This week, astronomy students James Gordon ’21 and Katie Sengle ’21 got some hands-on experience using Science On a Sphere as they presented their research about Saturn’s moons and Pluto’s planetary status.
Housed in Wilkie Hall, 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.
James Gordon used the Sphere to present his research on Mimas, Titan, and Enceladus — three of the moons of Saturn. After discussing how moons are created, he looked at the similarities and differences of these moons and projected an image of each on the Sphere.
Katie Sengle discussed Pluto, which was considered the ninth planet until 2006 when it was declared a dwarf planet since it did not “clear the neighborhood” around its orbit. She projected a short video onto the Sphere and highlighted the research of the New Horizons spacecraft which recently gathered information about Pluto.
“Often, we’ll begin a class by just looking through some data sets on the Sphere,” said Dr. Bartholomew. “It’s fantastic to have this resource that would normally only be available in a science museum.”
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.