By M. A. Jackson
Thru June 21, 2002
for hazardous journey. Small
wages. Bitter cold. Long months of complete darkness. Constant danger. Safe return doubtful. Honor and recognition in case of success.
Believe it or not, this recruitment notice for
the 1914-1916 British Imperial Trans-Atlantic Expedition--the first attempt
to cross the Antarctic continent--was an understatement.
The 27 men who signed on for that adventure,
under the leadership of polar explorer Sir Ernest Shackleton, endured the
worst weather, misfortune and bad luck imaginable. That they all returned
safely from the failed mission is more than amazing--it's miraculous. Equally astounding is that 86 years later
a film crew would reenact and recreate that desperate mission. Their
results, combined with archival photographs and film footage shot during
the original expedition, are featured in Shackleton's Antarctic Adventure, at Carnegie Science Center's
Rangos Omnimax Theater.
The film follows the journey of Shackleton's men,
who set sail from London, England Aug. 1, 1914 aboard the aptly named ship
"Endurance." When they reached the Antarctic Circle in January,
1915, the Endurance was immobilized by ice. The men lived comfortably
enough aboard the ship for nine months--but then the ship was crushed by
the ice and sank. With thin tents for shelter, the crew lived for five
months on ice floes, and then spent a week drifting in lifeboats toward
uninhabited Elephant Island.
But since this remote island offered no chance of
rescue, Shackleton and five men embarked on a 17-day, 800-mile search--in a
barely sea-worthy lifeboat--for the whaling stations on South Georgia
Island. Arriving on the uninhabited side of this island, Shackleton and two
others walked for 36 hours across 30 miles of unexplored crevasses and
peaks to reach "civilization" on the opposite shore.
The expedition survived despite 70-mile-per-hour winds,
blizzards that lasted two weeks, a hurricane, towering waves and minus
winter nights. And let's not forget the rapidly diminishing food and fuel
resources, and wet, threadbare clothing.
Yet someone wanted to do it again. In 1999 and
2001, two teams set forth to film Shackleton's
Antarctic Adventure by revisiting the locales of the 1914-16 British
Imperial Trans-Atlantic expedition, and by using 1914-era polar gear
(tents, sleds, camp stoves and clothing), and retracing the trek across
South Georgia Island. Reinhold
Messner, Stephen Venables, and Conrad Anker--three of the world's most
accomplished mountaineers--filled in for Shackleton and his men.
If you want to see real Survivors, turn off the
TV and see Shackleton's Antarctic
on the Road--at EUP
Pittsburghers are lucky--the fun and excitement
of Carnegie Science Center is right in their own backyard. But what do you
do if you live in, let's say, Erie or Crawford counties? Well, thanks to a
new collaboration between Carnegie Science Center and Edinboro University
of Pennsylvania, you can stay home and let the fun come to you.
"CSC@EUP" is a satellite
education center located on the Edinboro University campus that offers
science classes, summer camps, and workshops and Outreach programs to
schools--similar to those offered in Pittsburgh--to kids in grades K through
6 living in northwestern Pennsylvania.
Outreach is not a new idea for the Carnegie
Science Center staff--for several years they've been taking programs to
schools in Ohio, southern New York, West Virginia, and as far east as
Harrisburg. But the cost of such long distance programs isn't cheap, so
when Edinboro University offered four offices and a storage room, the
science center jumped at the opportunity to create a new Science on the
Road program and build a unique partnership with the university. This fall,
workshops will include "Scary Science," "Science of
Toys," "Young Astronauts," and "It's Raining Cats and
Dogs." This past summer there were camps on bugs, inventors, and
wizardry (think Harry Potter).
Science on the Road is a series of high-energy,
show-stopping demonstrations and hands-on activities
that can be brought to schools and other sites. They cover
such topics as rainbows, chemistry,
weather, and electricity. Assemblies,
with their creative props and audience participation, include "Big Top
Science," "Magic of Matter," and "Science How's and
Science Wow's." There's even
specially designed workshops for scout troops.
"Everyone in the area who finds out about
these programs is really excited," says Jill Jones, Carnegie Science
Center education coordinator. "There's nothing like Carnegie Science
Center up there."
For more information about CSC@EUP, call
25, 26, and 27
For three days in
January, Carnegie Science Center will be taken over by pirates—Pittsburgh
Pirates, that is. Members of the
Buccos will be on board at the Science Center to sign autographs and chat
with fans. The Bucs are also
bringing a bunch of team souvenirs and memorabilia to buy. Members get the usual membership
benefits; the cost for non-members is $14 for adults and $10 for children.
A “True” Gathering of the Planets
By John G. Radzilowicz, Director
Buhl, Jr. Planetarium & Observatory
Back in May 2000, the media had a
field day reporting about a so-called “alignment “ of the planets.
Unfortunately, that highly over publicized event was completely invisible
to the average observer. That was because the Sun was in the midst of the
gathering planets, blocking any hope of catching the sight. At the time,
astronomers explained that these gatherings were not particularly rare – as
was often reported - and that a gathering that did not include the Sun is
the type that would actually produce a memorable sight in the sky.
Well, that time has arrived! In
the first half of this year the sky will give us a virtual bonanza of
planet lineups and gatherings in the evening sky. The show begins right at
the opening of the year, peaks in late April and early May when all five
naked-eye planets will be visible simultaneously in the western evening
sky, and stretches into June for a finale.
As 2002 begins, four of the
planets are already visible in the evening sky, but they appear stretched
across the heavens in an arc of more than 160 degrees. In the west and
southwest about an hour after sunset, you’ll find Mercury hugging the
horizon and red, but dimmer, Mars about half way up the sky. At the same
time, in almost the opposite direction, you’ll find bright Saturn high in
the eastern sky and spectacular Jupiter much lower in the east-northeast.
Watch the amazing dance of the
planets each night. The planets move quickly enough that changes can be
easily observed. You can keep careful track of the planets as they close in
on each other throughout the year by using the Buhl Planetarium’s 2002
Astronomical Calendar and by stopping by the Planetarium at CSC to pick up
monthly star and planet charts.