Western Spirit: Scottsdale’s Museum of the West announced June 15 the addition of an educational exhibit kiosk from the Smithsonian Astrophysical Observatory, called Observing With NASA, that will offer fun and activities for the whole family by engaging visitors in the art and science of NASA imagery.
Observing With NASA, known as OWN, is on display at Western Spirit (a Smithsonian Affiliate) through Aug. 31.
Arizona Senator Mark Kelly, a former NASA astronaut, said about the new OWN kiosk in a press release, “Thanks to the collaboration between NASA and Western Spirit: Scottsdale’s Museum of the West, kids and their families will be able to take part in hands-on experiences that will hopefully inspire the next generation of space explorers and continue Arizona’s legacy in our country’s space program.”
According to a press release, the OWN kiosk offers an introduction to the tools, data and skills that NASA space scientists and data visualization experts use to create the images of deep space objects. It also features a range of NASA’s most iconic images to explore and opportunities for visitors to put their own artistic spin on these images through image analysis and processing. Those images can then be emailed directly to their personal devices for further study and as keepsakes.
“The launch of the James Webb telescope has created a new appreciation and enthusiasm for the beauty and wonder of the universe,” James Burns, executive director of Western Spirit, said in a press release. “We are proud to be one of the first 10 selected to host this interactive kiosk that will give our visitors an authentic data experience with astronomical imaging.”
The OWN kiosk at Western Spirit is located in Paul Calle’s Life of Exploration: From the Mountains to the Moon exhibition which has been extended through November 27, 2022 the press release stated.
The exhibition traces the career of this American painter, including his works as an official NASA artist. On July 16, 1969, Calle was the only artist present during the pre-launch activities of the Apollo 11 mission to the moon, sketching various scenes, including breakfast, suiting up and the walk-out to the spacecraft. The exhibition features a strong selection of Calle’s sketches and paintings. Among these is The Great Moment — an oil painting depicting Neil Armstrong’s first step on the surface of the moon.
According to a press release, the first five activities of the OWN kiosk draw on NASA data. The sixth allows visitors to become amateur astrophotographers and explore the universe with a robotic telescope. Other “out-of-this-world” games and puzzles encourage visitors to create astropoetry and make pictures from pixels.
• Find the Apollo site: Challenge yourself to seek out small details in hi-res images of the moon and locate the landing sites of Apollo 11–Apollo 17.
• Create your own masterpiece: With image processing tools, visitors can colorize and enhance images of the sun, moon, the planet Jupiter and the Whirlpool Galaxy to bring out details, just as scientists do, as well as put their own artistic spin on these images.
• Animate images over time: Observe the rotations of the sun and Jupiter. Note the Great Red Spot on Jupiter as it passes in and out of view. See Jupiter’s moons as they orbit the giant planet.
• What’s red + green + blue? Combine three separate images — one taken with a red filter, one with blue, one with green to represent the actual range of colors emitted by objects in space.
• Reveal an image using “invisible light”: Add light from beyond the visible spectrum — ultraviolet and infrared — to reveal objects in space that are hidden from the naked eye.
• Explore the universe with a robotic telescope: Visitors can target celestial objects, choose exposure times and color filters and send these remote commands to telescopes located around the world. These telescopes will photograph the selected objects and send images to viewers’ devices where they can be processed further and enjoyed.
With the OWN kiosk and Paul Calle’s Life of Exploration: From the Mountains to the Moon exhibition, Western Spirit pays tribute to these connections. For more information on Western Spirit: Scottsdale’s Museum of the West, visit the website Scottsdalemuseumwest.org.
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