Astronomy and Astrophysics

Russian observatory once closed to public houses art exhibit

A remote Russian observatory housing what was once the world's largest mirrored telescope has become the setting for an art installation that explores the near-infinite reaches of both outer space and the human imagination.

The works on display at the Special Astrophysical Observatory by artists from Russia and Austria reflect their views of life, history and the cosmos. They also bring the observatory, where visitors once were prohibited, into the public eye.

Operational since the 1970s, the observatory and the village that houses its staff offered some of the best conditions in the Soviet Union. In those days, the scientific elite were eager to live here, bringing their...