Best (& Sweetest) 12 Weeks of Summer Ever #5
5. Go galactic
In the heat of summer, we rely on simple but important pleasures to cool us off: ice-cold drinks, swimming holes, air-conditioning, and evening breezes for stargazing, to name a few. If you visit one of Texas’ many planetariums, stars and air-conditioning combine for a perfect summertime outing. (See www.texashighways.com/webextra for a list of Texas planetariums, which are found from Gainesville to El Paso.) Thanks to sophisticated technology, planetarium visitors can view constellations, auroras, and other celestial topics in 3-D, on domed screens, and in real time.
A related tool for exploring the universe, “Science on a Sphere”—a device designed by NASA and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) —made its Texas debut in 2008 at the International Museum of Art & Science in McAllen. (Two others now operate in Sugar Land and Rockport.) These digital globes—approximately six feet in diameter and animated by four projectors—demonstrate the human planet’s many mysteries, including animal migrations, hurricanes and tsunamis, melting sea ice, and the night sky.
“We debuted our sphere the night Hurricane Ike hit Galveston,” says McAllen Museum Educator Mario Lopez. “We were receiving live feeds from NOAA and watched the storm hit on the sphere. From that perspective, it doesn’t look menacing, but strangely beautiful.”
For information on the McAllen exhibit, call 956/682-1564; www.imasonline.org.
From the May 2013 issue.