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A Closer Look at MAPS!

Hello Global Grade 3,

I'll start by repeating the wonderful quote from Henry Miller at the beginning of you post...

The moment one gives close attention to any thing, even a blade of grass it becomes a mysterious, awesome, indescribably magnificent world in itself. 

~Henry Miller

I saw your post entitled "The Power of Observation and Wonder" and found it very interesting to read. I was going to write a reply because, as the previous Global Grade 3 class knows, I am interested in many things including stones but I have been very busy filming and making DVDs for schools. However, your "A Closer Look at MAPS!" post again caught my attention so I thought I'd write a short post about maps.

I have seen many types of maps including the types you have studied. Perhaps my favourite modern maps are the types I used as a Scout. I would say, "Give me a good map and a compass and I can usually find my way around."

I have scanned an old topographical map I used in the 1970s. It was measured in miles and feet but we were changing over to kilometres and metres around then. Have a look at the map. Click on it to see it larger...

This is a scanned section of Central Mapping Authority of N.S.W. topographical map printed in 1970. I do not hold copyright over this image.

This is a scanned section of Central Mapping Authority of N.S.W. topographical map printed in 1970. I do not hold copyright over this image.

The map has a great deal of information. I can see red lines showing roads. Some roads are shown as white with red dashes to show they are dirt roads. There are thick black lines with small, double dashes along them to show a railway line. Blues lines show rivers and creeks. We can easily see Blackheath is a town but there are large areas without streets and those areas interest me as I have explored those areas.

Can you see the brown wriggly lines on the map?

The brown lines are contour lines. They show heights. Each line shows a height of 50 feet more or less than the next. Some of the lines have numbers such as 3200.  The 3200 tells me at that place the land is 3200 feet above sea level. Looking at the numbers and the lines can tell me if I will be going up or down when hiking. Let's look closer at a section of the map...

This is a scanned section of Central Mapping Authority of N.S.W. topographical map printed in 1970. I do not hold copyright over this image.

This is a scanned section of Central Mapping Authority of N.S.W. topographical map printed in 1970. I do not hold copyright over this image.

I have added the red numbers to help students find specific points.

See the black, single dashed lines?

They are walking tracks I have followed. I have walked down from number 1 to 3 and up from 3 to 2.

1 - The beginning of the track is about 3250 feet above sea level.

2 - The end of the dirt road is about 3200 feet above sea level

3 - Beachamp Falls is about 2650 feet above sea level.

The map shows me if I walk down from 1 to 3, I will drop 600 feet. If I then walk up to 2, I will go up 550 feet. Because the brown lines are close together, I know the track will be steep in places.

Do you notice one section is named Grand Canyon?

It's not even close to the size of the Grand Canyon in U.S.A. but it is steep sided.

Let's look at some photos I had taken around 1980 in the Grand Canyon and at Beauchamp Falls.

Starting down the steep track from 1.

Schools and students have permission to use this graphic for non-commercial, educational purposes.

Schools and students have permission to use this graphic for non-commercial, educational purposes.

We pass through a small tunnel and behind waterfalls.

Schools and students have permission to use this graphic for non-commercial, educational purposes.

Schools and students have permission to use this graphic for non-commercial, educational purposes.

Deep down in the Grand Canyon.

Schools and students have permission to use this graphic for non-commercial, educational purposes.

Schools and students have permission to use this graphic for non-commercial, educational purposes.

Until we reach Beauchamp Falls at 3.

Schools and students have permission to use this graphic for non-commercial, educational purposes.

Schools and students have permission to use this graphic for non-commercial, educational purposes.

And now for two photos for your "The Power of Observation and Wonder" post. The photos show rocks that caught my eye but were left in place. They were in a national park so we are not allowed to take them. They were also far too big to carry.

The first shows a large sandstone rock.

Can you see the black mark?

It is the remains of a tree trunk buried under sand millions of years ago but now exposed after a rock fall. It is a fossil record of the tree.

Schools and students have permission to use this graphic for non-commercial, educational purposes.

Schools and students have permission to use this graphic for non-commercial, educational purposes.

The second shows an even larger sandstone rock.

Do you notice the ripples on it?

Millions of years ago sand was rippled by flowing water. A thin layer of mud covered the ripples and in time left a fossil record of water running over sand.

Schools and students have permission to use this graphic for non-commercial, educational purposes.

Schools and students have permission to use this graphic for non-commercial, educational purposes.

What is even more amazing is this sandstone was sand under the sea millions of years ago but it is now lying 2650 feet above sea level. These rocks of sandstone certainly caught my eye and the eyes of the children I had taken there as we thought of their long history.

When we then walk the 550 feet in height (but much longer along  track) back up to 2, this is what we see when looking north.

Schools and students have permission to use this graphic for non-commercial, educational purposes.

Schools and students have permission to use this graphic for non-commercial, educational purposes.

...and now your interesting questions...

How long does it take to study a place and then make the map?

For early map makers, they might have to walk, ride or travel by ship in order to make maps so it could take a long time to make a map.

Back in August 1768, Captain James Cook set sail from England. He was taking scientists to Tahiti to observe Venus crossing the Sun. Once the scentists had finished their observations, Cook's orders were to sail south to find Terra Australis Incognita, the unknown southern land, some people thought must exist.

In September, 1769 he reached New Zealand and set about mapping its islands.

In April 1770, he reached a land he named New South Wales. It was really the east coast of Australia. He sailed north along the coast mapping as he went. Cook and his ship didn't return to England until 12th July, 1771. It had taken him and his crew three years to make the journey and return with the maps he had made.

Schools and students have permission to use this graphic for non-commercial, educational purposes.

Schools and students have permission to use this graphic for non-commercial, educational purposes.

Today, with satellites, GPS and Google Earth, we can map the world from our own homes.

How many different kinds of maps are there?

Interesting question and makes me wonder what a map might be. We know most types but is a plan for a house a map? Is a design for a new machine a map? They also show where things are.

Are there maps about SPACE?

Now this is complicated. In your post , you noticed the maps you saw were two dimensional flat maps. In order to find a place on a map, you needed to know how far up or down and side to side a place is.

To accurately map space, we would need a three dimensional map and it would have to be huge because space is huge. Using computer models, there are space maps. Here is a link to a 3D space map animation representing 400,000 galaxies. Remember our Sun is just one star amongst possibly hundreds of billions in just one of those galaxies.

Amazing Universe Fly-Through

How do pilots use maps?

Have a look at this aviator's map. It's how a pilot might plot a course using information on their computer.

SkyVector Areonautical Maps

Of course, pilots in early days didn't have computers. They would look down to the ground and possibly follow roads or railways to their destination or they might use a compass so an old fashioned paper might might have helped.

Do we have maps for EVERYTHING?

WOW! Maps of everything? Even on our own Earth there are places no one has ever been so, for example, there are no accurate maps for some of the deepest places in our oceans. What about other planets, stars, galaxies? We may not have maps for everything but we do have maps of very many things but there is still so much more waiting for someone like you to map.

What jobs need maps?

Cartographers (map makers), pilots, sailors, explorers, delivery drivers, police, ambulance, fire fighters, tow truck drivers...   There would be so many jobs where we might need maps at some time.

How old is the OLDEST map?

A link if you want to see old maps....   Early World Maps

Look at these three maps...

These maps were sourced through Wikimedia Commons where they are listed as in the public domain.

These maps were sourced through Wikimedia Commons where they are listed as in the public domain.

The first shows the world as known by the Greeks perhaps 3000 years ago. It shows the Mediterranean Sea.

The 500 BC map from around 2500 years ago shows the Red Sea and the opening into the Atlantic Ocean.

By 150 AD Europe, parts of Africa, and Asia has appeared on the maps. Notice Terra Incognita at the bottom right of the map. It's what Captain Cook was sent to find or show wasn't there.

How many countries are there in the world?

