As part of Dresdner Lichtjahr 2015 [Dresden Year of Light 2015], you can now see a previously-used SDSS plate on display at Technische Sammlungen der Stadt Dresden, a museum located in a former Dresden factory. The exhibit will run through June of 2016, and has some really awesome demonstrations of how light propagates, and how much today’s technology depends on light. The SDSS plate (below, designated plate 4385) is suspended above a table illustrating principles of how light propagates, what we can do with light of different wavelengths, and a demonstration of fiber optics. If you’re curious why our telescope might need need a metal plate, read this previous post.
Used SDSS plates are available for educational purposes by schools, museums, astronomy clubs, and other educational & community organizations. Just contact someone at your nearest SDSS member institution to get started!
Elsewhere in the exhibit and the museum, you can find a working infrared camera (selfie-compatible!), a very challenging puzzle involving prisms and laser light, and other neat activities suitable for children of all ages.
While you’re in Dresden, make sure to also stop by the Mathematische-Physikalische Salon [Royal Cabinet of Mathematical and Physical Instruments], at the Zwinger Palace in the center of Dresden, to have a look at old telescopes, clocks, and surveying tools. Of special interest to telescope enthusiasts are two very early reflector telescopes (i.e., telescopes that use a mirror to focus the incoming light, rather than lenses). You can also see them online in a panoramic view (upstairs in “Instruments of Enlightenment”).
This post is part of the SDSS Celebration of the International Year of Light 2015, in which we aim to post an article a month in support of the celebration of light.