Getting a tour of the NOAA exploration vessel OKEANOS Explorer was a real treat. The ship is packed with high tech remote sensors. For example, they showed us an accurate 3D map of a portion of ocean floor that they made on their way from Seattle to SF. You can see it on some monitors in the video below. I’ve worked with bathymetry data (ocean floor maps) during my geoscience studies and was curious about how they actually made the particular map that they showed to us. I actually found what I was looking for on the web. NOAA has pretty good web resources about the ship, it’s equipment, and missions. http://oceanexplorer.noaa.gov/okeanos/
A neat feature of that web page is the ship tracker map that allows you to follow the ships path. It actually has the route the ship took a couple of days ago. The google maps image shows part of the route the ship took down to SF. Before they reached the bay, they moved in a zig zag pattern to scan the ocean floor with their sonar collecting bathymetry data. That’s how they made the ocean floor map, have a look at NOAA’s 3D ocean floor maps here. If you have a closer look at the ship’s route above, you can see that the lines are further apart where the ocean is deeper. Just like the beam of a flashlight, a sonar beam gets wider when the object is further away, so the ship “sees” a bigger piece of ocean floor when it is in deep water. OKEANOS has to do fewer zig zag lines in the deep ocean.
There’s plenty of other cool stuff on the NOAA Exploration pages, including ocean floor maps and fantastic video footage of the ocean floor.
Our colleague Pete Stevens introduced Rob Blackstock to us. Rob is a former MIT professor with a background in fluid dynamics. He showed us how to visualize any type of fluid flow in a dramatic way. He is using a special tracer fluid that works with polarized light (the effect is called streaming birefringence).
Since not many of us were here during Rob’s visit, I got him to do a short show and tell and video taped it. Rob is interested in working with us, his web page: www.laminarsciences.com
- Enjoy & many thanks to Pete for bringing him in!
Yeah, bubbles! I came in this morning and was surprised by the bubble madness outside the museum… what a great place to work at! More photos and video, click here
After many workshops using light traces, we came up with the first exhibit on light traces!
This time we are using black light and glowing objects to do light traces. A video camera gives real time feedback. Development continues, here is a first snapshot.
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