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Learn about NOAA’s Mauna Loa Observatory on the Big Island of Hawaii, the location of the Exploratorium’s June 5, 2012, webcast of the transit of Venus. A leading atmospheric research facility, the observatory has been collecting and monitoring data relating to atmospheric change since the 1950s. Dr John Barnes, the Station Chief for the observatory, describes the functions of the MLO, which provides valuable long-term and continuous recording of data.

Dr. John Barnes, Station Manager of NOAA's Mauna Loa Observatory, shares the history of Charles Keeling's pioneering carbon dioxide measurements, which have been taken continually at Mauna Loa since 1958.

Framing of the Exploratorium's Observatory Building, the only completely new construction at at the piers, began in April 2011. Iron workers placed various sizes of steel beams in piles around the concrete base of the Observatory. Then, while a crane raised and held each beam aloft, the workers used metal spikes to line up the holes of the beams and inserted bolts, tightening them down to tie the structure together. Because the Observatory Building is less than two stories tall, the iron workers were allowed to shimmy across the beams without harnesses. Once this process was finished, the beams were plumbed and welded together.

Construction of the Observatory at Piers 15 & 17 from April 12th through April 27th of 2011. Images courtesy of Nibbi Construction. Music by Wayne Grim.

Is water ice present or absent in a crater near the moon's south pole? NASA’s Lunar CRater Observing and Sensing Satellite (LCROSS) mission is seeking a definitive answer. Join Exploratorium staff for a special Webcast featuring live coverage of LCROSS crashing into the moon! Our team will be broadcasting live from the 36" Refractor Telescope at Lick Observatory on Mt. Hamilton, where we’ll watch the impact and investigate how this intentional crash could reveal the existence of water ice.

We tour the NOAA Atmospheric Research Observatory at the South Pole where scientists are monitoring carbon dioxide levels, CFCs, solar radiation, and the ozone hole.

Shots of the Barrow Environmental Observatory in Barrow, Alaska.

B-Roll for playback during webcast, "Tundra and Climate Change with Steve Hastings," on 5/24/08. Footage includes shots of data gathering, facilities and landscape at the Barrow Environmental Observatory.

The two Mars Rovers are alive and well after surviving their second Martian winter. Come and see photos of discoveries they made during their third year on Mars, with Exploratorium Senior Scientist Paul Doherty.

On November 8, 2006, Mercury slowly slid across the face of the sun during a relatively rare event known as a transit. The Exploratorium's Live@ crew was at the Kitt Peak National Observatory in Arizona to cover the event. This webcast includes a brief history of Kitt Peak and its 21 telescopes.