Science on a Sphere®

Using high-speed computers, multiple projectors and
advanced imaging techniques Science on a Sphere®
creates an image of the planet in 3-D. Imagine looking
back at the Earth from outer space—that’s The Sphere!

Historic and real-time information can be graphically
displayed on The Sphere, clearly demonstrating important
environmental issues on a global scale—e.g., climate
change, ocean currents, weather patterns, dispersion
of potential contaminants, etc.

Learn about the oceans, our Earth, and the
planets beyond!

Check our schedule for times.

Sphere Presentations for General Audience

Solar System, Part I – The Rocky Planets
Mercury, Venus, Earth, and Mars, the first four planets closest to the Sun are all displayed in brilliant, visual detail. As we take a tour of these “rocky” planets, called rocky because they consist of silicate rock and metal, we discover why physical differences between the planets makes them all so visually different. Visitors will also learn why the conditions on Earth make it hospitable to life – including us!

Solar System, Part II – Gas Giants
Jupiter, Saturn, Uranus, and Neptune are the “gas giants” in our solar system. These planets are different from rocky planets because they are tremendously big and made mostly of gases, like helium and hydrogen. We will visit the gas giants and some of their more interesting moons. Pluto will be the last stop on our tour, and we will help explain why Pluto is no longer considered a planet!

The oceans have tremendous importance on our planet in terms of sustaining life. We will take a tour of the Earth’s oceans to understand how they help create weather, transport materials and nutrients, and provide sustenance for humans.

Shrimp Fishery and Food Mileage
America loves shrimp, but did you know it was our favorite seafood? Where do shrimp come from, and how are they harvested? Follow the journey of shrimp as they are hatched, captured and end up on your dinner plate. Bet you didn’t know that shrimp probably travel more miles to get to your plate than you do in a year!

Dynamic Earth
The surface of the Earth is dynamic and constantly moving. Through fossils and geological evidence, we have been able to track the movements of the tectonic plates. The continents are part of these plates, and their movements have produced major changes both in the past and during the present day. Even though we are not usually aware of the plates moving beneath us; this motion can contribute to natural disasters, such as earthquakes, volcanoes, and tsunamis.

Weather and Climate
Energy, in the form of light and heat, is transferred from the Sun and blankets the globe. As this energy moves and interacts with other physical forces in the atmosphere our weather and climate are created. Using modern technologies we can now look at historic climate and see how our climate today varies from what we have seen in the past.

Heat and Carbon
The current state of the Earth’s climate can be related to an ever-expanding human population. As new areas of the Earth become developed and are used to sustain life, we generate more fossil fuels. The heat that is produced is transported around the globe. We can track the movement of these carbon aerosols and explain how atmospheric changes can affect change environmental conditions within specific areas.

Water is vital to life—over three-quarters of the human body is water. Photosynthesis in the oceans provides between 50–80 percent of the oxygen we use to breathe. So where does water come from, and why is it so necessary for living things? We will track the movement of water, in its various states, through the environment as a part of the water cycle. We will also demonstrate the importance of conserving this natural resource.

Sun, Light and Life
The Sun plays a critical role in providing energy for all living things on Earth. We will take a close-up look at the Sun, explaining how electromagnetic energy (visible light) from the Sun helps plants grow which, in turn, feed animals and ultimately humans. Lastly, we will look at ways to harness solar energy, helping provide sustainable energy for all living things on our planet.

Climate Change
To understand what is happening to the Earth we need to understand the major components that make up the Earth. We will view the five distinctly different “spheres,” representing air, water, rock, ice and life, which make up the Earth we know. The different spheres are atmosphere, hydrosphere, lithosphere, cryosphere and biosphere, respectively. We will then view the daily and yearly changes humans are making to our climate. Some potential consequences of climate change will be discussed but, most importantly, the audience will be given everyday solutions they can fit into their busy lives.

Population Growth
Human population is growing exponentially, and it is predicted to reach nine billion individuals by 2050. As population continues to grow, new land must be developed for housing, commerce and agriculture. Coastal areas are among the most densely populated, but populations will move inland as the coastlines become full. As we make changes to the landscape around us, how are we affecting other areas on the planet? Is there a way that human population growth can occur sustainably?

