The Science Museum presents an exhibition entitled The Sun: Living With Our Star which explores our relationship with our closest star.This will be one of the first exhibitions that explores the Sun’s profound influence on the way we have lived in the past, live in the present and how we may live the future.
The exhibition begins by looking at how many ancient civilizations worshipped and studied the movements of the sun creating stories and myths about how the Sun was transported across the sky. Some early Nordic Bronze Age artefacts in the exhibition illustrate how people made sense of our most important natural phenomenon.
Next we have a series of clocks and sundials used to measure time, one highlight is the original orrery, a mechanical model of the Solar System, made for the Earl of Orrery in 1712 to demonstrate the motions of the Earth and Moon around the Sun. Another highlight is the astronomical spectroscope made for Norman Lockyer who used it to identify the element helium in the Sun’s atmosphere in 1868.
Since the invention of the telescope in the early 1600s, people have undertaken research to unlock some of the secrets of the Sun. The exhibition includes detailed sketches, prints, paintings and photographs of the Sun which reveal the important observations recorded by artists and astronomers between the mid-1800s and mid-1900s.
These include the sunspot paintings of James Nasmyth and photographs by Elizabeth Beckley.
Since the 20th century, there has been a realisation of the heath benefits of the sun with a section of the exhibition given over to a small beach and posters relating the healthy seaside air, however there is also a film that charts the rise of skin cancer in some parts of the world caused by too much exposure to the Sun.
There has also been a movement to harness the power of the sun to provide a safe and sustainable energy source. Solar panels are shown with films showing their widespread use in all parts of the world.
Visitors to the exhibition can look at the ways that scientists have used to recreate the nuclear reactions that power the Sun here on Earth. In the exhibition is the Tokamak ST25-HTS, a prototype nuclear fusion reactor which successfully created plasma for a record-breaking 29 hours in 2015.
This fascinating exhibition charts how humankind has gained understanding about our nearest star from Bronze Age artefacts to the latest details of upcoming NASA and ESA solar missions. To tell the story, the exhibition brings together animations, archive recordings and film with a unique collection of scientific instruments, technological innovations and historic artefacts. There are a number of interactive experiences designed for visitors to understand and explore the power of the Sun.
Visiting London Guide Rating – Highly Recommended
For more information and tickets, visit the Science Museum website here
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