Orlando Science Center's exhibit halls feature a vast array of exciting interactive experiences! Learning has never been so fun with these hands on educational exhibits. From down to earth explorations in natural science to the high-tech world of simulation technology, everywhere you look, you'll find educational and entertaining opportunities to explore, experiment, and discover.
The Orlando Science Center is home to some of the most exciting traveling exhibits in the country. When these exhibits are in town they are only here for a limited time, so don’t miss the opportunity to see them!
As great as our traveling exhibits are, there are some exhibits that are the staple of the Orlando Science Center. NatureWorks will have you up close and personal with some of nature’s most fascinating reptiles. At DinoDigs, you’ll step back into the prehistoric age. Discover the dynamic forces and systems that shape our Earth, as well as other planets in Our Planet, Our Universe. Explore such concepts as electricity and magnetism, lasers, soundwaves, and nature’s forces in Science Park. No visit to the Science Center is complete without a trip to KidsTown, an interactive world dedicated to our smaller explorers.
Science Live! Programs
What’s the difference between a great visit to a Science Center and a memorable visit? Live programs. Our exhibits are designed to inspire curiosity and exploration, our Science Live! programs are designed to bring the exhibits to life. Whether it’s a show in the Digital Adventure Theater or a one-to-one interaction with a volunteer at the Crosby Observatory, our live programs create the kind of impact that can last a lifetime.
Looking for little more “hard science” in your next Science Center visit? Look no further than the Science Stations located throughout the facility. Science Stations are a cross between exhibits and live programs in that they’re exhibits that typically include a live program to truly bring the experience to life. Science Stations provide an in-depth look at their respective subject matter in an entertaining way. Be sure to check your program schedule to see which Science Stations are conducting demonstrations on the day of your next visit.
The aluminum-domed Crosby Observatory atop Orlando Science Center houses Florida's largest publicly accessible refractor telescope. This one-of-a-kind custom-built telescope, along with several smaller scopes, are available at selected times for solar and night sky viewing.
03 November 2011
Our Planet, Our Universe
Astronomers have found the brightest and youngest example yet of a fast-spinning star. This recent discovery has scientists believing that these versions of stars may be more common than they thought. The spinning star is a millisecond pulsar called J1823-3021A and is located inside a conglomeration of stars called a globular cluster which can be found 27,000 light-years from Earth in the constellation Sagittarius.
Pulsars form when the remnants of massive stars from supernova explosions collapse into compact objects made only of particles called neutrons. When a great mass, like that of our sun’s, is packed into a space the size of a city, the conserved angular momentum causes the neutron star to spin very quickly and emit a ray of high-energy light that sends out a sweeping beam, much like that of a lighthouse. Because astronomers can only see the beam when it’s pointed at Earth, the light looks as though it is pulsing.
The pulsar emits intense high-energy gamma rays which researchers were able to study using NASA’s Fermi Gamma-Ray Space Telescope. According to their findings this particular pulsar is only 25 million years old – a baby for these kinds of stars, who tend to be a billion years old or so!
02 November 2011
Shocking test have made physicists question Albert Einstein’s cardinal rule of physics: nothing is faster than the speed of light. At the European Center for Nuclear Research (CERN), OPERA, a team of physicists, shot neutrinos out of a particle accelerator and measured how long it took the particles to travel to a neutrino detector. Neutrinos are subatomic particles that have very little mass and can zoom through planets like they were not even there.
It was expected that these particles would be close in speed to light. However, their speed was 60 nanoseconds faster than expected, surprising many scientists. Although a nanosecond seems very small, over a distance of 621 miles, neutrinos would travel about 66 feet farther than light travels in the same time. If this discovery is accurate, it would be “revolutionary”, according to physicist Stephen Parke, because most theorists believe nothing can travel faster than the speed of light.
A number of physicists have been skeptical about this finding because it would wreak havoc on scientific theories of cause and effect. Speculation looms that there might be instrument errors among the OPERA team causing these findings to be inaccurate. Louis Striggari, an astrophysicist at Stanford University, said, "There have been several instances where, through no fault of the experimenters, the equipment was not understood as well as it needed to be."
Even the OPERA team is being cautious about their findings allowing others to repeat the experiment. However, over the past month, many different physicists have had trouble repeating the experiment. There have been no concrete findings yet and physicists will continue experimenting with neutrinos.
26 October 2011
Dolphins are one of the world’s most beloved animals, and now we are introduced to a new species discovered in Australia called Burrunan dolphins. The strangest thing about this discovery is that these dolphins were found in Melbourne, the second most populated city of Australia. After DNA tests were done on these bottlenose dolphin species, scientists were so surprise at the results that they ran the test again.
To their shock, the Burrunan dolphins were genetically very different from the two recognized bottlenose dolphin species. The Burrunan dolphins not only look very different from the other bottlenose species, but they also have a more curved dorsal fin, a stubbier beak, and a unique “tricoloration”- including dark gray, mid gray, and white.
How did researchers miss this species of dolphins for so long? In 1915, the Burrunan dolphins were almost discovered, but scientist concluded that the differences between the common bottlenose dolphins were due to one being a male and the other a female. As a result of new technology and studies, researchers today were able to provide evidence making a strong case for this new species.
These species are now listed as endangered because there were very few Burrunan dolphins found, approximately 100. Kate Charlton-Robb, a marine biologist at Australia’s Monash University says "Given the small size of the population, it’s really crucial that we make an effort to protect them." Hopefully these beautiful new species of dolphins will be around for a while with the efforts of protecting them.
28 October 2011
WFTV Severe Weather Center 9
While most of us shudder at the thought of hurricane season, there is one colorful ocean dweller that actually benefits from these tropical cyclones. According to Derek Manzello, who studies the life of coral reefs at the Atlantic Oceanographic and Meteorological Laboratory in Miami, Florida, hurricanes can bring up cooler waters from the depths of the ocean and bring aid to coral reefs that are in danger of bleaching. This act of circulating cool water is known as upwelling.
Corals have tiny organisms called Coral Polyps that contain photosynthetic algae called zooxanthellae, which provide the coral with food and bright coloring. Coral bleaching takes place when zooxanthellae leave the coral, due to increased water temperatures or other stress factors. Because the coral has no way of feeding itself, it eventually dies. However with the help of hurricanes, water temperatures are brought down and the coral is able to recover in about 1 month.
In 2005, coral reefs in the Caribbean suffered the most damage and bleaching due to very high water temperatures. However, they recovered much faster than nearby reefs. The winds from all of the tropical cyclones that passed within 435 miles of the Florida Reef Tract east of the Florida Keys lowered the surrounding sea surface temperatures by as much as 5.8 degrees F.
Occurences like these are good reminders that, even under the most terrifying circumstances, Mother Nature has a way of finding something good.
07 September 2011
Did you know that a lake right outside of Orlando holds one of the largest population of alligators in the United States? Over 10,000 alligators live in Lake Jessup, a lake that many pass over daily. At over 16,000 acres, Over 100,000 years old, Lake Jessup is home to many of Florida's most famous wildlife, but none more intriguing than the American Alligator. Although these alligators lay still and appear to be sleeping, swimming in this lake wouldn't be the best idea.
In the 1980’s, Lake Jesup it lost some of its appeal due to tremendous development in the area. However, surrounding residents came together to restore Lake Jesup back to its natural beauty. It is now a large attraction with airboat rides, hiking, and a wilderness area devoted to preserve central Florida’s ecosystem. Lake Jesup is a unique and wonderful place full of alligators, fish and all sorts of birds that add to Florida’s beauty.