Life on the Earth is not evenly distributed. The oceans contain a vast array of biological diversity, but marine organisms are mostly found in specific areas. Visitors will learn about productive zones of the ocean including coral reefs, hydrothermal vents, and upwelling areas. Tracking chlorophyll, temperature, and currents, it becomes possible to identify why some areas of the ocean are biological deserts, and others are veritable buffets.

The Elements
Four distinctive and yet inextricably linked elements; earth, fire, water and wind, interact to provide humans with the place that we call home. We live in relative comfort because of the balanced system created by their constant moving and mingling. Humans alter this system in ways that we can observe but do not yet fully understand. This presentation gives a new perspective on the elements that make earth hospitable enough to be our home planet.

How much do humans know about life in the universe? What conditions make the emergence of life possible? Join us as we tour the solar system. We will review the requirements for the emergence of life on other planets and discover how life is still emerging and developing here on Earth.

Scientists use satellite tags to track animal movement throughout the ocean. By tagging these animals we are given a glimpse into their migration paths and behavior. Knowing more about their behavior patterns close to shore or where animals over-winter helps scientists make more informed management decisions about those particular species. Come watch with us as we trace the journeys of sharks, turtles and seals.

Primary Productivity
Sunlight is used by living things to create food. This transfer of light energy into chemical energy and specifically carbohydrates occurs through photosynthesis. All the “food” that is created is then used either by the plants (and producers) or by consumers as the energy is passed through the food web. Together we can track the primary production both on land and in the ocean and understand how important the role of each organism is in the food web.

Steward Sphere Presentations (Children Themed Presentations)

Water Cycle for Kids
When viewed from space we can see that our planet is mostly water, yet most of it is not available for human consumption. Water, in all of its forms, is an essential resource for living things. We will follow the movement of water and learn why the water we depend on daily is only a tiny fraction of all the water available on the Earth.

Moving Earth for Kids
Ever wondered why South America and Africa look like two puzzle pieces that should fit together? Well, you’re right, as millions of years ago, they did! Even though we usually can’t tell, the ground we live on is constantly moving. Take a journey with the Sphere to discover how and why the surface of the Earth moves.

Life on Earth for Kids
Life is possible on Earth because of our Sun. The Sun provides us with heat and energy that plants can turn into sugars through photosynthesis. Plants in turn provide their energy to animals and decomposers through food webs. Let’s remember the important role of the Sun in providing our food the next time we are hungry!

Animal Tracking for Kids
We know that most animals move, especially if they are hungry or looking for a new place to live. Come join us as we use data from satellites to follow the path of seals, turtles, and sharks–oh my!

Solar System Tour for Kids
You probably know all your planets, right? Well, we can help you learn more. You’ll be able figure out how old you would be on Venus or how much you would weigh on Saturn. Let’s explore our solar system together!

Weather Tracking for Kids
Want to be a weather bug? We can help! In real time, we can track the weather across the globe. Together, let’s investigate the role of the oceans in creating large scale weather patterns like hurricanes and tsunamis.

Population on Earth for Kids
For a long time the Earth was relatively unpopulated. Areas that people live in today would have been too cold, impossible to traverse, or wouldn’t have produced food. What changed? How did we go from a few million people to over 6.5 billion on the planet? How long did it take? Join us to answer these questions and more!

It’s Elemental for Kids
How do these four elements – earth, fire, water and wind – help provide a stable yet ever-changing home for us? We are able to call almost every part of Earth home and move all around our planet because of the interactions of these elements. Come explore the connections between the earth, fire, water and wind!

Emergence of Life for Kids
Is Earth home to the only life in our galaxy? What conditions do you need to make life possible? Join us as we tour the solar system and examine all the planets and celestial bodies that may now or have in the past contained life.

Kid’s Rule the Climate!
We all hear about “climate change” in school but what does it really mean? Together we will become experts in understanding our atmosphere and the greenhouse effect. We will also see daily and yearly changes that humans are making to our climate. Knowledge is power so we will provide you 10 easy solutions so you – yes you – can help take control of climate change!


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The mission of the Ocean Explorium is to establish New Bedford as a center for ocean science public education, with an emphasis on environmental stewardship and