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It's #MuseumSunshineDay!

Written by Lexi Adams, LASM Collections Manager

Crew: REMOTEKONTROL; Song: "Neon Sky Rain" by Vector Lovers Location: "Solarium" at the LASM Upper Main Gallery.


Museums around the world are celebrating #MuseumSunshineDay on April 21, so we’re featuring a sunny work from a previous exhibition to brighten your afternoon! In 2015, LASM presented Sun Light / Star Light: Contemplations on the Solar Orb. One of the most captivating works shown in the exhibition, Solarium, was so inspiring that it was featured in a music video by the Atlanta-based dance crew RemoteKontrol. In the video the crew dances with fluid motions, cued by the rhythmic eruptions of solar flares from the Sun’s atmosphere. 


NASA Solar Dynamics Observatory. Solarium, 2014. Digital video loop. Produced by Genna Duberstein and Scott Wiessinger. Data visualizer Tom Bridgman. Audio by Stanford University.



But how did we get video of the SUN?!


Using imagery from its own vast holdings, NASA embarked on a four-year project to create a revolutionary art video titled Solarium. NASA’s Solar Dynamic Observatory (SDO) which launched in 2010 has an unprecedented capability to record and receive information about activity on the surface of the Sun. Under nearly continuous observation, material is tracked as it courses through the layers of the Sun’s atmosphere. The outer layer, called the corona, is visible as solar flares burst suddenly and gigantic eruptions of solar particles, some measuring 50 times the size of Earth, swirl and surge into space. Spearheaded by multimedia producer Genna Duberstein, a team of media specialists including Scott Wiessinger and Tom Bridgman worked about ten hours to create each one-minute segment of the video.


NASA Solar Dynamics Observatory. Solarium, 2014. Digital video loop. Produced by Genna Duberstein and Scott Wiessinger. Data visualizer Tom Bridgman. Audio by Stanford University.



First, images were selected from the observatory’s vast holdings. SDO photographs the Sun every 12 seconds in ten different wavelengths of ultraviolet light and downloads these images at an impressive rate of 130 Megabits per second. After datasets reach the ground, the information is processed multiple times to produce images for projection at 4,096 pixels per square inch. Every single image has eight times more resolution than a high-definition TV. These images are recorded in a binary code, meaning ones and zeros. Using computers, the data is translated into black-and-white pictures. Scientists then colorize them for realism and zoom in on areas of interest. Each color selected relates to a specific wavelength of ultraviolet light, which is invisible to the naked eye, as well as to a specific temperature of material on the Sun. Once images for Solarium were selected, they were transformed into time-lapse videos and streamed one after another. The digital footage was accompanied by an audio track created at Stanford University from solar data measuring the way sound waves travel through the center of the Sun. 


CLICK HERE to learn more about Solarium from NASA

CLICK HERE to learn more about RemoteKontrol

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