Interesting... The United Nations has 193 countries as members. My blog has had visits from 193 countries and I have seen 196 listed as the number of independent countries in the world. Here is a link for you...

The Number of Countries in the World

Do maps ever change? (This one brought up some VERY interesting conversations around Bombay, Calgary, Nunavut and the NEW islands that VOLCANOES create!!!)

Maps have to change when what has been mapped changes.

Yes, volcanoes can create new islands.

1996 Hawaii Lava flow 01

You know about the big island of Hawaii. Did you know deep under the ocean around 30 kilometres south of The Big Ilsand there is a new volcano rising around 10,000 feet from the ocean floor with only about 3100 feet before it reaches the surface? If in the future it does break the surface, Hawaii will have a new Island.

The islands of Hawaii were formed in this way and will eventually erode into the ocean as many have already done over millions of years. Look at the Google Earth image below. The Hawaiian Islands are in the middle at the bottom. Look carefully and you can seen now submerged volcanoes moving off to the left  as you go north. They may once have been islands as is Hawaii.

Volcanic hotspots

When we have changes in the level of the sea, land also changes. In times of ice ages, sea levels can be much lower and expose more land. When the first people came to Australia around 30,000 years ago, they were able to walk from New Guinea into Australia and cross to Tasmania by land. Now you would need boats.

The opposite happens when sea levels rise. Some islands in our oceans are now underwater but were once above. It worries island nations in the Pacific and Indian Oceans.

Another country I find interesting is the Netherlands (Holland). Over generations, they have taken back land from the sea using dykes and sea walls. In the news recently there have been stories of islands being built by the Chinese government in the South China Sea.

And in your own part of the world, when new suburbs, roads, streets, airports, railways, etc are built, maps need to change.

Do maps ever change? They have to if they need to be accurate.

I'll end with a quote, not from some famous philosopher or writer but from a character in the movie, "Superman", released in 1978...

“Some people can read War and Peace and come away thinking it’s a simple adventure story. Others can read the ingredients on a chewing gum wrapper and unlock the secrets of the universe.” – Lex Luthor

Both your quote at the beginning and this at the end tell me the key to learning is to keep our minds and senses open to all around us for, if we do, we will begin to see our world and those beyond as containing mysterious, awesome and magnificent opportunites just waiting to be discovered.

OH DEAR!

At the beginning I said I'd write a short post about maps. I do get carried away when I see something as interesting as your posts. 🙂

Hello Keira,

I have been looking at your comments and hope I can provide some answers to your questions. Remember, as your questions delve deeper into a subject, the answers can be more difficult to understand but this is what learning is about.  As we learn and understand simpler things, it can be easy to learn harder things. I am still learning as I search for answers. See what you can understand in the answers I try to give. What you have asked will appear in bold blue text.

Your comment from the beginning of March on the post…

Life But Not As We Know It

This NASA image was listed as in the public domain and was sourced through Wikimedia Commons.

This NASA image was listed as in the public domain and was sourced through Wikimedia Commons.

In my personal opinion, I think that Mars was once a beautiful planet, and there was life on this beauty. Since Mars did not have a very protective ‘umbrella’, Mars’ ‘umbrella’ shrank. Overtime, Mars got closer to the sun, burned, and sent life over to Earth, right past its ‘umbrella’. As Earth evolved, Mars lost its magnificent atmosphere, and moved behind Earth. Mars soon lost everything it once had owned, life and beauty. Now taking Mars’ place is Earth. As you may know, I have a plethora of questions to ask you. Do you think my idea may be possible?

Science doesn’t tend to talk much of the impossible and prefers the word improbable. To be impossible means there is absolutely no chance of something happening no matter what might change. Improbable means it’s not very likely so if something is improbable it can happen but it is far more likely it won’t. Based on what we know at this time, your idea comes under the improbable in some parts and probable (likely) in other parts.

Look at the video clip below from NASA. It is an animator’s view of the evolution of Mars based on the information NASA has. The journey starts about 4 billion years ago and shows a water planet up till today as we know it to be. Do you think it would have been beautiful? I know it still has a beauty today but not as a water world such as ours.

“Mars was once a beautiful planet” – I think this is probable if you mean having rivers, lakes and seas but improbable if you think it had trees and large animals moving through them. Life would have been simple if it had evolved. I think there is a good chance we will eventually show life existed on Mars and may still be in the soil in some areas.

Watch the video clip below looking at NASA’s findings on Mars. It shows us Mars probably had the right conditions for life to begin. With a proposed mission in 2020, we might be able to show Mars had life.

There is evidence Mars once had liquid water on its surface but the thin atmosphere can’t keep heat in as on our planet. The average temperature of Mars is around    -60C. With water freezing at 0C, liquid water isn’t likely. However, at Mars’s equator, summer daytime temperatures can reach 20C only to drop to -70C at night. While 20C is enough for water to be liquid on Earth, I think the thin atmosphere would only allow ice to turn to water vapour and not liquid on Mars.

Yes, Mars also has seasons because it is tilted only slightly more than Earth, You might remember a post about Earth’s tilt I wrote for your class, Earth’s Tilted Seasons.

Here is another video clip looking at Earth’s magnetosphere (umbrella) and the discovery of the outer and inner core. Mars doesn’t seem to have a molten outer core and solid inner core to create the magnetic field to protect it as we have on Earth.

Mars did not have a very protective “umbrella” – Mars probably had an “umbrella” (or magnetosphere) and much thicker atmosphere in its beginning but, as the core cooled, it lost much of it starting perhaps 4 billion years ago. Without the protection of a strong magnetic field, energy from the sun made Mars lose most of its atmosphere. Remember, it’s because of Earth’s liquid and solid iron core we have the magnetosphere (umbrella) to protect us.

As Earth evolved, Mars lost its magnificent atmosphere, and moved behind Earth. -  Earth and Mars would probably have formed at around the same time. Our sun was probably formed when a molecular (atoms of matter) “cloud” collapsed through gravity. Not all of the “cloud” was used in making up the sun. The matter remaining in what is known as the accretion disk started coming together under gravity. Much of this extra matter became the planets.

Formation of the Solar System

Earth Formation

Have you ever encountered someone who has an idea of how Mars lost its beauty that you think is true?

While I have not personally met a scientist who can say what had happened, there are a number of references and videos online to help us. As with all information on the internet, it’s best to use reliable sources such as NASA when looking for information. In sharing the video links I have given you, I first check links to see if they’re from a source I trust. I also find many with sometimes strange ideas from sources I don’t know. I usually don’t use these unless I have reason to believe they are accurate.

Do you think there could have been life on other planets, too?

In the video clip below from National Geographic, it asks what aliens might really look like. No one has proof of life other than on Earth at the moment so we don’t really know what life on other planets might look like. We may only have an idea of what might be needed. The clip shows on higher gravity planets, animals would need to be stronger and stockier (bigger) than on Earth or probably spindlier (thin looking) on a planet with less gravity. Some planets might only have life like the bacteria we have here. Until we find extraterrestrial (not of Earth) life, we can only guess.

While we have no proof at this time life exists on any planet other than Earth in our Solar System, I suspect life may be in many places across the universe in some form or other. We know life on Earth can exist in a very wide range of habitats (environments where life exists). Life can be found deep under sea near volcanic vents or locked in ice on mountains.

I have seen estimates of the number of galaxies in our universe being anything from 100 billion to 500 billion. For our galaxy, the Milky Way, the number of planets might be anything from 100 to 400 billion. If we take the lower estimates for galaxies and using the low estimate for planets in our galaxy to work out how many planets there might be in the universe, we would get…

100 billion (galaxies) x 100 billion planets = 10 hextillion planets

That is…

10,000,000,000,000,000,000,000 planets in our universe

What a waste of space it would be if the only life in the universe was to be found on our small, blue planet.

Where do you get all these facts?

When I see posts or questions I find interesting, I sometimes remember information I have read or seen in the past. If I decide to write a post, I usually have to search for extra information online or in books in my library. I try not to post anything unless I believe the information I find is the best available in my research. Because of this, I sometimes have to make changes to posts if I later find I have made mistakes.

