Beautiful and Fascinating Rainbows

Many people love seeing a rainbow when it occurs. Rainbows are not only beautiful and fantastic displays of the master artist’s art work, they are fascinating, too. Many people don’t stop to think about the wonder behind rainbows when they see one, so it can be interesting to look at a few facts about them. * Rainbows are most often seen during or just after a rainfall, when there are a lot of tiny water droplets in the air. However, rainbows can also appear in fog, clouds or when there are crystals of ice in the air. Both water and sunlight are needed to make a rainbow, though, regardless of the state of the water. * In order for a rainbow to be seen, sunlight must be refracted by almost exactly 42 degrees to the eyes of the observer. The water or ice crystals act as billions of tiny prisms to refract the light, but it still needs to be 42 degrees of refraction. If the angle is too great or too small, no rainbow is seen, even if the other conditions are perfect for one. Additionally, to see a rainbow, the sun must be behind you and the water droplets or ice crystals need to be in front of you. * Since the rainbow is made from the refraction of light off of droplets of water or ice at a distance, two different people standing side by side won’t see exactly the same rainbow. They will each have a Continue Reading →

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Why days are longer and hotter in the summer

When people hear the word ‘science’, they sometimes moan. Science doesn’t need to be boring or over your head, though. It can be interesting. For instance, do you know why the days are longer and hotter in the summertime? If your first impulse is to say that it is because the earth is closer to the sun in the summer, you wouldn’t be alone. A lot of people think that, but it is wrong. In fact, in the northern hemisphere, the earth is actually farther away from the sun during the summer than it is any other time of the year. Also, if it was because of the distance from the sun, places on the equator would have a very noticeable variation in temperatures, during various times of the year. Yet, the closer to the equator a location is, the less variation in length of day or heat. Why? It is for the same reason; the tilt of the earth. The earth isn’t straight up and down as it revolves around the sun. It is tilted at an angle of about 23.5 degrees. Because of this, the only place on earth that faces the sun all the time is right around the equator. On the equator, the light of the sun, and the heat from the sun, comes in directly. The length of the night and the day are also the same. If you draw a line around an orange, tilt is by about 23 degrees and then revolve the orange Continue Reading →

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A Simple Explanation About Air Pressure

Recently, Global Warming advocates issued a totally absurd statement in a vain attempt to explain abnormally cold temperatures experienced in many places around the world, especially in the Eastern United States, in February, 2016. The global warming computer models don’t predict this and in fact predict the opposite. To try to salvage the theory that has been so well disproved already, they stated that the abrupt cold was caused by a polar vortex of high pressure that had broken off a huge high pressure ridge over the north pole. I have little doubt that many of them believe what they said and don’t even realize how absurd the statement is. Clearly, they don’t know a lot about science or weather, but don’t seem to know that they don’t know and are making no attempt to edify themselves. Let me explain in terms that are as simple as I can make them. Air pressure Air pressure is the total weight of a column of air, measured from a given point (usually sea level). This is the weight of all the air in the column; in other words how much the billions upon billions of air molecules in the column weigh. When air gets warmer, it expands so that fewer molecules occupy the column of air. If the air is relatively warm and covers a large area, it is then a ‘low pressure’ ridge. If the air gets cold, the molecules don’t move as much and the air contracts, becoming denser. Thus, Continue Reading →

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A Closer Look at Comets

For thousands of years, one of the most fascinating objects observable in the night sky, and sometimes even in the daytime, has been comets. They have been believed to be the harbingers of disasters and signs of good luck. Regardless of how they’ve been perceived, they have been around far longer than man has been around to observe them. Comets still have a lot of mystery surrounding them, but the knowledge about them steadily grows. We do know that many of them orbit the sun, usually in eccentric ellipses. Some of them pass well closer to the sun than the orbit of Mercury, and many do not follow the line of the ecliptic, or the general plane on which the planets orbit the sun. As comets get closer to the sun, they produce tails from out gassing of frozen gas and dust. The tails can extend millions of miles from the core of the comet, called the Coma. An interesting to note fact is that because of the solar wind, or highly energized particles produced and ejected by the sun, and which flow into space, the tail of a comet always points away from the sun. This means that after it swings around the sun, the comet actually follows its tail. Comets can be short period or long period. Short period comets are those that make a complete orbit around the sun in a short period of time, though this is relative. The shortest period comet known is Enke, which Continue Reading →

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Understanding the Misunderstood Law of Averages

A lot of people don’t really understand the law of averages that govern the amount of chance something has to occur. For instance, an earthquake with a magnitude of 8.0 or above happens about every 10 years. The law of averages then states that from 2015 to 2025, there will probably be an earthquake of 8.0 or above. It sounds simple and it is. An advanced degree in mathematics is definitely not required. The problem is that people often try to apply the law of averages in ways that have nothing to do with the law of averages. For example, the powerball lottery is up to $900 million and there have been people who’ve said that they have been playing the lotto for years without winning, so they are definitely going to buy tickets, because “the law of averages says that I’m more likely to win, this time.” That isn’t at all what the law of averages says. The law of averages just indicates that sooner or later, someone is probably going to win the lotto. It doesn’t say any more than that. To put it another way that might be more understandable, suppose that you flip a coin ten times and all ten times, it lands heads up. Assuming that each coin toss has a 50 percent chance of landing heads up (this needs to be stated because with most coins, there is a slightly greater chance of the coin landing heads down), what do you suppose that the law Continue Reading →

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Some Interesting Facts About Volcanoes

Our world is quite seismically and volcanically active. There are volcanoes located on every continent in the world and a great number of them are active. Scientists know a great deal about them, though they are still a long way from being able to accurately predict when one will erupt. At any given minute, there is an average of 11-13 volcanoes erupting somewhere on the earth. You may have never heard about the majority of the volcanoes for two main reasons. First, the world is a vast place. We tend to get so used to the areas where we live that we often have trouble fully appreciating just how huge this world is. The second reason is that a large number of the volcanic eruptions occur under the surface of the ocean, where they aren’t normally seen until they break the surface. At times, the under water volcanoes can still cause enormous devastation, though. One such occurrence was an eruption of Krakatoa. This mountain rose out of the sea in Indonesia, so it wasn’t actually under water, but it is notable partly because when the Krakatoa blew itself to bits, it shifted a huge amount of ocean water. This created an enormous wave or tsunami that swept over islands in the area, carrying whole villages away. When the mountain exploded, it created another kind of wave, too. The other wave was a sound wave. This wasn’t destructive, but it gives an idea of the power of a major volcanic eruption. Continue Reading →

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