Lighting of Spaceship Earth

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Lighting of Spaceship Earth

Postby century3 » Sat Feb 04, 2012 12:19 am UTC

Hi everyone! New here, but had a strange light physics question that my roommate and I decided best belongs here.

For those of you who haven't had the pleasure of going to Epcot at Walt Disney World, this is Spaceship Earth:

And, for what is more important to this question, this is Spaceship Earth at night:

Here's the dilemma: the top of Spaceship Earth is the highest point in the park at about 180 feet. The second highest point is probably the American Adventure pavilion across the World Showcase lagoon, at about 70 feet tall, max. There are no cranes or lighting structures that are taller at any point in or around the park - I've seen most of the backstage areas, having worked there, and can attest to that myself.

Yet Spaceship Earth has a blue/purple glow that reaches to the top.

So the question is, how do you top-light something without a taller structure? My roommate and I pondered and came to the conclusion that it was either space mirrors or magnets, and we're leaning towards magnets. Because it's always magnets. But, does anyone else have a better, more plausible explanation? I know Disney magic is powerful but I don't think even they can defeat physics...

Any help is appreciated. :)

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Re: Lighting of Spaceship Earth

Postby Gigano » Sat Feb 04, 2012 6:10 pm UTC

Probably because it's spherical you can illuminate the top with lights on the ground that are further away from the sphere and pointed at an angle. The actual top of the sphere no-one can see from the ground, so you need not illuminate it.
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Re: Lighting of Spaceship Earth

Postby legend » Sat Feb 04, 2012 6:30 pm UTC

From the shadows in the picture it looks as if the light was coming from below. So I'd definitely go with "the parts of the sphere that can be seen from the ground can also be illuminated from the ground" arument.

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Re: Lighting of Spaceship Earth

Postby eSOANEM » Sat Feb 04, 2012 10:58 pm UTC

Are you sure the lighting's external? If the surface was translucent then during the daytime it could appear opaque as the interior would be much darker than the outside whilst at night, the inside could easily be lit to be much brighter than the outside as so appear to be evenly lit.
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