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Star Trek in Monterey.

Star Trek in Monterey

The technical magic behind cinematicspecial effects can be as fascinating as the films they enhance. A new exhibit at the Monterey Bay Aquarium offers outsiders a peek at what went into some of the special effects used in Star Trek IV, some of which was filmed here. Also of interest: a thematic art gallery and a display that shows how fish "school.'

The Star Trek IV exhibit runs throughMarch 1 and marks the first time Lucas-films' Industrial Light and Magic (noted for special effects in Star Wars films) has put its secrets on display.

This exhibit shows how two humpbackwhales were "created' and then filmed. You can touch life-size models of the whales' knobby heads, view the movements of two radio-controlled scale-model humpbacks, feel the lifelike skin. Paintings show how backgrounds were contrived, and you'll see a model of the Golden Gate Bridge with a spaceship flying beneath. A short video gives a behind-the-scenes look at the actual filming.

Nearby is a new display, a round tankfilled with flashing northern anchovies. It demonstrates "schooling'--how fish use sight and pressure waves from their neighbors to anticipate the group's next move. Notice how the anchovies' counter-shaded bodies, dark on top and light underneath, might fool predators.

Take a minute to stroll through the galleryof contemporary art, a changing display of art relating to marine subjects. This month the subject under review is scanning electron micrography, which creates very highly magnified pictures.

The aquarium is open 10 to 6 daily. Admissionis $7 for adults, $3 for ages 3 through 12, $5 for students and seniors. Don't worry about parking and crowds: the aquarium isn't as jammed as it was when it first opened.

Photo: Eye to eye at Monterey Bay Aquarium:they'll learn how fiberglass whale came to "life' for movie Star Trek IV
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Title Annotation:Monterey Bay Aquarium, Monterey, California
Date:Feb 1, 1987
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