Exhibits to Explore at After Dark: RGB
by Shannon Eliot • July 2, 2015
Did you know that most of the electric and magnetic waves in the universe are invisible to us? When it comes to the electromagnetic spectrum, humans can only see a mere fraction, specifically a range of wavelengths from 390nm to 700nm known as the visible spectrum.
So what about the longer and shorter wavelengths? If we can’t see them, how do we know they exist?
At After Dark: RGB, we tackle these questions and more. With more than a dozen pieces of programming from which to choose, one of the highlights of the evening is undoubtedly the Electromagnetic Spectrum (EMS) Walk, a self-guided tour of exhibits that allows visitors to experience both visible and invisible electromagnetic phenomena. The following are just a handful of can’t-miss exhibits that highlight the diversity and functionality of EMS waves:
The heat camera is sensitive to infrared light and picks up the heat emitted by visitors and displays it as a color image on a large screen. Warmer objects emit more infrared light than cooler ones, and different parts of the body are often different temperatures. These are manifested by color differences as revealed by the camera.
One of the Exploratorium’s most well-known and iconic exhibits, Colored Shadows demonstrates the concept of additive light and is a perfect example of the visible spectrum. Did you know that there are actually hidden colors in white light? They happen to be red, green, and blue, or RGB, which make up all the colors you see on your screens and electronic devices!
Worms don't usually glow, but those found in the Living Systems gallery do. These worms have been genetically modified so they glow when exposed to ultraviolet, or UV, light. Scientists have taken the gene that make jellyfish glow and placed that same gene into worms. By doing so, scientists can see how nerve cells in the worm communicate with one another, leading to greater understanding of biological processes in a wide array of organisms.
Located in the West Gallery dedicated to human phenomena, the red phone is a lesser known but fun and mysetrious exhibit that utilizes telephone and electricity waves. Landline telephones are carried by electric currents that radiate audio frequency electromagnetic waves. But cell phones and wifi are carried by radio frequency electromagnetic waves.
Curious about the other electromagnetic waves? Want to understand the difference between additive and subtractive colors, or perhapse see brightly colored critters like red snakes, green insects, and blue frogs? Snag an After Dark: RGB ticket and join the multicolored fun.