Astronomy Class Explores Universe with Science on a Sphere

Astronomy Class Explores Universe with Science on a Sphere

Dr. Jack Bartholomew’s Astronomy students gained new insights into the mysteries of the universe by exploring a variety of data sets using Science On a Sphere in Wilkie Hall on Thursday, January 27.  

Science On a Sphere is an extraordinary display system that uses computers and video projectors to display planetary data onto a six-foot diameter sphere, analogous to a giant animated globe.

“The Sphere is such a wonderful tool,” said Dr. Bartholomew. “The possibilities for using it are so compelling.”

The students began by looking at dramatic views of the universe taken by the Wilkinson Microwave Anisotropy Probe, which measured temperature differences across the sky in the cosmic microwave background — the radiant heat remaining from the Big Bang.  

“It’s an absolutely inspiring view of the universe,” said Dr. Bartholomew. “There are pockets where it’s clumpy, but there’s something very constant about it.”

Other data sets revealed beautiful panoramas of the Milky Way galaxy and the wide range of exoplanets — planets that are found outside the Solar System.  The students also viewed images from TRAPPIST, a robot telescope used specifically for targeting ultra-cool dwarf stars.

Dr. Bartholomew said he would like his students to explore these data sets further and collaborate on their own presentation using Science On a Sphere.  

In 2017, Morristown-Beard School became the first school in the state of New Jersey to install a  "Science On a Sphere," and just the second secondary school in the nation to invest in this unique and exceptional educational tool.


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