SUN project sees UCLan academic and international artist recreate our closest star
A stunning 3D recreation of the Sun thrilled visitors to Lancaster this weekend as part of the Light Up Lancaster Festival.
SUN has been created by public artist Alex Rinsler in collaboration with Professor Robert Walsh, professor of astrophysics at the University of Central Lancashire (UCLan) and will feature projections of astrophysical data from NASA’s Solar Dynamic Observatory.
The open-air installation, which allowed visitors to view a seven-metre diameter illuminated suspended sphere in Lancaster’s Sun Square on Friday and Saturday evening, revealed details of our Sun in extreme ultraviolet light, a part of the electromagnetic spectrum that is beyond human sight.
This was a wonderful opportunity for people in Lancaster to get up close and personal with our solar neighbour, right in the heart of the city centre
Several months of the Sun’s life are displayed over the course of 13 minutes, allowing the viewer to experience the wonders of our neighbouring star first-hand. With the help of spherical display experts at Pufferfish, specialised image enhancement techniques have been used to highlight the intricate features of the Sun, which would otherwise be lost. Cycling through different temperatures from a cool 4,500 degrees to an impossibly hot 10 million degrees, SUN reveals our star in a completely new light. It will be accompanied by an original soundscape created by multimedia artist Ebe Oke, with renowned singer Feargal Mostyn-Williams.
Professor Robert Walsh, Professor of Astrophysics at UCLan and SUN project lead, said: “This was a wonderful opportunity for people in Lancaster to get up close and personal with our solar neighbour, right in the heart of the city centre. The Sun is a vital part of our existence on Earth and it’s an enormous privilege to give people the unforgettable opportunity to experience our star first-hand.”
3D recreation of the Sun
I hope this work can spread understanding about the science that shapes our lives and bring something as overwhelming as the Sun a bit closer to home.
Alex Rinsler, artist and co-creator of SUN, commented: “This project has been two years in the making – it’s a huge achievement. I hope this work can spread understanding about the science that shapes our lives and bring something as overwhelming as the Sun a bit closer to home.”
Julie Brown, Artistic Director of Light Up Lancaster Festival, said: “We are absolutely delighted to have co-commissioned the Sun project for the Festival. It is an awesome piece of work which was a moment of wonder for everyone that came to see it.
“The Sun display also fitted in perfectly with our theme this year, ‘Into the Sky’, and what better place to have viewed it than in Sun Square itself.”
For more details on the Sun display visit the Light up Lancaster website.
SUN is a co-commission from the Light Up Lancaster and Lightpool Festivals. It has been enabled through a Spark Award for Public Engagement from the Science and Technologies Facilities Council (STFC), which is part of UK Research and Innovation, as well as public funding by the National Lottery through Arts Council England. Technical production is by Pufferfish Ltd with AV support from Warpro.