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.
On March 29, 2006, a total solar eclipse occurred as the moon moved directly between the earth and the sun. The moon's shadow fell on the earth, first darkening the eastern tip of Brazil, and then moved across the Atlantic Ocean to make landfall in Ghana, Africa. It continued moving northeast through Nigeria, Niger, Libya, Egypt, across the Mediterranean and into Turkey, where an Exploratorium team was waiting.
Chichén Itzá: Live from Chichén Itzá: The Descent of the Serpent(Webcast)
Running Time: 02:03:07
Celebrate the spring equinox at the Mayan ruins of Chichén Itzá, in the state of Yucatan, Mexico. The alignment of the sun on this day creates the appearance of a shadow, in the form of a serpent, that descends the main staircase of the great pyramid. The Live@Exploratorium crew is there to capture the snake on film and to speak with local archaeologists, archeoastronomers, and solar scientists about this amazing phenomenon.
Origins: Astrobiology: Looking for Mars on Earth(Webcast)
Running Time: 00:32:24
Chris McKay, Planetary Scientist at the NASA Ames Research Center, has traveled the world seeking Mars-like environments. In the Dry Valleys of Antarctica—his favorite Mars analog on Earth—Dr. McKay discovered a kind of algae living inside rocks porous to light and water. He’ll show us some of these rocks and talk about the physical conditions required for life.
Origins: Astrobiology: Life at High Temperatures(Webcast)
Running Time: 00:37:45
Jonathan Trent, Astrobiologist, NASA Ames Research Center studies "thermophiles," heat-loving microbes inhabiting places once thought too hostile for life, but analogous to environments that might be found on other planets. He discovered that some of these microbes make a protein that appears to stabilize their cell membranes (and may have applications for nanotechnology).
Origins: Astrobiology: Live from Licancabur Volcano in Chile(Webcast)
Running Time: 00:32:56
Nathalie Cabrol, Planetary Scientist, Principal Investigator at NASA Ames Research Center and the SETI Institute, looks for Mars analogs in extreme environments on Earth. She found one at the world’s highest lake at Chile’s Licancabur volcano, site of a unique analog to ancient Martian lakes. We chat with Dr. Cabrol as she investigates the life forms at Licancabur.
Light and Landscape: Charles Ross and Star Axis(Webcast)
Running Time: 00:10:19
Join the Exploratorium's Dr. Paul Doherty as he visits a "sculpture to observe the stars" in northern New Mexico, where the Sangre de Cristo Mountains meet the eastern plains. There artist Charles Ross is creating an art installation that is also a star observatory. This major earthwork has two main elements: the Star Tunnel, which allows you to walk through the entire history of the earth's changing alignment to our North Star, Polaris; and the Solar Pyramid, where one can visually experience an hour of the earth's rotation.
Return to Mars: Red Planet: Up Close and Personal(Webcast)
Running Time: 00:37:05
We stayed up with Exploratorium scientist Ron Hipschman at the Lick Observatory in San Jose, California, for the best view we've had of Mars in a long, long time. At midnight on August 27, Earth and Mars passed closer to one another than they have in 60,000 years. Astronomers were on hand to tell us all about our nearest neighbor—its geography, orbit, and why both NASA and the European Space Agency have chosen this time to launch robotic missions to Mars.
Webcasts made possible through
the generosity of the Gordon and Betty Moore Foundation, The Jim Clark
Endowment for Internet Education, the McBean Family Foundation,.and the Corporation for Educational Networks Initiatives in California (CENIC).