"Satellites See Wisconsin" Exhibit Touches Down at Dane County Airport


Walking through the Dane County Airport over two years ago, Steve Ackerman, Director of the Cooperative Institute for Meteorological Satellite Studies (CIMSS), noticed a gallery of images decorating the concourse and realized the airport presented the perfect venue to display the past, present, and future of satellite technology. He envisioned a comprehensive exhibit illustrating the scientific value of satellite studies as well as the stunning beauty of its images. Satellite studies of our planet's climate were pioneered at the UW-Madison and continues at both CIMSS and the Space Science and Engineering Center (SSEC).

Steve met with Paula Panczenko, who is both the Director of Tandem Press and the Curator of the Art Court at the airport. Several months and a Baldwin Grant later, they put the show on the road. Images from SSEC and the UW Department of Forest Ecology were tweaked, enlarged, printed, mounted, captioned, and finally arranged to their best advantage in five large glass cases at the airport. In addition to the stunning satellite images of Wisconsin in all seasons and several different bands of EM radiation, a magnificent enclosure of towering tapestries presented SSEC's 3D animated globe. In a central postion of honor the full-scale model of the Explorer 7 satellite anchors the exhibit.


Tandem Press provided essential expertise in setting up this exhibit, including specialists to create the brochure and the spectacular drapes of the Globe enclosure as well as a critical "eye" for the images that would be included. Steve chaired the Curatorial Committee and made sure the exhibition reflected his original concept.

Jean Phillips and the Library Staff created a beautiful historical timeline that can be found teamed with the Online Weather Looper (OWL) display as well as with the magnificent Four Seasons tetraptych. Bill Bellon, John Lalande and Dan Pasowicz developed a new version of the OWL and an interactive web site. Rick Kohrs made it possible to bring the Globe out to the airport. Leanne Avila wrote the text for the brochure, and Maria Vasys printed (and reprinted) the images selected.

Sam Batzli not only provided numerous Landsat images, but created the panels explaining satellite orbits and how the 3-D images were created from the Space Shuttle. Liam Gumley reprocessed MODIS images to improve the resolution. Many people at SSEC worked long hours to create an exhibit that is visually stunning and draws the public into learning more about the satellites we use.

A UW press release provides more information, as does this gallery of photographs of the installation and opening night. The College of Letters and Science News and Notes covers the exhibit as well.

In addition to being spectacular, the exhibit is free and open to the public. The exhibit will remain at the Airport through September. Don't miss it.

3d display


Last Updated:
February 15, 2011
SSEC, 1225 W. Dayton Street, Madison, WI 53706, USA
For questions or problems about this page, please contact
SSEC Webmaster