A New Milky Way Galaxy. Better Visual Quality and Performance on Modern Computers

A New Milky Way Galaxy. Better Visual Quality and Performance on Modern Computers


SPACE ODYSSEY
VOLUNTEER UPDATE 08.16.13

Click below for quick access to:
Space Odyssey News
Trainings and Meetings
Educator Uplink
Space Science Lectures & Events
Museum News and Lectures
Volunteer Enrichment Committee (VEC) Events
SPACE ODYSSEY NEWS
BIG IDEAS FOR 2014...?
Do you or does anyone on your team have any ideas for programs or exhibits for Space Odyssey for 2014? Maybe an idea for what to do with the space where the XBox is currently? Yes, that game will probably go away eventually due to the prohibitive cost to make it "our own". We're having a Guide Captain meeting on Monday August 26, so please tell your Guide Captain about any ideas you may have for improvements to Space Odyssey, or if your team doesn't have a Guide Captain, discuss amongst yourselves and just email me directly. I'd like each team to come up with a few ideas that we can discuss at this meeting. Thanks!
SOS EVALUATION UPDATE
THE EVALUATION IS DONE! Thank you all so much for your help and support with this project, I really appreciate it and you all did such excellent work. Thank you! Once the report has been completed by the evaluation consultant and I'm able to distribute it, I'll be sending it out via a link to the Portal and will let you know.
ORBITS TABLE GETS UNIVIEW 1.5: UPDATE
Thanks to Dave Lewis and Greg Mancari, the new computer has been installed. It works almost exactly as before and as a reminder, here's a list of the new features. If you'd like someone to come to your team and train you on these new features, please let me know.
  • A new Milky Way Galaxy. Better visual quality and performance on modern computers.
  • New ISS andHubblemodels.
  • New visualization material such as rainbow and earthquakes.
  • Constellations - individually accessible and with animated lines.
  • Object Window search bar
  • Smoother earth atmosphere rendering.
  • Enceladus image layer updated
  • Sun Model with Sunspots
  • Full resolution Black Marble included as a Geoscope Tileset. (Access this through the Geoscope window with the earth selected, then "Add layer-> Geoscope Tilesets -> Default -> Black Marble.)
  • New auroras (available as default modules, but you need to select them in your profile):
  • Basic Earth Aurora module, includes Aurora Borealis, Earth Aurora, Jupiter Aurora, Saturn Aurora and Uranus Aurora modules
Apparently the projector is not as high resolution as I'd thought, but it's still brighter than the old one.
EXPERIMENT BAR KEY
Does anyone have this key? It's been missing for almost two weeks. Please return it and/or let me know if you have an idea of where it might be. Thank you!
WEATHER CENTRAL HAILSTONE INFO
Dave Cuomo found out that the original hailstone from which the cast was made
weighed 31 ounces which is 878 grams or just under two pounds.
FREE DAY AUGUST 19
NASA ATTEMPTS RECOVERY OF KEPLER SPACECRAFT

NASA E-BOOKS AVAILABLE
"NASA's Massive Free E-Book Collection":

Richard Spencer, Information Services Manager for the Library at NASA Headquarters in Washington has informed us of more free NASA E-Books, and also some free regular books in celebration of 50 years of NASA. Here is the message he sent:
"By the way, let your readers know that the Aeronautics Research Mission Directorate is also building a collection of free ebooks at
Also, I oversee the Headquarters Information Center which distributes and sells the books to the public. Currently, the History Program Office is celebrating 50 years of publishing books with a massive giveaway of many titles. The price page (including which titles are available for free) is at: We're distributing them for a $3.00 per book shipping/handling fee (or visitors can walk in for copies - although we will be closing to public access for 9 months beginning Aug 21st.)"
UNIFORM UPDATE
Status quo...Still no word on the final cost for the custom uniforms. The wait is due to the factory needing to assemble five uniforms of varying sizes using the fabric etc. and having them embroidered. Once that's all done, hopefully sometime...soon...We'll know what the deal is.
NEW LAPTOPS UPDATE
Status quo...Rumor has it that the laptops are nearly finished, 90% of the way there. Will let you know when they make their grand entrance.
TRAININGS AND MEETINGS
NEW VOLUNTEER ORIENTATIONS FOR 2013
These trainings are required for all new volunteers. Please sign up by contacting Shelley Knepley at , or call her at 303.370.6419. All the trainings run from 9-1:30 unless otherwise noted.
  • Tuesday, September 17: VIP Room
  • Saturday, October 5: VIP Room
  • Tuesday, November 12: VIP Room