The skill is to know how to find information, work out whether it might be true then use it to help others.

Your comment from March 26 on the post…

How Did the Earth Begin?

First of all, I am wondering why early scientists thought that the sun and every other planets orbited around us?

When we look up at night, we can see the stars. Watch long enough and you notice them move. During the day, the sun rises in the east and sets in the west. Surely the sun, planets and stars must orbit the Earth because we see them move and not us. This was the thinking and it can seem reasonable. It's what we seem to see.

Schools and students have permission to use this graphic for non-commercial, educational purposes.

Schools and students have permission to use this graphic for non-commercial, educational purposes.

Consider this, you are on a speeding train looking out of a window. The landscape is zipping past your window very quickly. Is it the landscape moving or the train moving through it? While saying the train is moving might seem reasonable, surely this couldn't be true for the Earth? The Earth is so big compared to the small stars and planets in the sky. The Earth must be still and everything else in motion.

As early as the 3rd century BCE, a man named Aristarchus suggested the sun was the centre of the solar system but it wasn’t until the work of a man called Nicolaus Copernicus in the early 1500s a sun-centred (heliocentric model) solar system began to be accepted. It was also around this time the first telescopes seem have made an appearance. Astronomy had its start in astrology but started to emerge as science with telescopes allowing better study.

Optical Telescope dome at Warrumbungles National Park 

Schools and students have permission to use this graphic for non-commercial, educational purposes.

Schools and students have permission to use this graphic for non-commercial, educational purposes.

If they had had technology back then, would they still have thought that everything orbited around us?

There are still many people today who believe the Earth is at the centre of the universe (geocentric model). They believe it is fixed in place and doesn’t rotate on its axis. The more modern model has the Moon orbiting Earth. Further out the Sun orbits Earth while the other planets and their moons orbit the sun. The other stars and galaxies we see are all further out forming a sphere around central Earth. This comes down more to what I think is misguided faith (believing no matter the evidence against).

I see problems with the idea. As example, if the Earth didn’t rotate on its axis, to have day and night the sun and all of the planets orbiting it would have to orbit the Earth every 24 hours and this is not what we see. Secondly, spacecraft such as the two Voyager missions and missions to Mars were sent out based on known positions of the planets orbiting the sun. If the centre Earth model had been true, the Voyager and Mars missions would have failed.

Another question I have is about how many other galaxies are out there?

I have given information on this above. There are estimates there could be anything from 100 billion to 500 billion galaxies in the universe.

The number of people alive on Earth is heading towards 8 billion. Using the numbers above, there would anywhere from about 12.5 to 62.5 galaxies for every person on Earth. That’s a lot of galaxies.

In the image below sourced from NASA through Wikimedia Commons, there are around 5500 galaxies in view. To make the low estimate for the number of galaxies in the universe (100 billion), you would need to show approximately 18 million photos showing 5500 galaxies.

This NASA image was listed as in the public domain and was sourced through Wikimedia Commons.

This NASA image was listed as in the public domain and was sourced through Wikimedia Commons.

One more question I have is how did those giant stars form in the last video?

Let’s show that video clip again…

I would say it’s all a matter of matter and time.

Stars spend most of their “lives” as what is known as main sequence stars where they are burning hydrogen through something called nuclear fusion. Hydrogen becomes helium. Like any fire, the fuel can run out. As this happens the star’s core gets larger and starts burning helium and fusing it into carbon and oxygen. If the star has enough mass and other features, the star is known as a supergiant star.

The supergiant stars lose mass quickly. Some of these supergiants can be quite bright and losing mass very quickly. They are the hypergiant stars like the one in the video known as VY Canus Majoris. If it was at the centre of our solar system, it would be so big it would reach out beyond Jupiter.

The very large stars have been burning their fuel making new elements. When they get to the stage of making iron then eventually trying to fuse it, the star’s core can collapse and cause what is known as a supernova (a very big explosion of light and matter). What can be left behind could be a black hole (singularity), a neutron star, quark star or a magnetar.

Back in 1987 we were able to see a supernova explosion without using a telescope. A new star seemed to appear where only powerful telescopes might once have seen it. It eventually faded but I remember seeing what looked like a new dot in the night sky. Nova SN 1987A was about 168,000 light years from Earth. What this means is the light I was watching started out from the nova about 168,000 years ago. When we look deeper into space, we are looking back in history. Even the sunlight hitting you in daylight has taken over 8 minutes to reach us.

Look at the clip below. It gives information about SN 1987A and its jouney to supernova…

In the future, VY Canus Majoris will go supernova. What can be interesting is the matter thrown off when it does may be the resources other solar systems need to form.

Also, how did humans know that there are bigger stars than the sun?

Since the beginning of humans, they have been able to see stars in the sky. As knowledge and science has advanced, we have been learning more about the universe.

Optical telescopes brought the moon, planets and stars closer. Radio telescopes picking up the “sound” of space brought us more information. The Hubble telescope orbiting earth allowed us to see even further into space than telescopes on Earth. Computers help us model systems and calculate small changes in orbits of distant stars telling us of orbiting planets. We have learnt so much since the time the first cavemen looked up and saw the stars yet we still know so little. It’s like many things in life, the more we learn the more we realize how little we know.

 Parkes Radio Telescope

Schools and students have permission to use this graphic for non-commercial, educational purposes.

Schools and students have permission to use this graphic for non-commercial, educational purposes.

Finally, do you think that there are larger stars than the last one in the final video in the post?

VY Canus Majoris is listed as the largest known hypergiant star. The important word is “known”. There could be far bigger stars out there somewhere. Perhaps if you become an astronomer you might discover a much larger star somewhere in the universe. What would you call it? It might still be called a hypergiant but it might have some properties making it different to hypergiants and the superhypergiants could be born. I would think such hypermassive stars would not last a long time before going supernova, or would it be hypernova? Science has many mysteries still to explain.

To see Mrs. Yollis and Class's post...

Winter Began Today

Hello Mrs. Yollis and class,

I have had a very busy time over the last couple months but the New Year brings a time when my filming work slows and blogging speeds up so I will hopefully be visiting blogs more often.

Seeing your post reminds me how different our seasons can be. We are having warm to hot and humid days with storms about. Tourist numbers are now at a peak in our town as visitors come to enjoy our region and the beaches. Children are excited because, at the time of writing this comment, Christmas Day is less than 24 hours away and starts for us 19 hours before you. A white Christmas for us would more likely be the hot sunlight reflecting off breaking waves.

What really caught my attention was the following line…

The earth's axis always tips about 23 1/2 degrees from a line perpendicular to its path.

It brought four questions to mind.

1. What do they mean by tilt?

2. Are all of the planets in our Solar System tilted the same?

3. What would the seasons be like if there was no tilt?

4. Why do the planets have the tilts they have?

1. What do they mean by tilt?

The planets rotate on their axis. Seems hard to understand? Maybe you have seen a basketball player start a ball spinning on their fingertip. For this to work, the player must have their fingertip at an axis point. Here’s a short animation I prepared…

Schools and students have permission to use this video clip for non-commercial, educational purposes.

Now, if the player was to walk in a circle around you while spinning the ball, you would be the sun and the ball would be a planet. Imagine if the player could still walk in the circle (orbit) while spinning the ball on his finger at a tilt of 23.4 degrees*.

Schools and students have permission to use this video clip for non-commercial, educational purposes.

This is what is happening to the Earth as it orbits the sun. It is tilted at 23.4 degrees to the circle made (ecliptic).

* The player couldn’t really do this because gravity would make the ball fall.

2. Are all of the planets in our Solar System tilted the same?

After a little Wikipedia research, I thought I would prepare a graphic for you to show the planetary tilts.

Schools and students have permission to use this graphic for non-commercial, educational purposes.

