New OMSI exhibit puts “Science on a Sphere”

Get a look of this really cool, state-of-the-art display that allows visitors to get global view of weather patterns, planets, and so much more …

NOAA data specialist Beth Russell describes how natural forces created recent weather patterns, using the new “Science on a Sphere” 360º computer projection system at OMSI.

Story and photos by David F. Ashton
Providing a visual representation of activities that normally place on a globe – such as watching an animation of satellite weather photos – is sometimes confusing to the viewer, because events on a globe don’t lend themselves to flat, rectangular, two-dimensional images.

But now, a new permanent exhibit which just opened at Oregon Museum of Science and Industry (OMSI) displays the changing, animated moving images of the earth’s atmosphere, oceans, animal migration patterns, global warming trends, hurricane paths, as well as the surface of the sun, planets, moon – all on a six-foot sphere that appears to float in mid-air.

“This exhibit is called ‘Science on a Sphere’,” OMSI’s communication director, Lee Dawson, explained at its inaugural showing on July 24. “It uses four computer-driven projectors to seamlessly create very high quality moving images on the sphere. It provides a powerful tool for visualizing both pre-recorded and live presentations of difficult-to-picture concepts, such as changing weather systems.”

Visitors will be amazed as they watch prerecorded and live presentations on the “Science on a Sphere” visual display system, now on display in OMSI’s Earth Science Hall.

The exhibit was underwritten by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) Fisheries Service, and is on display in OMSI’s Earth Science Hall.

For general information about OMSI, see their website at; or call (503) 797-4000.

© 2009 David F. Ashton ~ East Portland News

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