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With a roll of thin plastic diffraction grating and some "stolen" sunlight, artist and exhibit developer Pete Stephens transformed the interior of the Palace of Fine Arts into a dazzling riot of spectral color. As he works to recreate the effect at the new Exploratorium at Pier 15, Stephens recounts the challenges—and the inspiration—of this expansive experiment in light. Exploratorium composer Wayne Grim used the video of the transit to create a sound composition in real time. As the video signal was received by Wayne's computer, a program he wrote converted the signal into a unique aural experience. http://www.waynegrim.com Watch the beginning of Venus’s transit across the disk of the sun, one of the rarest astronomical events. Watch the conclusion of Venus’s 6.5-hour journey across the disk of the sun, one of the rarest astronomical events. Senior Exploratorium Scientist, Paul Doherty demonstrates how you can make your own sun viewer. You can safely view sunspots, eclipses and transits with this equipment that you may have laying around the house!
To learn more about the upcoming Transit of Venus visit: http://www.exploratorium.edu/venus/question3.html See how patterns of light change throughout the day at Chaco, and hear G.B. Cornucopia and Shelly Valdez share their impressions of the phenomena of light cycles in Chaco Canyon. Astronomer Dr. Isabel Hawkins's journey to the stars began with two chance moments of enchantment with celestial bodies in her native Argentina. Inspired by the mystery of the sky, she went on to study physics and astronomy in California and then to work for 20 years as a research astronomer at UC Berkeley. Now retired from research and devoted to inciting a love of the stars and sky in young people, Dr. Hawkins reflects on her own initial moments of inspiration, on sharing her love of stars with others, and on how astronomy can, and should, remind us of our connection to one another, under a canopy of mystery.
While in the field, the Exploratorium Eclipse remote team had a love/hate relationship with the clouds. The cloudscape of the Weizi Gorge was so spectacular it was easy to overlook that our fluffy friends could have potentially blocked our main reason for lugging 1700 lbs. of gear out to the edge of the Gobi Desert-the total solar eclipse! This is a short time-lapse video of the sky at our camp one day before the eclipse. Why do the hands on clocks go "clockwise?" Seems like a circular definition, but if you looked closely at sundials in the northern hemisphere, you'd notice that the shadow of the sun moves around the sundial in a "clockwise" direction. This was adopted by clock-makers and became the standard we know today.
In the southern hemisphere, the sun's shadow moves around the dial in the opposite direction, so if clocks had been invented there, our watches would move the other way. On August 1, 2008, a total solar eclipse occurred as the new moon moved directly between the sun and the earth. The moon's umbral shadow fell on parts of Canada, Greenland, the Arctic Ocean, Russia, Mongolia, and China. The Exploratorium's eclipse expedition team (our fifth!) Webcast the eclipse live from the remote Xinjiang Uygur Autonomous Region in northwestern China near the Mongolian border.