NASA brings e-theater to BYU

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    By KIMBERLY DEMUCHA

    Stop wondering about twinkling little stars — stargazing has gone high tech.

    A team from NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center will be bringing their portable electronic theater to the BYU campus.

    On Thursday, the Joseph Smith Building Auditorium will be transformed with the arrival of the traveling theater. The 24-foot screen and a specialized digital HDTV projector will be used for this panoramic production.

    According to David Long, a BYU professor of electrical and computer engineering, NASA will be presenting a new program. The program, titled “Earth Science Observations and Visualizations in a Historical Perspective” will last for about an hour.

    With the help of an SGI supercomputer, the audience will be able to view live video footage from various NASA satellites, Long said.

    With the most advanced technology available, presenters will be able to personalize each presentation. For BYU, the satellites will be able to focus on and zoom their cameras in on the Utah Valley.

    Dust storms, massive hurricanes, and killer tornadoes are just a few of the program’s highlights. Images recently featured on Newsweek, Time Magazine and National Geographic will also be incorporated into the presentation, Long said.

    Additionally, the show will feature some of the first satellite pictures of the earth dating back to the 1960s.

    The Earth Today exhibit at the Smithsonian Air and Space Museum will also be featuring NASA program, as well as IMAX theaters across the nation.

    The program is designed for general audiences and is free of charge. The door to the JSB auditorium will open at 6:30 p.m.. The public is encouraged to arrive early because space is limited. If a significant number of people attend, NASA will make a second presentation at 8 p.m.

    Long, who was formally employed by NASA, has kept in close contact with NASA and its programs.

    His association with NASA has allowed the “e-theater” to make a stop here at BYU, Long said.

    The portable “e-theater” is on a major U.S. Tour, with BYU is the smallest of its stops.

    The NASA group will also be making a stop at the University of Utah.

    For the science enthusiast, color images of the Goddard Space Center’s visualizations are available for downloading at www.gsfc.nasa.gov.

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