During the Milano Design Week 8-13 April 2014 at “Temporary Museum for New Design”I was invited to present 8 MINUTES an interactive light installation inspired by the Solar flare phenomena that occurred on the Sun. The artwork is composed by 8 white cubes which represent the minutes that the sun light needs to reach the Earth, and a red one which represents the Sun. It relates the space and the time using the real time data given by the geostationary NOAA satellite GOES-15 which orbits the Earth monitoring the radioactivity of the Sun. When there is a solar explosion, the red cube lights up, due to the NASA and NOAA open data service, with the same intensity of the wavelength of the phenomenon itself. This makes the 8 hung up white cubes light up alternating sequence, in order to create animations of interactive lights. Therefore, a visual link is created between our real world and the sensed time of the light.



I have always been fascinated by space and unpredictable natural events, especially solar flares and space exploration. Thanks to new technologies we are able to see these phenomena directly from the Earth transmuted into high-resolution images, so I decided to create an installation which would revive the same feeling. In 2012 I spent some weeks in Colombia with Alejandro Tamayo that inspired me with his solar flare project.

On July 19, 2012, an eruption occurred on the sun that produced a moderately powerful solar flare and a dazzling magnetic display known as coronal rain. Hot plasma in the corona cooled and condensed along strong magnetic fields in the region. Magnetic fields, are invisible, but the charged plasma is forced to move along the lines, showing up brightly in the extreme ultraviolet wavelength of 304 Angstroms, and outlining the fields as it slowly falls back to the solar surface.

More info about satellite GOES- 15 on NASA website http://www.nasa.gov/mission_pages/GOES-P/science/index.html

NOAA / Space Weather Prediction Centerion Center

SWPC Real-time Monitor Displays show data plots that are created frequently. When viewed through web pages the plots automatically refresh to show the latest data. The plots show 3 days of 5-minute data, except where noted. The full size and smaller image files are also accessible as static filenames.

The GOES X-ray flux plot contains 1 minute averages of solar X-rays in the 1-8 Angstrom (0.1-0.8 nm) and 0.5-4.0 Angstrom (0.05-0.4 nm) passbands. Data from the SWPC Primary GOES X-ray satellite is shown. As of Feb 2008, no Secondary GOES X-ray satellite data is available. Some data dropouts will occur during satellite eclipses.

During the spring and fall, GOES satellites experience eclipses in which the Earth or moon blocks the X-ray instruments view to the sun for a short period every day. Eclipse season lasts for about 45 to 60 days and ranges from minutes to just over an hour. At these times there is a gap in the XRS signal shown.

Other plots of interest: 3-day GOES 5-min X-rays; SWPC Real-time Monitors.

SWPC X-ray alerts are issued at the M5 (5x10E-5 Watts/m2) level, based upon 1-minute data. Large X-ray bursts cause short wave fades for HF propagation paths through the sunlit hemisphere. Some large flares are accompanied by strong solar radio bursts that may interfere with satellite downlinks.

This image updates dynamically every minute.


My first test was made with Arduino UNO + Arduino DMX Shield and some DMX RGB led sending dmx datas through serial port.

Later, for my case I found Arduino’s way too slow as DMX over serial was often corrupt and I lost some data. Finally I decide to switch to PIXEL PUSHER ,  a 32-bit ARM Cortex-M3 processor running at 96 MHz



The Von Tesla audio was developed considering the averages of solar X-rays in the 1-8 Angstrom (0.1-0.8 nm) and 0.5-4.0 Angstrom (0.05-0.4 nm) passbands. Every Solar burst sound correspond to a color palette animation.



The Project was developed with the super cool PIXEL PUSHERwww.heroicrobotics.com/products/pixelpusher ) and with the support of

Jas Strong ( Pixel Pusher – Heroic Robotics Hardware and software support )

Luca Marchetti ( Late night coding )

Pindo Style ( Polietilene Material )

Giovanni Antignano TACTILE JAPAN ( Stripes led RGB addressable forniture  )

Knowledge and Credits: : Alejandro Tamajo, Iván López, Luca Marchetti, Jas Strong

Special thanks: Cristiano Lastrucci, Giulio Todini , Alessandra Guida, Pedro Gennai, Matteo Parenti, Paolo and Andrea Baldassare, Mirko Pelosini, Andrea Masini, Mauro Ferrario, Andrew Quinn, Alessandro Bianco.

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