Thursday, July 13, 2006

Garden :: Sky Tech

My mood has been lightened somewhat by recent news from Japan: an aurora-making device has been developed at Osaka City University! I can hardly keep myself from rushing straight out and buying one. The only thing stopping me is the memory of what happened last time I got excited by an atmospheric technology.*



I’ll wait until I see how it works out at Enoshima Island Spa. Beginning August 1, investors, real estate company Iida Sangyo, plan to fire up the device as the main attraction on the island.

“[Apparently] the aurora is generated within the belly of the machine, where a near-vacuum state is maintained. Electrons collide with oxygen and nitrogen to create colorful light in the same way that naturally occurring auroral light is generated in the earth’s upper atmosphere. One side of the device is made of transparent acrylic resin, allowing viewers to admire the beauty of the artificial aurora contained within. The aurora generator measures 2.2 (H) x 2.8 (W) x 1.4 (D) meters (7 x 9 x 5 feet), though the company claims to have engineered prototypes as large as 3 x 3 meters.

Aurora simulators in the past have relied on techniques such as laser beams that create aurora-like effects, while devices that have relied on electrical discharge in a vacuum have been very small. In addition to being larger and more “real” than previous devices, Iida Sangyo’s device does not simply light up — it emits a shimmering curtain of dynamic multi-hued light consisting of as many as 11 colors.”
Via Pink Tentacle >>
More photographs @ Aurora Borealis >>
Aurora Timeline and research >>



* 1885 noctilucent clouds (‘night shining’), also known as polar mesospheric clouds, are what happened. They were meant to be permanent cloudscapes, spelling out the names and logos of our sponsors above MoD. What we got instead is a cloudlike atmospheric phenomenon visible only at deep twilight. And even then, not everywhere nor all the time! Noctilucent clouds are most commonly observed in the summer months at latitudes between 50° and 60° north and south of the equator. So high in the atmosphere are they that they are visible only when illuminated by sunlight from below the horizon while the ground and lower layers of the atmosphere are in the Earth's shadow; otherwise they are too faint to be seen. Hopeless! Oh sure, they’re pretty! But what’s the point when our sponsors are suing us for breach of contract?




Noctilucent clouds @ Wikipedia
>>
Via meatspill >>

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