Now Open on Level 4
For centuries, the mysteries of space have captured our imagination and inspired us to look ever further into the cosmos. Now, the Orlando Science Center invites you to begin your exploration at Our Planet, Our Universe, a new permanent exhibit that takes a fascinating look at space as well as elements found right here on Earth.
An original exhibit on astronomy and earth science, Our Planet, Our Universe explores the strange, curious, and odd peculiarities of the universe and our place in it. Discover the dynamic forces and systems that shape our Earth, as well as other planets and discover the latest information about our solar system. New experiences include computer-based interactives and visuals, including images direct from the NASA/Hubble Space Telescope, and hands-on exhibits that explore some strange - and some familiar - phenomena.
The exhibit is divided into distinct areas that explore earth and space - here are a few of the hands-on exhibits you'll encounter:
Earth, Wind & Sky
- Aeolian Landscapes: Lets visitors manipulate fans to discover how the force of wind can shift sand into spectacular dune shapes and patterns.
- Blue Sky: Find out why our sky is blue through manipulation of different filters in front of a light source through a medium.
- Mars Rover: Guide a to the planetary rover over an 8’diameter simulated Martian terrain Takes the controls of the rover to move and pick up rock samples with its robotic arm while your friend watches the images the rover camera reveals.
Planets & Portals
- Ask An Astronomer: interactive video kiosk featuring short, lively and entertaining answers by the astronomers at the Spitzer Space Science Center.
- Cosmic Collisions: See what happens when galaxies collide through an interactive kiosk.
- Tonight’s Sky: What will I see if I look up at the night sky tonight? This software program from NASA is automatically updated every month to show appropriate stars, constellations and other objects playing on a large screen TV.
Gravity, Waves & Warps
- No Sound in Space: Hear what happens when you start an alarm bell, then pump out the air. Can sound waves move through the vacuum of space?
- Black Holes Quiz: Explore the strange and unique phenomena surrounding black holes. Take a journey into a black hole, or find out more at the black hole encyclopedia.
- Warping Space: Manipulate ‘stars’ and ‘planets’ along a 2D universe to see how different space can warp into 3 dimensions.
03 November 2011
Posted in Our Planet, Our Universe
Astronomers have found the brightest and youngest example yet of a fast-spinning star. This recent discovery has scientists believing that these versions of stars may be more common than they thought. The spinning star is a millisecond pulsar called J1823-3021A and is located inside a conglomeration of stars called a globular cluster which can be found 27,000 light-years from Earth in the constellation Sagittarius.
Pulsars form when the remnants of massive stars from supernova explosions collapse into compact objects made only of particles called neutrons. When a great mass, like that of our sun’s, is packed into a space the size of a city, the conserved angular momentum causes the neutron star to spin very quickly and emit a ray of high-energy light that sends out a sweeping beam, much like that of a lighthouse. Because astronomers can only see the beam when it’s pointed at Earth, the light looks as though it is pulsing.
The pulsar emits intense high-energy gamma rays which researchers were able to study using NASA’s Fermi Gamma-Ray Space Telescope. According to their findings this particular pulsar is only 25 million years old – a baby for these kinds of stars, who tend to be a billion years old or so!