EDUCATOR UPLINK
Hi Museum Galaxy Guides,
The new laptops are almost here!!!!!!
Actually, they are here in the building, and they are almost ready to be deployed in Space Odyssey. Spanking new Mac computers will work pretty much the same way as the old ones, except for one or two minor differences because of the newest version of the operating system.
1) When you start up, the Portal will not automatically open. You will need to go down to the dock at the bottom of the screen and click the Safari icon.
2) If you download a Word doc, or PowerPoint from the Portal, it will not automatically open. Instead, the file will show up on your desktop, and you will need to double click it to open it.
Other than that, everything should be very familiar. And, everything ought to work. Including the new little "envelope" icon at the top of the Safari window which you can use to e-mail links to visitors.
This is a great time to tell you how the laptops in Space Odyssey came about. They were radically innovative back in 2003 and even in 2013 are still at the cutting edge of museum education.
It started with a conversation I was having with Jeff Rautus, one of our astronomy educators back about 2000. I was asking him some questions, and he was pulling up web sites on a desktop computer. We were having a great conversation - the computer was just an added benefit. It was not at all like looking things up for myself on the internet for two reasons. First, because it was his knowledge of space science that engaged me not the computer, and secondly, because on my own I wouldn't have known what to look up. If you've never even heard of the Oort cloud, how could you possibly look it up?
So, I decided that I wanted to replicate that interaction with our visitors. I put together what I called the Web Cart. It had a full desktop computer, monitor, keyboard, on a Rubbermaid cart which needed to be plugged into a wall socket for power and another wall socket for internet access. It weighed a ton. But, it was enough to convince me that it was a winner because the visitors were so engaged. But, I couldn't see a practical way of pulling it off.
Then I saw Steve Jobs do one of his keynote presentations where he was showing off the newest Mac laptops with a brand new feature he called "Airport." Believe it or not, you could connect to the internet with no wires! I realized that that was how we could finally make those "web carts."
We rigged up a laptop with a big shoulder strap. I thought that I could just go up to visitors and show them stuff while I held the laptop in my hand. But it was very awkward. I kept looking for a place to set it down. So, I realized that we needed to put the laptop on a cart which could be wheeled around.
At first, while prototyping this web cart in one of our temporary exhibits, The Powers of Nature, I thought of the laptop as the ultimate answer machine. But it wasn't really working out the way I had imagined. Then, one little girl came up to me to ask where she could go to see an earthquake. After talking about the pros and cons of that, I walked her over to a map on the wall showing the Ring of Fire, where many earthquakes occur. I had the laptop with me. When I asked her if she wanted a copy of the map, and then found one on the internet which I could e-mail to her (with her parent's permission, of course) she loved it. It totally changed my thinking about the laptops. It was the ultimate way to personalize and extend her museum experience so that she could continue her curiosity when she got home.
By sending home that link to a Ring of Fire map, I realized that it was like a little "give away" that museums often give to visitors. But, it was a virtual give away. We didn't have to print anything up. It didn't cost us anything. And, best of all, we could personalize each "give away" to exactly what the visitor was interested in. Not only that, since the map I sent her had more links on it, she could continue on her own journey of curiosity when she got home.
And, it was so easy.
The idea for the Portal came from Laura Danly, our Space Sciences Curator at the time. Instead of putting "favorites" on each computer with good space science web sites to share with the visitors, why not put all of those favorites onto a centralized server. That way, it didn't matter which laptop you grabbed, you would always have access to those same favorites. As you all know, the Portal has grown into a fantastic resource for volunteers and staff because it is chock-full of web site links, PowerPoint presentations, training manuals, videos, and much more.
We even came up with a way to connect the laptops to screens all around Space Odyssey. Nobody had ever done anything like that before. Talk about updatability. Talk about making Space Odyssey dynamic and responsive. Talk about handing over the keys to Space Odyssey to the Museum Galaxy Guides and saying run with it. It was awesome. And, it still is.
And, when I say "run with it," that's exactly what you did. You came up with ways to use those laptops in such creative ways that we never imagined. Adding digital components to the Spectroscopy Cart. Showing movies of visitors as they spin on the Barany Chair. Calling up web sites about local air traffic to complement what was on the Science on a Sphere. And, on and on.
And, of course, sending home those little give away items with the click of a button. To me, that is the best.
So, as we get ready to install our third set of laptops (five years per set is pretty darn good) it is time for you to expand the ways that you use those laptops. They are still a cutting edge way of interacting with our visitors, and the key is YOU. These are not simply computer stations for the visitors to look things up. They are tools for you to use so that you can inspire curiosity, promote discovery, and deliver an out of this world experience.
- - Eddie
SPACE SCIENCE LECTURES & EVENTS
RESERVATION INFO
Volunteers may attend some events for free on a space available basis by calling Adult Programs at 303.370.6303 or emailing .
This is only for lectures, for other programs, like Science Lounge, please call Reservations, 303.370.6000, thank you!
60 Minutes in Space
Go "behind the stories" in space science using the best images and animation available to help understand new developments. Seating is limited to first come, first served.
Wednesday,August 28
7 p.m.
Gates Planetarium
Free
The next 60 Minutes in Space will be on Wednesday, September 25.
MUSEUM NEWS
BIG CITY PARK EVENT AUGUST 17
Many of you may have already seen the tents going up in City Park. On Saturday, Chipotle will hold a one day free event in the park that's expected to attract thousands of participants. It is also supposed to be 95 degrees and the fountain is broken. This could go one of several ways for the Museum. People could check out the event and then want to cool down and spend some time inside the Museum, the event will be so great that we may see very few visitors, or it could rain and send many people to us at once. In any case, expect parking to be extremely difficult. If you're working and can get alternative transportation, that's helpful. The event runs from 11am-7pm, so those arriving early may not have as much of an issue. And if you're working and get a lunch break, you may want to walk out in the park and get some free food.
MORE MUSEUM INFO
Click here for Lunchtime Lectures
Click here for Evening Lectures
Click here for Museum IMAX information
Click here for Museum Planetarium Information
VOLUNTEER ENRICHMENT COMMITTEE EVENTS
See bulletin board in the Volunteer Lounge for more info
DaveBlumenstock
Coordinator of Volunteers for Space Science
Denver Museum of Nature & Science

Phone 303.370.8344
Fax 303.370.6005
Join the Museum's Online Community