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Science on a Sphere

Science On a Sphere is a large visualization system that uses computers and video projectors to display animated data onto the outside of a sphere. The globe appears as if suspended in air and shows dynamic images of the atmosphere, oceans, and land of a planet. Science On a Sphere presentations occur throughout the day on a variety of topics. The shows are either live presentations led by Science Center program staff or computer-driven presentations.

Live shows take place at 2:10pm daily.

Animation Clips

See animated visualizations on a variety of subjects including Hurricanes Rita and Katrina, the Mars global surveyor spacecraft findings, the earth with clouds, ocean and land cover, and much more.

X-Ray Sun

See the outer atmosphere of the Sun, called the corona. This outer layer is hundreds to thousands of times hotter than the surface of the Sun we see in visible light and is where the Sun is most dynamic. See flares, solar eruptions, coronal holes, and how they affect life on earth and the technology we rely on.

Weather Prediction Models

Used by the National Weather Service for global weather forecasting, the data originates with geostationary weather satellites from around the world and is filled in with data from polar-orbiting satellites.

3D Surface of Earth and Nighttime Lights

See the earth’s rotation showing transitions from day to night and back. Highlights include the mid-Atlantic ridge in the middle of the Atlantic, the Himalayas in the Tibetan plateau, the Mariana Trench east of Japan and more.

Percipitable Water Stimulation

Follow tropical disturbances moving from east-to-west and the formation of occasional tropical storms. Locate the Intertropical Convergence Zone—a band of rich moisture that circles the Earth near the equator, where the trade winds of the Northern and Southern Hemispheres come together.

Moon and Mars

Compiled from NASA exploration missions. See the other side of the Moon that we can’t see from Earth. On Mars, see Olympus Mons—the largest volcano in our solar system—16 miles high, plus Mariner Valley—a canyon 2500 miles long and 4 miles deep.

Historical Terrestrial Air Temperatures

See how the northern and southern hemisphere simultaneously experience opposite seasons due to the 23 degree tilt of the earth’s rotational axis.

Historical Sea Surface Temperatures

Follow the annual cycle of sea surface temperatures across all oceans through the seasons. El Nino and La Nina events can be clearly observed.

Near Real-Time Global Infrared Satellite Data

See global weather patterns in near real time. Learn how temperatures of clouds and lands, different circulation patterns in the northern and southern hemispheres, and the warming and cooling of continents effects weather around the world.