebrate the 25th anniversary of the Hong Kong Space Museum, will run from today (October 8) until December 28 at the museum.

The founding Chief Curator of the Space Museum, Joseph Liu is a well-known astrophotographer. His passion in astronomy has not only resulted in many world-class astrophotographs, but also led to the construction of the Space Museum.

The exhibition displays Liu's photographic works taken over the past 50 years, including the memorable Arend-Roland comet in 1957, perihelic opposition of Mars in 1971, a lengthy solar eclipse in 1991 and the huge sunspot group in 2000.

Speaking at the opening ceremony of the exhibition today, the Assistant Director (Heritage and Museums) of Leisure and Cultural Services, Mr Gerard Tsang Chu-chiu, said that during the past 25 years, the Space Museum had attracted 24 million visitors with its various education and entertainment programmes. The presence of Mr Liu and other guests made today's event especially meaningful.

"Mr Joseph Liu is the representative person in astronomy in Hong Kong, and also the first Chief Curator of the Space Museum. His photographs have won a lot of international awards which made him and Hong Kong well-known to the world. Asteroid (6743) Liu was named after him to recognise his achievements in astronomy.

"Showcasing Liu's outstanding works taken in different periods, the exhibition provides an opportunity for the public to share his joy in pursuit of the stars," Mr Tsang said.

Born in Hong Kong in 1931, Joseph Liu's curiosity in the stars was inspired by a poem he learnt in kindergarten. Since then, astronomy became his lifelong passion. In 1972, he built a sliding roof observatory which was the first in Hong Kong at the backyard of his ancestral house in Sheung Shui. The observatory housed a 32cm Newtonian Cassegrain reflector he designed himself, riding on a heavy duty cross axis mounting with an oversized gear. Liu and his observatory were featured on the cover of the April, 1974, Issue of "Sky and Telescope". It was the first time a Hong Kong amateur had introduced in the world's most popular astronomy magazine.

Liu's astronomical photographs are recognised worldwide for their superior technique and outstanding aesthetic quality. His photographs have won many prizes in the field, including the first and third prizes in the astrophotographic competition organised by the American Astronomical League in 1977. In 1982, he was given the Chiro astronomical award in Japan and in 1984 he was bestowed with an MBE (Most Excellent Order of the British Empire) honour in recognition of his contribution in the promotion of astronomy in Hong Kong. In April, 1998, the International Astronomical Union approved the naming of the minor planet 6743 as "Liu", as proposed by the discoverers K Endate and K Watanabe.

In 1974, a speech written by Liu entitled "Astronomy and Life" led to the Urban Council in Hong Kong inviting him to discuss the construction of a Space Museum. In the spring of 1976, he was entrusted with the task of planning and building the Museum. With the support of many professionals, the world's most advanced space museum was completed after four years of effort. In the autumn of 1980, the museum was opened to the public and Liu was appointed the Chief Curator. He retired in 1985 and is now living in the US. His passion for the stars remains.

The Space Museum is located at 10 Salisbury Road, Tsim Sha Tsui, Kowloon. It opens from 1pm to 9pm from Monday to Friday, and from 10am to 9pm on Saturdays, Sundays and public holidays. On Christmas Eve, the museum will close at 5pm. It is closed on Tuesdays (except public holidays). Admission to the "Joseph Liu's Pursuit of Stars" exhibition is free while admission to the Exhibition Hall is $10, with a half-price concession for senior citizens, aged 60 or above, people with disabilities and full-time students. Admission is free on Wednesdays.

For enquiries, please call 2721 0226 or visit the Space Museum's website at for further information.

Ends/Saturday, October 8, 2005

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