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Touch the Sun Opens at Chabot Space & Science Center

NASA's Magnificent Solar Images on Display in New Interactive Exhibit

OAKLAND, Calif., Jan. 9, 2013 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- "Touch the Sun," a new interactive exhibition utilizing stunning near-real-time images from NASA's Solar Dynamics Observatory, will open at Chabot Space & Science Center on January 18th launching a four-day weekend full of solar astronomy related activities.

The central feature of the exhibition is a 90-inch LCD screen that displays near-real-time solar animation captured by NASA's Solar Dynamics Observatory (SDO), a mission launched in 2010, and provided to Chabot by Lockheed Martin Solar & Astrophysics Lab and the Stanford Solar Center. SDO is helping scientists understand the variable Sun and how the "space weather" created by solar activity influences the Earth. "Touch the Sun" is designed to help visitors understand the dynamic nature of the Sun, its connection to the Earth and the nature of its effects on human concerns. The interactive display allows visitors to manipulate the views on screen by zooming in and out to focus on areas of the Sun in partial or totality. Visitors can blend and change layers on screen to show different wavelengths of light highlighting features of the Sun's activity. Examples of solar phenomena such as solar flares, prominences, active regions, and others are visible creating artistic-like images.

"'Touch the Sun' provides our visitors a unique opportunity to visually experience the power of the Sun's energy, courtesy of cutting edge technology from NASA, Lockheed Martin, and Stanford Solar Center that didn't exist, and certainly was not available on this public scale until very recently," said Chabot Executive Director & CEO, Alexander Zwissler. "As a leader in the science center field, we're proud to be one of the first public institutions to present these full 4k x 4k images in near real time to our visitors."

The opening weekend features opportunities for families and kids to build and race Lego solar cars and make stained glass art, in addition to other crafts related to the Sun. The exhibition's Ferrofluid Window allows visitors to use magnets to control ferrofluid, mimicking sunspots and magnetic arcs. At the Galileo Drawing station visitors can explore specific features of the Sun and produce their own digital drawings of those features. The Plasma Globe Interactive station lures visitors to touch and manipulate flickering arcs of luminous colorful gas and energy. The Cultural Art displays invite visitors to explore the mythologies that have shaped perceptions and representations of the Sun in ancient cultures throughout human history.

Entrance to "Touch the Sun" and all accompanying opening activities for the weekend is included with general admission, adult $15.95, youth (ages 3 - 12) $11.95. Admission also includes tickets for the planetarium shows. Visitors are encouraged to purchase admission in advance at the box office (510) 336-7373 or online at www.chabotspace.org.

About Chabot Space & Science Center

Chabot Space & Science Center is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit interactive science center whose mission is to inspire and educate students of all ages about Planet Earth and the Universe. Located in the Oakland hills, the Center focuses on the earth, life, physical and astronomical sciences, with a 128-year legacy of serving Bay Area communities through exhibits, public programs, school field trips, science camps, teacher training, teen development programs and community outreach; hosts 50,000 students on school field trips and over 115,000 public visitors each year; and offers over 20,000 sq ft of interactive exhibits on a variety of space and science subjects, a world-class planetarium, school classes on over 30 different science topics, hands-on science activities, state-of-the-art classrooms and labs and publicly-available research-level telescopes.

SOURCE Chabot Space & Science Center

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