Space has intrigued people for generations.
From the sun to meteor showers, to our own moon, space is vast and puzzling. Our own sun challenges us every day to figure out its mysteries.
The Solar Dynamics Observatory is a NASA mission dedicated to observing the sun and how it affects Space Weather. The study of the sun, also known as Heliophysics, helps us learn how the sun affects not only our lives here on Earth, but also astronauts and satellites out in space.
Through millions of data points generated by the Solar Dynamic Observatory (SDO) , we can receive extreme UV data (which is normally invisible to our eyes) and use it to visualize what is happening on the sun in real time. Thousands of pictures are produced and spliced together to look like a flipbook, showing us how the sun behaves, even if we can’t see it with our naked eye.
This is where Genna Duberstein comes in. Duberstein works for USRA as the lead multimedia producer for the Heliophysics department at NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center. She works closely with the scientists at NASA to take this raw data and turn it into visual art. She is a science communicator that is dedicated to pairing science and art to create a sense of wonder in her viewers.
Genna Duberstein : taken from http://tedxpeachtree.com/speaker-spotlight-genna-duberstein/
Duberstein graduated with a BA in Spanish and Studio Art from The Ohio State University. After she went on to graduate from American University with an MFA in Digital Media. During her undergraduate degree, Duberstein worked for the video team at The Ohio State University’s medical center where they covered stories, such as cancer research and robotic surgeries. According to Duberstein “It was [her] first paid production job, but it was also [her] first step toward working in science communication”.
As Duberstein progressed through her career, she produced the Solarium, an interactive art display of the sun’s weather patterns and solar flares, produced from the raw data collected by the Flight Center. Solarium takes the raw data produced by the Flight Center with art. It makes the complex science of Heliophysics visible to the naked eye.
How was the Solarium produced? Scientists at NASA, took the raw, black and white images produced by the Solar Dynamic Observatory and colorized different wavelengths of ultraviolet light to illustrate what is happening on the surface of the sun.
Solarium : taken from nasa.gov
Duberstein then takes the images the scientists colorized and intensifies them. She splices the images into a video, and the sun dances, coming to life before our very eyes.
Not only is the Solarium scientifically accurate, it is also a beautiful display of color in motion. When asked why Solarium is important Duberstein states that she “loves being able to share the calming vibe Solarium creates. For however long you choose to stand in front of Solarium, none of your troubles matter. Of course you could use the space to teach people about the sun, but the best part is really how it feels to step back and watch it in action”. This feeling of being small in the universe while being connected to something much bigger (such as the sun) is something that we often forget about.
Whether or not you love science, Solarium is a beautiful art installation that invites us to explore how the sun behaves before us.
Visit the Aldo Leopold Nature Center and explore the Solarium in the Immersion Theater for yourself! Not only is it open to the public…it’s now free!
Visit Genna’s website (gennaduberstein.com) for more information about her work.