Science on a Sphere


Science on a Sphere

Imagine gazing upon Earth as you are suspended in orbit 22,000 miles above its surface.

You can watch a hurricane form, as a small storm slowly gathers strength, traveling westward from Africa, across the Atlantic Ocean, toward the Gulf of Mexico. You can see the colorful infrared images of cloud tops meet, join, grow, collapse and disperse. The prevailing westerly winds and the easterly trade winds materialize before your eyes.

You can watch dust blow across the surface of Mars.

You can observe our Sun erupting in violent solar storms sending streams of deadly particles

Science On A Sphere provides a dramatic visualization of complex information in an understandable form for the public; a unique instrument for teaching students science, math, and geography; and a handy scientific tool to translate numerical information into visual images.

Science on a Sphere with Earth

Science On A Sphere is the brainchild of Alexander (Sandy) MacDonald, Director of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s (NOAA) Forecast Systems Laboratory in Boulder, Colorado. Four projectors cast rotating images onto a sphere, approximately six feet in diameter to create the effect of Earth in space.

Because the images originate from data collected by satellites, researchers refer to the projected images as “data sets”. The possible data sets that can be projected using Science On A Sphere seem limited only by imagination.

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