UCLan students shine on new project

The University of Central Lancashire (UCLan) got closer to the Sun than they’ve ever been before.

Last week, passers-by saw spectacular close-up images of the Sun projected onto one of UCLan’s giant solar trackers; images that are equivalent to ten times the quality of high definition television and which are being continuously beamed to UCLan by NASA’s Solar Dynamics Observatory (SDO).

The event showcased a double first for the University: UCLan is the only UK institution to be collaborating closely with NASA and its international partners to investigate, store, manage and ultimately share the images with the European scientific and academic community. UCLan was also the first UK University to install solar trackers during 2009 that rotate and follow the motion of the Sun.

Tripping the light fantastic on this unique event, the Sunbeam Digital Projection Project, will be digital artist Chris Meigh-Andrews, Professor of Electronic and Digital Art at UCLan and the University’s Reader in Solar Physics at the Jeremiah Horrocks Institute, Dr Robert Walsh.

Professor Meigh-Andrews said: “The solar image projection will bring together a number of my interests and concerns as an artist as much of my art work features the harnessing of renewable energy systems - both within the gallery and at outdoor locations. Another important strand to my work relates to the transformation and flow of energy-light, electrical signals, information, thoughts and ideas.

“In this project the Sun is both the energy source and the subject of the image. It is being used to highlight the numerous strands of significant research that take place at the University in science, technology and art and the ways in which they interact, support and complement each other.”