Schools and students have permission to use this graphic for non-commercial, educational purposes.

You might notice all of the planets have different tilts but some have some very interesting tilts.

Mercury has hardly any tilt at all and Jupiter only a small tilt.

Uranus seems to almost be on its side.

Venus seems to be upside down.

3. What would the seasons be like if there was no tilt?

Our seasons only happen because we are tilted as we orbit the sun. In June, the northern hemisphere is tilted towards the sun and has summer while the southern hemisphere has winter. In December, the opposite happens and the southern hemisphere has its summer.

Schools and students have permission to use this graphic for non-commercial, educational purposes.

Schools and students have permission to use this graphic for non-commercial, educational purposes.

When we have a solstice (longest or shortest day), we are most tilted toward the sun (summer solstice) or most tilted away (winter solstice). The tilt hasn’t changed. We are just in different parts of our orbit. The equinoxes (day/night the same) occur in March and September when our tilt doesn’t bring either hemisphere closer.

Imagine, without any tilt as Earth orbited the sun, we wouldn’t have any seasons.

Schools and students have permission to use this graphic for non-commercial, educational purposes.

Schools and students have permission to use this graphic for non-commercial, educational purposes.

In the graphic, the Earth is not tilted in orbit. The equator is always towards the sun and the poles furthest away. The further we go north or south of the equator, the cooler it would become. Daylight and night would always be the same length throughout the year although days would be shorter the further north or south of the equator you were. Weather would be different to what we have now. I wonder if you can think of weather we only have in certain seasons?

4. Why do the planets have the tilts they have?

We don’t really know why the planets are tilted as they are but it is possible early collisions with other pre-planets while our planets were being built may have set them at a tilt. In another post on this blog, I mentioned an early collision happened between two pre-planets. The resulting collision formed our Earth and much of the thrown off material became our moon. In this collision, the Earth may have become tilted as it orbited the sun.

We have a pretty amazing planet with so much to explore and learn. I am grateful we have a tilted planet so we can experience the changing seasons.

5 Comments

Hello Heather and Keira,

Firstly, let me apologise for taking two weeks to reply to your question. It has been a very busy time working on a project for a choir but I now have two weeks before the next project starts so it's time to catch up.

I now have another post for you but it may be challenging to understand some of its content. I have found the more I learn, the more I realise how little I know. Checking ideas and information for you and others when I write a post can often challenge my understanding but its by challenging ourselves to understand we can learn.

 

Schools and students have permission to use this graphic for non-commercial, educational purposes.

Schools and students have permission to use this graphic for non-commercial, educational purposes.

Back on the "How did Earth begin?" post I tried to answer your challenge. Like all good enquiring minds, one idea can lead to another so, in the comments section, you added...

 In one of the paragraphs, we noticed that you talked about possible life on Mars. Keira thinks that over time, the sun will come too close to Earth, and Earth might shatter. That might be a possibility. There is one problem though. Martians could have died, but Mars didn’t shatter. Do you think that WE are Martians CHANGED into human?

Our minds can be a very powerful weapon against ignorance when we have curiosity and a will to find answers. This is particularly important for science as it tries to find the answers to questions. As lovers of science, your curiosity can lead you in all sorts of directions. I know mine does as I try to find answers. Let's look at a simple answer...

Do you think that WE are Martians CHANGED into human?

It's possible.

Too quick an answer?

Let's put it this way, I'm not comfortable completely ruling out many ideas. It is possible first life on Earth came from Mars but I don't think it's likely.

Here's some mind blowing maths for you. Just say you shuffled a deck of playing cards and put four down on the table...

Schools and students have permission to use this graphic for non-commercial, educational purposes.

Schools and students have permission to use this graphic for non-commercial, educational purposes.

When you put down the first card, the chances of it being a 7 of Diamonds is 1 in 52 because there is only one 7 of Diamonds in a deck of 52 cards. To then put down a 3 of Clubs, the chances are 1 in 51 because there were 51 cards left.  For the King of Spades, it's one in 50 and, for the 10 of hearts, 1 in 49. So what is the chance of dealing just those four cards in that order from any normal deck of cards...

The chance of dealing those exact cards in that order is only 1 in 6,497,400 ... (52 x 51 x 50 x 49 = 6,497,400). It's not very likely we would get those exact four cards in that order if we shuffled and dealt four cards again but it is possible. Of course, a magician or a card trickster could cheat to get the results over and over but then the cards aren't random.

This type of maths looks at probability, i.e. chances of something happening. If we only have one card and it's the King of Clubs, the chances of dealing a King of Clubs is one in one or 100%. The chances of dealing a 7 of Diamonds is zero in one or 0% because we don't have that card. Can't maths be amazing?

For really mind blowing maths, go to the end of this post where I work out the chances of dealing out all 52 cards in an exact order, at least if I have the maths correct.

Where Did Life On Earth Come From?

I know of two main ideas for the origin of life according to science.

1. The Primordial Soup

This idea suggests billions of years ago, chemicals became concentrated (thicker) in pools of water (the primordial soup). By chance, these chemicals were able to form amino acids (the basis of life including us). In time, they combined to make more complex compounds and eventually life. This process is known as abiogenesis.

The chances of life in this way would be seen as very unlikely but, if this process is correct, it did happen. Look again at the card example in "The REALLY Mind Blowing Maths" at the end of this post. The order of cards I dealt was very unlikely but it did happen.

2. Panspermia

Some theorists suggest life might have evolved elsewhere and was brought to Earth on meteorites (Panspermia). This might be better suited to the idea life on Earth started on Mars. If life had started on Mars, a meteor strike might have thrown Mars rock into space and it may have made it to Earth but, then again, life on Earth and Mars might have come from anywhere in space. Remember, if it was life, it would have been very simple, possibly single cells, not animals like us.

No, if you watch the video clip to the end, I don't believe aliens are experimenting with us. It is possible but very unlikely. 🙂

What does Ross think?

The first idea can explain how life itself could have started, whether here or somewhere else in the universe. The second suggests how life might have made it to many places in the universe. Think of it, life might have started in many places in the universe and been spread to the stars, or at least their planets.

Did Mars Once Have Oceans and Rivers?

One of the important resources for life as we know it is liquid water. There is evidence rivers, lakes and oceans once flowed on Mars but liquid water hasn't been seen on Mars. Much of the water was probably lost to space long ago. There is plenty of evidence water as ice is found at the Martian poles and growing evidence it is to be found in the rocks and soils so life may well exist there waiting to be discovered but don't expect anything like animals running around. It's very unlikely intelligent life ever existed on Mars but is likely life did and/or does exist.

You have questioning minds so I suspect you're wondering, what happened to the Martian oceans and rivers?

Here is a video looking at the way Mars may have lost much of its atmosphere...

You may have understood the idea energy from the sun (the solar wind) caused Mars to lose most of its atmosphere so you might wonder why this didn't happen here on Earth.

Why did Earth keep its thick atmosphere while Mars lost much of its atmosphere?

Let's first look at the photo I prepared for you. It's made by placing a magnet under a piece of paper then sprinkling iron sand over the paper.

 

Schools and students have permission to use this graphic for non-commercial, educational purposes.

Schools and students have permission to use this graphic for non-commercial, educational purposes.

The lines you can see in the sand help us see the magnetic field of the magnet. You can see the lines run from one end to the other of the magnet. The Earth also has a magnetic field because of its rotating iron core in its centre. The iron core helps create a much stronger magnetic field than on Mars. It protects us from much of the solar wind. Think it of a little like an umbrella in the rain.

Schools and students have permission to use this graphic for non-commercial, educational purposes.

Schools and students have permission to use this graphic for non-commercial, educational purposes.

Earth's umbrella (magnetic field) is stronger than that of Mars so we get better protection. Below is a NASA diagram showing the magnetic field of Earth. If Earth's centre cooled and slowed reducing our magnetic field or solar wind became stronger, Earth would also eventually lose much of its atmosphere.

