Avatars Gather to Watch Total Solar Eclipse Webcast
by Rob Rothfarb • March 18, 2016
On March 8, 2016, we a created a mixed-reality event in Second Life which featured live streaming of the Total Solar Eclipse: Live from Micronesia webcast and telescope video into two different locations in that virtual world (Exploratorium Island and Science Circle sims). Avatars from around the world gathered in these two locations to watch the eclipse together. A set of companion interactive exhibits about eclipses and about the expedition to Micronesia was available on Exploratorium Island.
The video images shared by the Exploratorium were the highest dynamic range, hi-def videos of an eclipse ever shared live with the world. They were the closest to what I saw with my own eyes that I have ever seen on a video screen. It was great to see high resolution images of a large prominence stretching out into the solar corona, and also to watch the edge of the moon occult a sunspot. In addition, we captured live images of the photosphere of the sun using hydrogen-alpha filters on two telescopes. These showed an active surface of the sun with prominences sprouting from the rim and filaments stretched across the surface. For the 2017 eclipse on August 21, we hope to use even higher dynamic range video cameras. Join us again next year for the best eclipse videos!
Exploratorium Avatar Scientist
We began streaming our live total solar eclipse expedition video into Second Life in 2006 (from Turkey) and did it again in 2008 (from China). Bringing together SL community members from across the world to watch a live stream of the sun during a total eclipse offers a unique way to share the phenomena in a social context. Watching the stream together, even amongst strangers, gives people the opportunity to enjoy the shared excitement, ask questions, and share their observations.
There's a unique camaraderie in being in a shared virtual space that can transcend geographic and cultural barriers, allowing people to be themselves-even as a komodo dragon avatar, while taking part in an awe-inspiring experience.
Exploratorium Avatar Virtual World Builder
The complete solar eclipse in combination with the impressed and bewildered audience RL & SL simultaneously … ultimate “World Citizen”-experience!