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Cities are known to produce a lot of light pollution, making it a challenge for astronomy enthusiasts to view the heavens within city limits. For us in the SF Bay Area, these issues apply, however, exciting results can still be attained between sky gazing and learning about how we all fit into this big thing we call "space".
Urban Astronomer Paul Salazar, The Exploratorium's very own Adam Esposito and more demonstrate how to deal with the parameters and the unforgettable experiences that await with simple to no equipment, the right conditions, and some decent timing. 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. 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.
As a special event in conjunction with the 2009 American Geophysical Union Fall Meeting, we connected a live audience at the Exploratorium with scientists at the South Pole. Learn about atmospheric research at the South Pole from NOAA's Nick Morgan, the IceCube neutrino detector from Mark Krasberg and Laura Gladstone, and the South Pole Telescope from Bill Holzapfel. Is water ice present or absent in a crater near the moon's south pole? NASA’s Lunar CRater Observing and Sensing Satellite (LCROSS) mission is seeking a definitive answer. Join Exploratorium staff for a special Webcast featuring live coverage of LCROSS crashing into the moon! Our team will be broadcasting live from the 36" Refractor Telescope at Lick Observatory on Mt. Hamilton, where we’ll watch the impact and investigate how this intentional crash could reveal the existence of water ice. On May 11, 2009, the space shuttle Atlantis was launched from the Kennedy Space Center and docked with the Hubble Space Telescope 360 miles above the earth. During Servicing Mission 4 (SM4), astronauts installed new, cutting-edge scientific instruments and replaced gyroscopes, batteries, and other equipment. After a difficult but very successful upgrade of the telescope, the astronauts released Hubble on May 19. The Exploratorium Webcast team will bring you two live Webcasts (May 20 & May 23) about this arduous mission and the future of the telescope.