This NASA graphic was sourced through WIkimedia Commons where it is listed as in the public daomain.

This NASA graphic was sourced through WIkimedia Commons where it is listed as in the public domain.

 Keira thinks that over time, the sun will come too close to Earth, and Earth might shatter. That might be a possibility. There is one problem though. Martians could have died, but Mars didn’t shatter.

 Watch this video clip...

In this model of Earth's future, the Earth would eventually be pulled towards the sun and, in a sense, "shatter". Its matter would turn to plasma, a major part of the sun. I have shown Mars didn't lose much of its atmosphere because it shattered, it was lost because it didn't have a strong enough magnetic field to protect it in the way Earth is protected.

I found another video but it is harder for you to understand. It was made by a college student as an assignment looking at the life of the sun. At the stage where our sun becomes a red giant life would no longer be possible on Earth but we are looking billions of years into the future. In this model, it's not so much that the sun comes closer, it grows larger.

What will really happen in the Earth's future? Trying to find answers to what, how and why is the reason science is so interesting. We can observe, gather data, carry out experiments, discuss our ideas with others... When we have enough evidence, we can make an hypothesis (the next step up from an idea). If others find evidence supporting our hypothesis, it can take the next step and become a theory. Theories are the strongest ideas because they have much evidence to support them.

What's my idea about Earth's future? Perhaps when the sun starts threatening life on Earth, someone will press the reset button and the sun will return to a safer stage but that's even less likely than dealing the cards in the exact order below five times in a row. 🙂

The REALLY Mind Blowing Maths

Okay, the card maths at the beginning of this post seems mind blowing but it gave me an idea. If I was to deal out all 52 cards from a shuffled deck...

Schools and students have permission to use this graphic for non-commercial, educational purposes.

Schools and students have permission to use this graphic for non-commercial, educational purposes.

then shuffled the cards and asked you to deal them out in that same exact order, what would the chances be of dealing all 52 cards out one at a time in exact order without cheating or using magician tricks? Here would be the calculation...

Chance of dealing all 52 cards in an exact order = 52 x 51 x 50 x 49 x 48 x 47 x 46 x 45 x 44 x 43 x 42 x 41 x 40 x 39 x 38 x 37 x 36 x 35 x 34 x 33 x 32 x 31 x 30 x 29 x 28 x 27 x 26 x 25 x 24 x 23 x 22 x 21 x 20 x 19 x 18 x 17 x 16 x 15 x 14 x 13 x 12 x 11 x 10 x 9 x 8 x 7 x 6 x 5 x 4 x 3 x 2 x 1

and what answer did I get?

The chances are one in ~80,658,200,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,

000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000.

In maths, the tilda (~) is used to mean approximately (about).

The chances of dealing all 52 cards in an exact order is so small most would think it's impossible but I had done it the first time and, by chance, you might be able to do it but it isn't very likely.   🙂

2 Comments

3/4B, 4T and 3SF visited the Penrith University of Western Sydney Observatory and share their experience in a blog post. They also asked questions and I loved the challenge of trying to answer them. To see their post…

Bloggers of the Week: Our Excursion to the Observatory

To see Part 1 of this comment...

Observing Space, there’s so much of it out there – Part 1

Hello 3/4B, 4T and 3SF,

Here are some possible answers to the second set of questions.

1. How many more years until we have to pack up and move to another planet, because the sun died?

Schools and students have permission to use this graphic for non-commercial, educational purposes.

Schools and students have permission to use this graphic for non-commercial, educational purposes.

Firstly, let's look at how our Earth is thought to have come to be. Heather and Keira from California had challenged me to explain how the Earth had begun. Here is a link to the post I wrote for them if you are interested.

How Did the Earth Begin?

... and here is a link to a Wikipedia post looking at history of the Earth. It is about  Earth from its formation to now.

History of the Earth

Okay, we have an idea how our Earth began but how might it end? As our planet's birth was linked to the formation of our sun, the sun is also involved in its suspected end.

Back in 1987, I was able to look into the night sky and see a "new" star. A star astronomers named SN 1987A had gone supernova. It is about 168,000 light years* from Earth and could not normally be seen without a powerful telescope. It is again too dim to be seen without a telescope. Had it been our star, our planet would have been destroyed.

Then what about our Sun? How old is it? What might happen to it? When might it happen?

This is a NASA photo released into the public domain. It was sourced through Wikimedia Commons. http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:The_Sun_by_the_Atmospheric_Imaging_Assembly_of_NASA%27s_Solar_Dynamics_Observatory_-_20100819-02.jpg

This is a NASA photo released into the public domain. It was sourced through Wikimedia Commons.
http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:The_Sun_by_the_Atmospheric_Imaging_Assembly_of_NASA%27s_Solar_Dynamics_Observatory_-_20100819-02.jpg

Our Sun is thought to be about 4.6 billion (4,600,000,000) years old. I had to do a little research about the Sun to find out what might happen. I found interesting information suggesting our Sun is becoming brighter by about 10% every billion years and it's surface is slowly becoming hotter. As it gets older and burns more of its hydrogen fuel it will grow in size to eventually become a red giant. By this time Earth, if it still exists, will not be able to support life.

The video clip below shows what might well happen when our to end of world. Duration: 3:04 minutes.

It replaces the original linked video clip now blocked from viewing in Australia due to copyright issues.

This is not my video clip.

Should we worry?

It is thought it could take about 5 billion (5,000,000,000) years before our Sun is a red giant and perhaps 1 billion (1,000,000,000) years before the Sun's rising temperature means all water will evaporate away from Earth. A billion years is a very long time. However humans develop in that time, we can only hope they have solved the problems. For a time until the sun gets too big or hot this might mean people moving to Mars but to go to other stars people might have to spend a very long time in space. By the time people reach other stars, they could be the great, great, great, great,... great, great, great, grandchildren of those who left Earth.

But I've seen movies where they move through gates or hyperspace at faster than the speed of light and arrive quickly...

The movies love finding ways to arrive quickly. Who knows what science might discover in a billion years. For now, the idea of travelling close to the speed of light is beyond us. Whatever the future brings, I have faith humans will find a solution if there's one to be found. I know NASA engineers are looking at ways it might be one day possible to warp space and make travel to the stars real. 🙂

168,000 light years* - as explained in Part 1, a light year is the distance light travels in a vacuum in one Earth year. While I saw the supernova as a bright star in 1987, the light had started on its way 168,000 years ago. When we look at stars, we are looking back in history. Even light from our own sun started its journey about 8.3 minutes before we see it.

2. Did you know that there are many different galaxies in space?

Yes. Too quick an answer? 🙂 I'll share some NASA galaxy photos using links.

The two galaxies shown here are in the early stage of an interaction that will eventually lead to them merging in millions of years. The two galaxies are about 450 million (450,000,000) light years from us. If you look carefully you can see other galaxies in the distant background.

UGC 9618, Chandra + Hubble

By Smithsonian Institution [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons

This second photo shows galaxy M33. It is about 3 million (3,000,000) light years from Earth. The really bright stars are young, very large stars. Yes, stars are still being made in our universe from the remains of other stars.

Galaxy M33 Chandra X-ray Observatory

By Smithsonian Institution from United States [see page for license], via Wikimedia Commons

The third photo shows galaxy Centaurus A. If you can see what looks like a line of white light coming from its centre, that's the result of Centaurus A having a supermassive black hole at its centre.

Centaurus A Chandra

By NASA/CXC/CfA/R.Kraft et al (http://chandra.harvard.edu/photo/2008/cena/) [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons

Galaxies are not all one size. Dwarf galaxies might only have as few as 10 million (10,000,000) stars whereas giant galaxies might have up to 100 trillion (100,000,000,000,000) stars. There are estimates the might be up to 170 billion (170,000,000,000) galaxies in the observable universe . There may be very many more but they are so distant their light still hasn't reached us, they're not yet observable. That's a lot of galaxies.

