Museums and the Web 2005
Demonstrations: Description
Photo Credits

See museum applications demonstrated by the people who created them.

The Space Weather Center

Paul Dusenbery, Space Science Institute, USA
James Harold, Space Science Institute, USA

Demonstration: Demonstrations - Session 1

To the unaided eye, space appears to be a vast, dark void, and the Sun a tranquil sphere of light. But in fact, space is neither empty nor tranquil. Our local star generates the cosmic equivalent of wind, clouds, storms, and hurricanes. Collectively, these events are called space weather, and they lead to effects ranging from the beautiful Northern Lights to large scale power outages and loss of communication satellites.

The Space Weather Center ( is a NASA and NSF funded site for the general public that tells the story of space weather. Beginning with the plasma state of matter, the site moves on to explore the sun, Earth’s magnetic field, and the ongoing research into understanding and forecasting space weather events. Originally based on a traveling museum exhibit of the same name, the site has expanded beyond its parent, and incorporates a wide range of resources and interactives. Visitors can play a Tetris-like game involving the states of matter, launch solar events at the Earth and see their effects, and more. The site also includes Magneto Golf, a mini-golf game that uses research grade algorithms to enable players to knock protons through Earth's magnetic field.

As with other online interactive developed at the Space Science Institute, these pieces track and store visitor actions into a database that can be mined later for evaluation purposes. Combined with one-on-one interviews by external evaluators, these data allow us to assess the success of the pieces in meeting their goals, both cognitive and affective.

In addition to the online interactives, the site serves as a dissemination point for several Space Weather related resources, including FAQs, a glossary, the Solarscapes curriculum and the "Family Guide to the Sun".