Koshland Science Museum's Online Interactive Sheds New Light on World Trends

Media Contact: Museum Communications Officer, Koshland Science Museum
Phone: 202-334-1201, Email: Museum Communications Officer

Maureen O'Leary, Office of News and Public Information, The National Academies
202-334-2138, Email: Maureen O'Leary

October 15, 2008Washington, DC –The Marian Koshland Science Museum has launched an online, interactive exhibit that reveals fascinating stories about the world by allowing people to view changes in energy use around the world. The display, “Lights at Night,” provides a navigable, astronaut’s-eye view of the Earth at night using satellite data that spans a decade. Comparing the differences in energy use over time can starkly illustrate trends about people’s economic, political, and living situations in many different regions of the world.

”Lights at Night” has long been one of the Koshland’s most popular exhibits,” said Patrice Legro, director of the museum. “By making it available online, we hope many more people will use this interactive to view changes in their own regions of the country, as well as investigate what is happening over time in other parts of the world.”

Created with satellite data from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, “Lights at Night” allows users to zoom in on one particular region of the world or view the entire Earth to see energy use in each of three different years; 1993, 1997, and 2003. Several features allow for comparisons between specific years. For example, viewers who hone in on Northern India can see how energy use has increased as the area’s population and economic fortune has grown. Viewing the stark differences between light use in North Korea and South Korea tells a different story about poverty and economic prosperity in the two countries. In addition, users can even spot such details as the lights from fishing vessels off the coast of Asia.

“Lights at Night” can be found at the museum's website, along with interactive versions of the Koshland’s other exhibits. The Marian Koshland Science Museum explores the complexities of science and brings current scientific issues to life for the general public through interactive, dynamic exhibits based on reports by the National Academies. Located on 6th and E Sts., NW, the museum is easily accessible by metro at the Gallery Place/Chinatown and Judiciary Square stops. Hours are 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. daily except Tuesdays. For more information, visit the museum's website.