Office of Energy Efficiency & Renewable Energy

Science on a Sphere? This is the New Way of Looking at Data

May 24, 2017

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Science on a Sphere

Science on a Sphere® displays helps explain Earth system science to people of all ages.

Science on a Sphere®, a new tool by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), is educating, entertaining and visually stimulating young minds.

Researchers at NOAA developed it to help explain Earth system science to people of all ages. Animated images, ranging from space to ocean temperatures and more, can be seen on this interactive sphere.

How it Works

The room-sized, global display system uses computers and video projectors to display real-time data on a six-foot diameter sphere, which resembles a giant animated globe.

The Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy (EERE) provided data sets created by analysts at the National Renewable Energy Laboratory on energy-specific content related to wind, solar, geothermal, and locations of electric charging stations.The colorful maps and images on the sphere provide an enjoyable way to educate young minds about renewable energy and the potential of sustainable energy options. In addition, students have the opportunity to better understand complex issues related to energy.

Science on a Sphere

“NOAA created Science on a Sphere® to engage audiences around Earth system science,” said Beth Russell, manager of operations for the tool. “With it, we are able to capture the curiosity of our audience and help them understand and appreciate the world around them so they can be good stewards of our home.”

Using NOAA’s knowledge of the Earth’s land, oceans, and atmosphere, Science on a Sphere® is used as an instrument to enrich informal educational programs in science centers, museums, and universities across the country. Currently, Science on a Sphere® displays can be seen at more than 120 museums and science centers worldwide. It’s also used as a classroom tool—taking traditional learning to high tech in living color.

Find a Science on a Sphere® near you today.