Touch a tornado

What does a tornado look like up close and personal? Well, most of us really don't want to have a personal experience with such a force of nature just to satisfy our curiosity. A mist vortex is a safe way to get up close to and even touch a vortex. In this exhibit water vapor is released from a tank at the bottom and a fan at the top of the exhibit swirls the air and vapor into a vortex. The six posts on the exhibit all have tiny air vents that blow air in a single direction that helps to corral the water vapor and keep it turning in a tornado-like vortex.

Originally designed at the Exploratorium during an artist in residence program, mist vortexes have become a great way to show science center guests how a tornado looks up close. Our mist vortex is located on the second floor of MOSI's main building in the Disasterville exhibit Tornado section. MOSI's Disasterville exhibit also educates guests about floor, hurricanes, tsunami, wildfire, earthquake, lighting, volcano, hail and other forces of nature with awesome destructive power. To know how these disasters work helps people to prepare plans for what do do if a natural disaster ever touches their lives.

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