I like looking at big numbers so let's look at big numbers. I have said their might be 170 billion (170,000,000,000) galaxies in the observable universe. I also said galaxies could have from 10 million to 100 trillion stars. Let's say the average galaxy has 1 billion (1,000,000,000) stars.

How many stars might their be in the observable universe?

170,000,000,000 galaxies x 1,000,000,000 average stars = 170,000,000,000,000,000,000 (I make that 170 quintillion stars.)

In Part 1 of these answers to your questions I mentioned it has been said there are more stars in the universe than all of the grains of sand on every beach on Earth. Would one of you start counting so we can check? 🙂

Below is a You Tube video clip from NS showing galaxy M31 known as the Andromeda Galaxy. It is the nearest large spiral galaxy to our own. Our galaxy, The Milky Way, is also a spiral galaxy. Duration: 3:06 minutes

This is not my video.

3. Did you know that Pluto has 2 more moons?

Yes, but I found there seems to be more discoveries when I was researching. In order of distance from Pluto they are Charon, Styx, Nix, Kerberos, and Hydra. It is possible more small "moons" might be found. Click to read Moons of Pluto on Wikipedia.

In this photo taken by NASA in 2005, the two dots listed as candidate satellites
Pluto system 2005 discovery images

When Pluto was discovered in 1930, its brightness suggested it was much larger than it was found to be but that was because it is icy. Charon was discovered in 1978. I always found its name was a great choice. In ancient Greek mythology, Pluto was the god of the underworld where people went when they died. To reach there, you had to cross the River Styx. This could only happen if you had a coin to pay the boatman, Charon. It was common for ancient Greeks to bury their dead with a coin so they could pay Charon. This is why I thought the name is a good choice. Pluto and Charon are together in ancient Greek mythology.

One unusual piece of information I read was about Pluto and Charon. Moons orbit around their planet as does our moon but Pluto doesn't seem to be the centre of Charon's orbit. The centre of orbit is somewhere in between but closer to Pluto. What a strange place Pluto would be.

While searching online, I found an animated file showing a computer generated rotating image of Pluto you might like to see. It's based on NASA images of the surface of Pluto. This an embedded NASA file in the public domain.

Pluto animiert 200px
By Aineias, NASA, ESA, and M. Buie (Southwest Research Institute)  derivative work: Aineias, Ilmari Karonen (Pluto_hubble_photomap.jpg via Pluto_animiert.gif) [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons

4. Did you know that Neptune's ring is made out of ice particles?

Below is my favourite image of Neptune. NASA released this image into the public domain. Neptune's atmosphere seems to be mostly hydrogen and helium. "The interior of Neptune, like that of Uranus, is primarily composed of ices and rock." (Wikipedia). Remember, ices aren't necessarily only water. Have you heard of dry ice we can buy here on Earth? It isn't water. It's icy carbon dioxide. For Neptune, the ices are thought to be mostly water, ammonia and methane. The core of the planet is said to be rocky.

Neptune

By . (http://photojournal.jpl.nasa.gov/catalog/PIA00046) [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons

The next NASA image was taken by the Voyager 2 and shows the rings on Neptune.

Neptune rings PIA02224

By Courtesy NASA/JPL-Caltech (http://photojournal.jpl.nasa.gov/catalog/PIA02224) [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons

The rings are thought to probably contain large amounts of micro-dust as well as ice.

 

5. Did you know that it takes 1 month for the moon to orbit around the earth?

Wikipedia reference for the different types of months and years: Month

This embedded graphic shows the phases of the Moon seen as it orbits the Earth. Do you notice we only see one side? The other side is often called the dark side. It also comes into sunlight but, since it faces away from Earth, we don't see it.

File:Lunar libration with phase Oct 2007 450px.gif

This work has been released into the public domain by its author, Tomruen. This applies worldwide.

This is an interesting question even if it sounds simple. Rather than say "yes" or "no", I might ask what type of month?

I know the months we talk about run from January to December. February has 28 days or 29 in a leap year. The others have either 30 or 31 days. The average number of days in a month is about 30.4 days. If you mean one of our Gregorian Calendar months we use, the answer is not quite a month.

When compared to the position of stars, the Moon takes about 27.3 days to orbit the Earth but Earth is also moving through space so the time between two full moon is about 29.5 days.

Did you know there was something known as a lunar calendar?

The calendar we use is a solar calendar. It's based on the time it takes for the Earth to complete one orbit around the Sun. Lunar calendars are different because they are based on cycles of the Moon.

Many cultures have had lunar calendars.  One of the important examples is the Islamic Calendar. A year has either 354 or 355 days where as the Gregorian Calendar has 365 or 366 days based on a solar year. If you have Muslim friends, you might know the first day of their new year is a different day on our calendar each year. This happens because their lunar year is 11 days shorter.

The Gregorian solar year has an average of about 30.4 days per month giving us about 365 days a solar year.

The Islamic lunar year has an average of about 29.5 days per month giving us about 354 days a lunar year.

Can you see the solar calendar gives us about the time it takes for the Earth to complete an orbit of the Sun while the approximate number of days in a lunar month is how long it takes the Moon to go from one full moon to the next?

The embedded diagram below shows how the phases of the Moon come about while the Moon orbits Earth.

Moon phases en

By Orion 8 (Own work) [CC-BY-SA-3.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0) or GFDL (http://www.gnu.org/copyleft/fdl.html)], via Wikimedia Commons

6. Did you know that (it takes) a year for the earth to orbit around the sun?

Our Gregorian solar calendar is based on how long it takes the Earth to complete one orbit of the Sun, that is it takes about 365.25 days for Earth to orbit the Sun. We call that a year of 365 days with a leap year helping us catch up on the extra bits by having an extra day.

UpdatedPlanets2006

By Adam850 at en.wikipedia [Public domain], from Wikimedia Commons

What would a year be on other planets and dwarf planets?

Here are the other planets and known dwarf planets in our Solar System with how long their years would be in our Earth years (Ey).

Mercury ....................... 0.24 Ey (88 days)

Venus ........................... 0.62 Ey (226 days)

Earth ............................ 1.0

Mars ............................. 1.88 Ey

Ceres (dwarf) ............... 4.6 Ey

Jupiter .......................... 11.86 Ey

Saturn ........................... 29.46 Ey

Uranus .......................... 84.01 Ey

Neptune ....................... 164.8 Ey

Pluto (dwarf) ................ 248.09 Ey

Haumea (dwarf) .......... 282.76 Ey

Makemake (dwarf) ...... 309.88 Ey

Eris (dwarf) ................... about 557 Ey

A little extra...

In July last year a class asked some questions about space. I didn't add and pictures to the post but you might like to see their questions and my answers...

Wonderings About Space

* * * * * * * * * *

And one final You Tube video clip answers,

"What Is Space?"

Duration: 55:43 minutes

This is not my video clip.

3/4B, 4T and 3SF visited the Penrith University of Western Sydney Observatory and share their experience in a blog post. They also asked questions and I loved the challenge of trying to answer them. To see their post...

Bloggers of the Week: Our Excursion to the Observatory

To see Part 2 of this extended comment post...

Observing Space Part 2

Schools and students have permission to use this graphic for non-commercial, educational purposes. This is not a real star photo but one I created.

Schools and students have permission to use this graphic for non-commercial, educational purposes. This is not a real star photo but one I created.

When we look out at night, staring into space, we come to realise space is big, very BIG. I have heard it said if we were to count all of the grains of sand on all of the world's beaches there would still be more than that number of stars in our universe. This helps us realise there is so much more to know than we can possibly see.

At the end of last year, I prepared a short video clip about a small community known as Earth. It was for a class looking at ways of making a difference globally. It shows we can start by looking at ourselves and as we expand our view we move out into the universe.

Schools and students have permission to use this video clip for non-commercial, educational purposes.

As there is quite a lot to cover, this comment has been broken into 2 parts, each dealing with 6 questions on the class blog.

