May 4, 2011 | In late May, the components of a new public exhibit will begin to appear at the Mesa Lab. Sun-Earth Connections, a joint project between EO and HAO, will be located on the lab’s mezzanine opposite the Main Seminar Room.
The exhibit features a large, colorful wall mural designed by HAO’s Don Kolinski that shows the history and evolution of solar and space research over the past half century, with a section devoted specially to HAO. Next to the mural will be a touch screen that provides visitors with more information. Five large light boxes will display solar-related images and interpretative text. A screen similar to the one currently on display at CG1 will display real-time data and images from the Mauna Loa Solar Observatory. A second touch screen, which will be installed by late summer with input from HAO’s Yuhong Fan and Mark Miesch, is still in the planning stages. Graphic panels featuring space weather, solar magnetism, and other aspects of the solar environment are also part of the exhibit.
“HAO is really looking forward to seeing Sun-Earth Connections at the Mesa Lab,” says Joan Burkepile, who contributed to the exhibit. “We’re delighted to share our solar research with staff and the public.”
The idea for Sun-Earth Connections arose when HAO’s Stan Solomon suggested that the CG screen showing data from Mauna Loa be replicated at the Mesa Lab. The 40th anniversary exhibit, which previously occupied the mezzanine, was getting dated, according to EO’s Becca Hatheway. “We saw an opportunity to use that space to include even more content,” she says. “We’re excited to be collaborating with HAO on an exhibit and look forward to working with more labs and divisions in the future.”