Public to get behind-the-scenes view of NCAR's high-tech facilities on June 5

May 26, 2010

Boulder—The National Center for Atmospheric Research (NCAR) and University Corporation for Atmospheric Research (UCAR) will offer the public a rare, behind-the-scenes view of their world-renowned scientific facilities during an open house on June 5 to celebrate their 50th anniversary.

The daylong event, at three locations in Boulder and Broomfield, will feature demonstrations of cutting-edge scientific tools, including a research aircraft with specialized instruments; laboratory tours; weather balloon launches; demonstrations of satellite data; an exhibit on supercomputing over the decades; scientific talks; special activities for children; and more.

Scientist works on observing instrument with aircraft behind himTours include NCAR's Research Aviation Facility in Broomfield, where visitors can see the center's newest research aircraft, talk to researchers, and learn how vital data about the atmosphere is gathered on expeditions around the world. (©UCAR, photo by Carlye Calvin.) News media terms of use*

Other highlights will include a close-up look at the NCAR facility that is used to design and build custom research tools; and demonstrations of newly designed instruments that can help society, such as a snowplow with sensors that relay information about snow and ice on the road.

The event will showcase the broad scope of NCAR and UCAR research, which extends from the ocean floor to the Sun's core and beyond to the stars.

"This is a rare opportunity for the public to see our world-class scientific facilities close up," says Susan Foster, acting director of the UCAR Office of Education and Outreach. "We’re excited to open up our facilities, including many that the public doesn’t usually have access to, so that people can see for themselves the really amazing work we've done over the last half-century and what it means to everyday life."

The open house will run from 9:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. Many of the activities will take place at NCAR’s Foothills Lab campus in northeast Boulder, with additional events at NCAR’s Mesa Lab and its research facility at Rocky Mountain Metropolitan Airport in Broomfield. Food will be available at the Foothills Lab and Mesa Lab cafeterias.

An emergency helicopter with ground crewAn emergency helicopter will be on hand in the parking lot of our Foothills Lab in northeast Boulder. (Photo courtesy Air Methods.)


Open House * Open Labs * Open Hangar Highlights

Details, schedules, maps and directions >

Foothills Lab (3450 Mitchell Lane, Boulder)

All ages invited

  • Emergency helicopter with specialized instrumentation
  • Snowplow with custom-designed snow and ice sensors
  • Historic sailplane
  • Emissions testing station
  • Zipline used in field research
  • Wind tunnel
  • Weather balloon launches
  • Tours of chemistry labs and our instrument design and fabrication facility
  • Ice crystal demonstration
  • Scientific talks


Mesa Lab (1850 Table Mesa Drive, Boulder)

Mesa Lab events are recommended for ages 12 and older.

  • Supercomputer exhibit, talks, and views of NCAR supercomputers
  • Demonstration of data from UCAR's COSMIC satellites
  • Live image displays from our solar observatory in Hawaii
  • Multimedia presentations of NCAR’s history through the decades
  • Discussions with climate scientists
  • Live music


Research Aviation Facility (10802 Airport Court, Broomfield - Rocky Mountain Metropolitan Airport)

 All ages invited

  • HIAPER Gulfstream V research aircraft
  • Demonstration of scientific instruments used on the aircraft
  • Opportunity to meet pilots and researchers


*Media & nonprofit use of images: Except where otherwise indicated, media and nonprofit use permitted with credit as indicated above and compliance with UCAR's terms of use. Find more images in the NCAR|UCAR Multimedia & Image Gallery.

The University Corporation for Atmospheric Research manages the National Center for Atmospheric Research under sponsorship by the National Science Foundation. Any opinions, findings and conclusions, or recommendations expressed in this publication are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the views of the National Science Foundation.