Globe Projection System Highlights JMU Earth Week

From: Public Affairs

April 11, 2008

HARRISONBURG ó Astronauts train for years to get a shot at seeing the spectacular sight of Earth from outer space, but visitors to James Madison University will be able to get the same experience just by walking into a room at Memorial Hall.

Well, perhaps the experience is a little less dramatic than going into orbit in a rocket, but the Science on a Sphere, a 3-D visualization tool developed by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, does give visitors some idea of what astronauts see. Suspended from the ceiling by three thin wires that become invisible when the lights go out, the 6-foot-wide globe can display weather patterns, ocean temperature data, the moon, the sun and a whole lot more.

Public showings of Science on a Sphere are scheduled at 4, 5 and 6 p.m. on Monday, April 14, through Wednesday, April 16, as part of JMUís Earth Fest 2008, a celebration leading up to Earth Day on Saturday, April 19. No registration is required, but seating for each show is limited to 49 people. Homeschoolers or other groups should call ahead for special reservation times at 568-2766 or e-mail racochlm@jmu.edu.

The sphere is in Room 5510 of Memorial Hall (the former Harrisonburg High School) and visitors should arrive 10 minutes before show times. The doors will not be opened during shows.

A 5K run/walk will kick off Earth Week 10 a.m. Sunday, April 13, and will start at the Festival Conference and Student Center on the JMU campus east of Interstate 81. For more information, contact macklc@jmu.edu.

Other highlights of the week include the GO GREEN Ride and Drive Expo and free community light bulb distribution from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Saturday, April 19, at the Convocation Center. Experience a wide selection of advanced eco-friendly vehicles, including electric trucks, segways, electric ATVs, hybrids and more. Interactive learning stations will teach children about green living and sustainable choices.

For information on other events during the week, including speakers, a community bike ride on Friday, April 18, and a lawn festival on Saturday, April 19, visit www.cisat.jmu.edu/earthfest2008.

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