the Universe with the Naked Eye
INTERACTIVE, GRAPHIC AND AUDIOVISUAL HIGHLIGHTS
Section—Exploring the Universe with Telescopes
graphic: "Night Sky Projection" – Visitors enter
gallery beneath an overhead projection of the moving night sky
as seen from the Northern Hemisphere.
interactive: "Astrolabe and Quadrant" – Visitors
experience how early astronomers worked by using detailed replicas
of an astrolabe and a quadrant to sight a star on a nearby wall.
the Universe with Photography
interactive: "Refracting Telescopes" – Visitors
can sight Earth’s Moon through a detailed replica of a primitive
Galilean telescope and compare it to the same image seen through
a small, modern telescope.
interactive: "Lenses and Mirrors" – By directing
a light beam through four configurations of lenses and mirrors,
visitors compare how different types of telescopes function.
interactive: "Light Path" – Visitors with impaired
vision trace the light path through reflecting and refracting
"Observatory Dome" – This entire section
is housed within a re-creation of an observatory dome showcasing
the observing cage from Mount Wilson (Calif.).
Interactive: "Blink Comparator" – This instrument
shifts between two images of the same area of the night sky
taken at different times, allowing visitors to see minute changes
in a variable star.
Section—Exploring the Universe with Spectroscopy
A large, 3-D rendering of the mind’s eye of the astronomer of
the 1950s, showing galaxies moving away from each other above
a typical drive-in movie scene in the Southwest United States.
Interactive: "Guess the Gas" – Using a spectrometer,
visitors examine the light produced by four different elements
and compare the different patterns of spectral lines that those
Interactive: "Doppler Shift" – Visitors manipulate
a mechanical representation of a galaxy and watch its visible
characteristics change, showing that, like sound, the light
from an object moving toward or away from us shifts in wavelengths.
Section—Exploring the Universe in the Digital Age
"The Electromagnetic Spectrum in Stained Glass"
– a large stained-glass work showing the range of light that
shines on Earth and how deeply it penetrates the atmosphere.
A series of rings on gallery carpeting represents the actual
sizes of mirrors from key telescopes, ranging from the 2.4-meter
mirror on the Hubble Space Telescope to the 10-meter mirror
of the Keck telescopes (Hawaii), the world’s largest.
interactive: "Infrared Camera" – Although the
human eye only detects the narrow range of visible light, a
camera and monitor show that visitors radiate a different light
in the form of body heat.
interactive: "Birthday Star" – Visitors provide
their birth years and are introduced to stars an equal number
of light years away. Highlights in astronomical history for
birth years are also displayed.
interactive: "Electromagnetic Spectrum as Piano Keyboard"
– eight playable electronic keys teach visitors that visible
light would equal a single octave on a keyboard while the detectable
range of the electromagnetic spectrum would equal more than
65 octaves or approximately nine keyboards laid end to end.
interactive: "Museum Roadshow" – Mysterious-looking
(astronomical) instruments get professional appraisal in this
spoof of a popular public television program.
"The Travels of Priscilla the Proton" – A computer-generated
adventure that follows Priscilla from the time of the Big Bang
to her current state in a glass of water.
"Scott Hamilton Skates the Universe" – Olympic gold
medalist and national champion Scott Hamilton explores the cosmic
rink to Eric Idle’s "Galaxy Song," from the 1983 Monty
Python film "The Meaning of Life."
interactive: "Expanding Space" – Superimposing
a transparency of galaxies over a slightly reduced image of
the same galaxies, visitors turn a handwheel and see how any
point in the universe can appear to be its own center of expansion.
interactive: "Elastic Space" – An elastic construction
representing the universe. As visitors turn the handwheel to
stretch the fabric, the galaxies move apart from each other
but they themselves do not expand.
interactive: "Gravitational Lens Effect" – By
looking at an image through a special lens, visitors see how
the gravity of one galaxy cluster can bend the light path of
projection: A rotating, 3-D map of the large-scale structure
of the universe, with a dot representing each galaxy, incorporates
the latest data as it becomes available.
interactives: three computer stations at the end of the
gallery explore current observing activities and include a "Test
Your Knowledge" program.
- An Explore
the Universe Web site (airandspace.si.edu/exploretheuniverse)
presents images, text and interactive activities that reside
in the exhibition gallery. It includes a virtual tour of the
gallery, an online lesson section and links to scientific and
the Universe Media Kit:
The Universe Press Release - September 13, 2001
Explore The Universe Curator's Top
Explore The Universe Interactive,
Graphic and Audiovisual Highlights
Explore The Universe Bios
Explore The Universe Quick Facts
Explore The Universe Fun Facts
Explore The Universe Imagery for Press
Online Exhibition: http://airandspace.si.edu/exploretheuniverse
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