Hello 3/4B, 4T and 3SF,

I was fascinated by your post entitled “Bloggers of the week: Our excursion to the Observatory”.  I have very many interests in many subjects but the sciences are particular favourites. While I was a primary school teacher before retiring, I held a degree in science. Seeing your questions, I knew I had to try to give answers to as many as possible.

Let’s start with one you have answered…

1. How do solar eclipses happen?

“Solar eclipses happen when the Moon crosses over the sun and shines a shadow over a part of the earth.” I have prepared a diagram you can use if you wish...

Schools and students have permission to use this graphic for non-commercial, educational purposes.

Schools and students have permission to use this graphic for non-commercial, educational purposes.

If you look at the diagram, it shows the shadow of the Moon cast on the Earth. In the centre of the shadow there is a very dark area know as the umbra. The umbra is the area of total eclipse. The lighter shadow area is the penumbra or area of partial eclipse. The faint lines I have added help show why we have darker and lighter areas.

WARNING: You all know you should never look directly at the sun. The light entering your eyes can cause blindness if you stare at the sun. Only when there is a total eclipse is it safe to look but only until the sun is about to reappear. You cannot even look at the Bailey's Beads or Diamond Ring effect as this is still direct sunlight.

One of the most amazing parts of viewing a solar eclipse is when the sun starts to reappear. The Moon's surface isn't smooth. There are craters, mountains and valleys. Light first appears through gaps. Light appears in what is known as Bailey's Beads. When only one bead is left we have what is known as the Diamond Ring Effect. Here is another diagram I drew to show what the Diamond Ring Effect can look like.

 

Schools and students have permission to use this graphic for non-commercial, educational purposes. This not a photo but a created graphic.

Schools and students have permission to use this graphic for non-commercial, educational purposes. This not a photo but a created graphic.

Did you also know there are lunar eclipses?

In a lunar eclipse, the Earth passes between the Moon and our sun. You can find out more with the link.

The video clip below comes from You Tube. It shows the 2012 total solar eclipse filmed in Northern Queensland. Once the eclipse is total, the camera person swaps filters and you can see the total eclipse more clearly. Keep watching and you will see the "diamond ring". Duration: 4:35 minutes

2. Can you bungy jump on the Moon?

I loved this question. There might be some tourism potential there.

Schools and students have permission to use this graphic for non-commercial, educational purposes.

Schools and students have permission to use this graphic for non-commercial, educational purposes.

I see it’s been suggested you can’t because there is nothing to land on but I think it would be possible. You may have read gravity on the Moon is only about one sixth that of Earth. That would mean someone weighing about 36kg on Earth’s surface would weigh only about 6kg on the Moon. Of course, there is very little atmosphere on the Moon and solar radiation would be a big problem so a space suit would be necessary and that would add weight. Okay, we have gravity and weight to make us fall. What next?

Bungy jumps on Earth are usually over water from a bridge. If the cord breaks, you get wet. On the Moon, the only suspected water would be in craters where direct sunlight doesn’t hit but it would be ice so there is no liquid water. A broken cord would mean hitting the ground. You might be much lighter but it would still hurt but what a thrill to be the first.

Height is not a problem. There are craters, peaks and valleys on the Moon so in the future some enterprising tour company might be able to set up a bungee site. Look at the below photo from NASA released into the public domain…

This is a NASA photo released into the public domain. It was sourced through Wikimedia Commons. http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Lunar_crater_Daedalus.jpg

This is a NASA photo released into the public domain. It was sourced through Wikimedia Commons.
http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Lunar_crater_Daedalus.jpg

Now here’s a thought in a different direction. When astronauts have gone on “space walks” tethered only to their spaceship by a cord, are they bungy jumping or going space skiing?

While no one has been able to bungy jump on the Moon, back in 1971 Alan Shepard (Apollo 14 astronaut) hit two golf balls on the Moon. Duration: 1:35 minutes

This is not my video clip.

3. What is the biggest gas planet?

Wikipedia reference: Gas Giant

Schools and students have permission to use this graphic for non-commercial, educational purposes.

Schools and students have permission to use this graphic for non-commercial, educational purposes.

Again I see an answer has been given. I agree. Jupiter is the largest gas planet in the Solar System. Planets larger than around 10 times Earth's mass are said to be giants.

There are four in our Solar System: Jupiter, Saturn, Uranus and Neptune. To be a gas giant, they have to be mostly gaseous.

Jupiter and Saturn are mostly hydrogen and helium. Each of these are gas giants.

Uranus and Neptune could be called ice giants. They are thought to have a hydrogen atmosphere but icy cores of water, methane and ammonia.

Did you know stars are gas giants? Huge masses of mostly hydrogen is found in newer stars. If a gas giant is big enough, a nuclear reaction known as fusion can start and a star is born. It's estimated a gas giant about 13 times the size of Jupiter might be big enough to start fusion. Imagine if Jupiter had been big enough. Our sky would have our bright sun and a less bright star known as Jupiter.

Jupiter is the biggest gas planet but our sun is the biggest gas object in our Solar System. Astronomers tell us compared to the largest stars in our universe, our sun is really small. There's a lot of gas out there. 🙂

This You Tube video clip shares some information about the four gas giants in our Solar System. Duration: 8:19 minutes

This You Tube clip is not my work.

4a. What is the smallest planet in our Solar System?

Another answer has been given, Pluto. I will give an answer but to do this I will answer a question out of order. Above is 4a and below is 4b.

4b. Why isn't Pluto considered a planet anymore?

Wikipedia reference: Pluto

In my book library, I have some old science books. One set of five was published in 1919 and the other was a book published in 1930. In 1919, science spoke of the eight planets in our Solar System. In order from our sun, they were Mercury, Venus, Earth, Mars, Jupiter, Saturn, Uranus and Neptune. Mercury, closest to the sun, was the smallest planet.

Some astronomers noticed something unusual in the orbit of Neptune. They suspected there was another planet. The 1930 science book mentioned the possibility of a ninth planet. It was in that year the discovery of Pluto was announced. It became the ninth planet and was listed as the smallest.

This is a NASA photo released into the public domain. It was sourced through Wikimedia Commons. http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Pluto_System.jpg

This is a NASA photo released into the public domain. It was sourced through Wikimedia Commons.
http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Pluto_System.jpg

So why isn't it a planet now?

Pluto is now known a a dwarf planet. It is only one five hundredth Earth's mass. Think of it this way. If Earth's mass was one hundred $1 coins, just one $1 coin would be the mass of five Plutos.

We didn't really know how small Pluto was until the late 1970s. Since then Charon has been discovered as a moon of Pluto, followed by two more moons named Nix and Hydra in 2005. Other large objects almost the size of Pluto had also been found. Astronomers believed there are many large objects (watch the video clip below). They realised it was probably only a matter of time before an object larger than Pluto was found. This happened with the discovery of Eris in 2005. Astronomers decided there had to be a way of saying whether objects were planets. This was done in 2006.

From Wikipedia, here is what a mass needs to be if it is to be called a planet...

  1. is in orbit around the Sun,

  2. is nearly round in shape, and

  3. has "cleared the neighbourhood" around its orbit.

Wikipedia reference: IAU Definitiion of Planets

Pluto passed 1 and 2 but failed 3 and so is now known as a dwarf planet. Mercury is again the smallest planet in our Solar System.

Since then, other dwarf planets have been identified. They are Eris, Ceres, Haumea, and Makemake. The closest dwarf planet to Earth is Ceres. Ceres is in the asteroid belt between Mars and Jupiter. When it was identified as a dwarf planet, it became our closest.

In the video clip below, "Why Pluto is Not a Planet", it's explained why Pluto is now known as a dwarf planet. Duration: 4:54 minutes

This is not my video clip.

5. What is a light year?

Schools and students have permission to use this graphic for non-commercial, educational purposes.

Schools and students have permission to use this graphic for non-commercial, educational purposes.

