Planetarium Presents “Water Wednesday”

Image from ERAU Prescott

Planetarium Virtual Presentation: Tour of Water

By Grace Tevaseu, Correspondent

Abiding by the current health regulations, the Jim and Linda Lee Planetarium continue their educational programs with their newest, live streamed, Virtual Presentation: A Tour of Water on Feb. 10th. This featured presentation is in coordination with Arizona’s 2021 Virtual SciTech festival, a month-long science and technology focused festival. “We are in the middle of week two, where each day has a special theme. And the theme for today is Water Wednesday”, presenter Eric Edelman explains. 

Targeted at elementary and middle school viewers, Edelman narrates the movements and significance of ocean water in colloquial terms, also greatly appreciated by his older water-novice audience. With “NOAA’s Science on a Sphere program and Evans and Sutherland’s Digistar 6 planetarium software”, the presentation is brought to reality with a simulated, planet Earth. Edelman proudly demonstrates how water currents affect buoy movement and what can be learned from buoy locations. While buoys are commonly associated with tracking animal patterns and migrations in the ocean, Edelman brings a new purpose of the tool to light; among the myriad of colorful buoys in the simulation, “these red buoys . . . are helping us on the Dark Project, and that goal is to help us know as much in advance . . . if there is going to be a tsunami event.” 

As the 30-minute presentation moves along, the subject evolves into topics of oil spills and water pollution. To better understand the damages of plastics entering oceans, Edelman passed the baton onto one of our very own ERAU students, Carissa Evans. As a STEM Outreach staff member, Evans prepares a demonstration of the categories of plastics that pollute our waters and the difficulty it involves, trying to remove those microplastics and chemicals. “When it comes to things like our chemical waste, it is almost impossible to filter that stuff out because it is mixed in with our water,” Evans exhibits. Using a blue light flashlight, she reveals how even if people cannot see the waste, it is still there doing damage. Her firsthand example of water pollution reflects the repercussions of human actions that many are not aware of nor see on a regular basis. That being so, Evan’s demonstration serves as a valuable visual in considering the footprint humans leave on Mother Nature. 

Surprisingly, not only did ‘A Tour of Water’ explore water in our ecosystem, but the presenters also created a relatable demonstration that resonates with the online viewers. Currently living in an era of ‘Going Green’ and mindful existence, the audience logged out of this livestream with a new acknowledgement of how humans impact oceans and what can we do to help cleans our waters. 

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