"Touch the Sun," a new interactive exhibition utilizing stunning near-real-time images from NASA's Solar Dynamics Observatory (SDO), will open at the Chabot Space & Science Center in Oakland, Calif. next week, launching a four-day weekend full of solar astronomy related activities.
The central feature of the exhibition is a 90-inch LCD screen that displays near-real-time solar animation captured by SDO, a mission launched in 2010, and provided to Chabot by Lockheed Martin Solar & Astrophysics Lab and the Stanford Solar Center.
"Touch the Sun," launching Jan. 18, is designed to help visitors understand the dynamic nature of the Sun, its connection to the Earth and the nature of its effects on human concerns. The interactive display allows visitors to manipulate the views on screen by zooming in and out to focus on areas of the Sun in partial or totality. Visitors can blend and change layers on screen to show different wavelengths of light highlighting features of the Sun's activity. Examples of solar phenomena such as solar flares, prominences, active regions, and others are visible creating artistic-like images.
The opening weekends features opportunities for families and kids to build and race Lego solar cars and make stained glass art, in addition to other crafts related to the Sun. The exhibition's Ferrofluid Window allows visitors to use magnets to control ferrofluid, mimicking sunspots and magnetic arcs. At the Galileo Drawing station visitors can explore specific features of the Sun and produce their own digital drawings of those features. The Plasma Globe Interactive station lures visitors to touch and manipulate flickering arcs of luminous colorful gas and energy. The Cultural Art displays invite visitors to explore the mythologies that have shaped perceptions and representations of the Sun in ancient cultures throughout human history.
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