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Southeast of San Francisco, on the way out to California's Central Valley, thousands of wind turbines dot the landscape of Altamont Pass. Mounted both in rows and individually, machines with large propellers catch the wind, turning round and round at different speeds. Learn how wind energy is generated and stored for use in this most peculiar area, and its impact on living things both near and far. 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. Admit it: Hasn't the Godzilla inside you always wanted to grab the Golden Gate Bridge and shake it silly? Finally, you can. In honor of the iconic span's 75th birthday, Exploratorium exhibit developer Dave Fleming presents a dynamic model of the Golden Gate Bridge. What happens to the bridge during an earthquake? How about strong winds and heavy traffic? The model dances and wiggles realistically, displaying the same vibrational modes and motions that occur in the actual bridge. 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 The Southern California Coastal Ocean Observing System (http://sccoos.org/) gathers live data about winds, waves, surface currents, temperature, and water quality, and makes it available to everyone. In this piece, Oceanographer Art Miller tells us about this system, and about how America's Cup sailors can use this kind of data and modeling to improve their race performances.
To access wind modeling data, visit:
How can a wind-powered sailboat move faster than the wind? Why do the America's Cup sails look like airplane wings? With the beginner in mind, Exploratorium senior scientist Paul Doherty introduces the basic physics of sailing and sail design. This After Dark event presented a collection of objects, organizations, and activities use various alternative energy sources, and also looked at sustainably raised food. 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.
Have you ever wondered exactly what clouds are made of, or what the difference is between a cumulus and lenticular cloud? Clouds are an ever-present, ever-changing part of our natural landscape. They come in a huge variety of shapes and sizes, and capture our imagination with their endless permutations. Join Exploratorium Senior Scientist Paul Doherty for a live Webcast about cloud physics. Paul will discuss the basic makeup of clouds, and explore some of the aspects that make them such a rich part of our daily lives.