Kindergarten-through-high school teachers attending the Sept. 22 open house and people attending the Geology Club's GeoFair and Mineral Sale on Oct. 15 at Virginia Tech's Museum of Geosciences will be treated to displays on the museum’s new OmniGlobe™ from ARC Science Simulations.

"OmniGlobe is a spherical projection system to help visualize datasets to explore and explain Earth Systems," said Llyn Sharp, geosciences outreach coordinator. "Global datasets include plate tectonics, ocean and atmosphere events and trends, weather, phenology and vegetation cover, population and cultural summaries, and paleogeography."

The museum's new system also has full globe imagery of the planets, sun, and moon. "These initial datasets are mostly from federal agencies such as NASA or [the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration], but we will be accessing, processing and adding others, including Virginia Tech research," said Sharp.

The OmniGlobe has a real-time data feed of the infrared cloud cover data for the world, updated every three hours. Museum visitors took advantage of this feature to watch Hurricane Irene form over the Atlantic Ocean and move into the Eastern United States. "Geosciences [information technology] staff captured that nine-day path so it is now available for replay on the OmniGlobe," said Sharp. "Historic hurricane animations are also part of the data, including Bill and Katrina."

Geosciences courses are actively incorporating the innovative teaching tool into lab sessions. Other early adopters include the biological sciences department in the College of Science and the geography department in the College of Natural Resources and Environment at Virginia Tech.

The Geology Club's GeoFair and Mineral Sale on Saturday, Oct. 15, is from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.

The Museum of Geosciences in 2062 Derring Hall is free and open to the public from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. weekdays. Reservations are requested for group visits to avoid use conflicts in the small space. See the museum's website to arrange group visits and for directions.

Dedicated to its motto, Ut Prosim (That I May Serve), Virginia Tech takes a hands-on, engaging approach to education, preparing scholars to be leaders in their fields and communities. As the commonwealth’s most comprehensive university and its leading research institution, Virginia Tech offers 240 undergraduate and graduate degree programs to more than 31,000 students and manages a research portfolio of $513 million. The university fulfills its land-grant mission of transforming knowledge to practice through technological leadership and by fueling economic growth and job creation locally, regionally, and across Virginia.

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