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Satellite images dazzle as art, science

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If you go

◆ “Earth from Space”

◆ Lubeznik Center for the Arts, 101 W. 2nd St., Michigan City

◆ Jan. 14-March 11; opening reception 6-8 p.m. Jan. 14.

◆ 10 a.m.-5 p.m. Tuesday through Friday; 11 a.m.-4 p.m. Saturday and Sunday  

◆ Hear Shawn Slavin, associate professor of physics and astronomy at Purdue University Calumet in Hammond, talk about the exhibit, 7-9 p.m. Feb. 23.

◆ A voluntary $3 per-person
donation is requested at the door. Donations support the not-for-profit center and its exhibits.

◆ For more information, call 874-4900 or visit online at
www.lubeznikcenter.org.

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Updated: February 14, 2012 8:07AM



High above the ground and water of Earth, space satellites capture ethereal pictures of the blue planet’s surface.

Large banners that show
those images will be displayed in “Earth from Space,” a Smithsonian Institution exhibit that kicks off Jan. 14 at the Lubeznik Center for the Arts in Michigan City. The display of wondrous sights will continue at the center through March 11.

“It’s where art and science
kind of meet,” said CarolAnn Brown, the center’s curator of exhibitions.   

The exhibit is comprised of 40 panels detailing satellite images of Earth that range from channels that snake into the Arctic Ocean to the grid-style landscape of Kansas farmland.

The Smithsonian’s traveling exhibition is complemented by a “Magic Planet” digital video globe, which is a digital display with a sphere-shaped screen.

Its animations, according to a news release, allow visitors to experience “the global extent of images returned from orbiting satellites.”

The curator of the stratospheric display is Andrew Johnston, a geographer at the National Air and Space Museum, which is part of the Washington, D.C.-based Smithsonian Institution.

The visuals of “Earth from Space” have been captured by technological marvels that were basically designed for scientific purposes.

“These images are collected by complicated machines,” Johnston said in a recent phone interview. “But at the same time, some of the images that we get from these satellites are really engaging images — they just have an aesthetic appeal to them.

“We spun this more as a science traveling exhibit, but at the same time we made the images very large to be visually appealing. It’s actually really interesting that it’s on display at an arts venue in Michigan City.”

The satellite images in “Earth from Space” are on banners 4 feet wide by 7 feet high.

“They’re really stunning satellite images,” Brown said. “They’re high resolution; full color.”  

Universal appeal

Snaring “Earth from Space” took some work on the part of the Lubeznik Center for the Arts.

“We had to fill out many forms,” noted Lubeznik’s education director Janet Bloch.

She believes the exhibit is a profile-raising coup for the center, which is presenting a collection of vibrant visuals that can appeal to scientific, artistic and geographic interests.

“I think that people who are
just interested in culture and travel will get something out of it,” Bloch said.

The exhibition’s banners take viewers to various locales by unfurling a travelogue of snapshots from around the globe.

“One of the panels shows an image from a sensor that’s orbiting on a NASA satellite that shows the entire area around Cairo and the Nile River,” Johnston said. “If you look very closely, you can see little tiny triangular-shaped shadows where the great pyramids of Giza are standing.”

The Lubeznik Center for the Arts has a special distinction in regard to the traveling exhibition it is hosting.

“This is actually the last venue for it,” Johnston said. “After it’s done in Michigan City, we’re retiring the exhibit.”



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