A suggested answer was, "A  light year is the speed of light when light travels."

Let's look at this.

Some people make the mistake of thinking of a light year as time or speed. It isn't. A light year is a distance. It is the distance light travels through a vacuum (no air) in an Earth year. The suggested answer wasn't correct because it suggests a light year is a speed.

How far is a light year?

In just one second, light in a vacuum can travel almost 300,000km. Do you think a police officer would be able to catch speeding light?

According to Wikipedia, a light year is a distance of a little under 10 trillion kilometres.

1 light-year = 9,460,730,472,580,800 metres

1 light-year = 9,460,730,472,580.8 kilometres

If your family car was able to travel into space for one light year distance at an average speed of 100kph, it would take you around 95 trillion years. Can you imagine how much the fuel would cost and how many times you would ask your parents when you will arrive? 🙂

Our sun is about 149,600,000 km from us. Your family car would take around one and a half million years to reach it if your car travelled at 100kph but light only takes around 8.3 minutes.

With next closest star to us being about 4.37 light years distant, I think you might start to understand why travelling to planets around another star is way beyond what we can do.

BUT WAIT... I found this video clip on You Tube while looking for other information. A NASA engineer was interviewed this year about the idea of warp space. It's said we can't travel at the speed of light for reasons I won't explain here but the engineer was talking about warping (expand and contract/grow and shrink) space. If this is one day possible, travelling to the next nearest star to our Sun might be possible in weeks or months but this is a long way off if it's possible.

This is not my video clip.

 

 

To see 4KM and 4KJ's post...

SMOOTH MOVES

Hello 4KM and 4KJ,

After reading your post and watching your video presentations on Smooth Moves, I was fascinated. Science is one of my favourite subjects so I decided to search for more information on your topic.

Science talks about hypotheses and theories but words such as theory can be confusing for members of the public. On a different blog, I wrote about ideas, hypotheses and theories. Here's a link...

What is science? Looking at ideas, hypotheses and theories.

Just what are motion, force, friction, push, pull, gravity, and momentum?

(Definitions are all sourced through The Concise Macquarie Dictionary, Macquarie University, 1982 ISBN:  0 86824 109 1)

Motion

Definition: The process of moving, or changing place, or position.

Motion seems simple. An object goes from one place to another but I will give you something to consider.

A man is looking out a window when he sees a building pass by very quickly. Was the building moving?

I think most of us would say the man must have been moving because buildings don't pass windows. Look at the next.

A man is looking out of his window when he sees a bird pass the window. Was the bird or man moving?

This isn't as easy as it seems. Do you know why?

Schools and students have permission to use this graphic for non-commercial, educational purposes.

Schools and students have permission to use this graphic for non-commercial, educational purposes.

Force

Definition: strength or power exerted upon an object.

Force is anything acting on an object. It can be pushing, pulling, gravity, a ball hitting you or even mum and dad telling you to do your homework or else. 🙂

Look at the picture below...

Schools and students have permission to use this graphic for non-commercial, educational purposes.

Schools and students have permission to use this graphic for non-commercial, educational purposes.

Location: Franz Joseph Glacier, New Zealand

This photo shows New Zealand's Franz Joseph Glacier. In colder, wetter times, the glacier gets bigger. The force of the moving ice pushes rocks down the valley. In the photo, you can see a boy standing on a rock ledge is standing on a curved groove rubbed into the stone cliff by the moving ice and rock. Can you imagine the force needed to push rocks together like this?

Friction

Definition:the resistance to the relative motion of surfaces of bodies in contact.

When two surfaces move over each other you can have friction. Rub your hands hard together and you will hear them rub and feel the warmth the friction between your two hands causes. When friction is high, two objects have more difficulty moving along each other's surfaces. It takes more force to make them move. When friction is low, two surfaces can move easily across each other. Look at these examples and decide which has high friction and which has low.

An ice skater's skates glide across the icy surface. Is friction high or low?

You rub your hand across rough sandpaper. Is friction high or low?

What about extreme examples in nature? Earthquakes also result from a friction reaction. Two great masses of rock push along each. They can become locked together not moving until force builds up enough to break the hold. The You Tube clip below discusses earthquakes.

 

This video is an embedded You Tube clip and is not my work.

Push

Definition: to exert force upon or against a thing in order to move it away.

Pushing is something you well understand. We use force to move things away from us. Which of these is an example of push?

1) Playing a game of tug-of-war.

2) Helping someone sitting on a swing move.

Pull

Definition: to haul or draw towards oneself or itself.

Whereas pushing moves things away from us, pulling moves them towards us. Which of the following is an example of pull?

1) Playing a game of tug-of-war.

2) Helping someone sitting on a swing move.

Schools and students have permission to use this graphic for non-commercial, educational purposes.

Schools and students have permission to use this graphic for non-commercial, educational purposes.

Gravity

Definition: the force of attraction by which terrestrial bodies tend to fall towards the centre of the earth.

I wasn't completely happy with the definition for gravity I found in my dictionary. All objects could be said to have gravity, even us, but it's the larger bodies that are large enough to have a big gravitational effect on us. This means gravity is different on different planets because they are different sizes and masses. If you were to stand on the Moon, you would weigh about one sixth your weight on Earth.

If you were able to stand on the Moon without a spacesuit, would you be able to jump higher and further than on Earth?

Here is a link to a site where you can find what you would weigh if you were able to stand on other planets, the Moon or our sun.

Your weight on other planets, the Sun and the Moon

Did you know gravity changes, and therefore your weight, the further you move away from the centre of our Earth? Someone standing on the top of Mount Everest would be a small amount lighter than the same person standing on a beach beside the sea.

Look at the below photo taken many years ago...

Schools and students have permission to use this graphic for non-commercial, educational purposes.

Schools and students have permission to use this graphic for non-commercial, educational purposes.

It's gravity allowing us to go down a slide but we don't go too fast because friction helps to slow us. The friction comes from us sitting and you can see the boys also using their hands to slow themelves. Without any friction as we sit on the slide, what might happen?

Momentum

Definition: the quantity of motion of a moving body, equal to the product of its mass and velocity.

Momentum is what we have when moving. Unless something acts on us, we will keep moving in the same direction. On the slide photo above, friction slows the momentum of the students.

To work out our momentum, you multiply our mass by our velocity (speed). This means the bigger our mass and/or speed, the higher our momentum and the more force is needed to stop us. This is why large semi-trailers take longer to stop than small cars or why a faster car takes longer to stop than a slower car.

In 2007, Queensland ran a TV commercial about stopping distances for cars. In each case, the car is the same but the speeds (velocities) are different. Watch the video below then see if you can answer the question...

This video is an embedded You Tube clip and is not my work.

Did the different speeds (velocities) of the car make a difference to how long it took the car to stop?

Did you know if you were in space away from the Earth and Moon and were able to use a spray can, the spray coming out of the can would start you moving? If nothing such as gravity or friction acted on you, you would continue in that direction and not stop.

Voyager I and II spacecraft were launched into space back in 1977. Their course took them out beyond all of the planets in our solar system. They will continue in the directions they were sent unless something stops them. This means their journey might last hundreds or many thousands of years. What a journey!

The link below shows you how far from Earth Voyager I and II now are. You will see the distances changing as you watch because they are moving very quickly. Voyager I is now over 18,000,000,000 (18 billion) kilometres from Earth.

How far from Earth are Voyager 1 and Voyager 2?

Now for a Little Science Fun

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 After making this movie clip, Professor Flurfflefinger disappeared. Some believe he never really existed and the movie clip was a prank. Others believe he accidentally turned his anti-gravity on himself and is floating somewhere out in space. Still more believe real scientists laughed at his ideas so he now is in hiding promising to never talk about science again.

Do you think his demonstrations are real or fake? Why?

 

7 Comments

Click below for link back to Mrs. Yollis and her class's original post...

Science Stop: A Colorful Science Lesson

Dear Mrs. Yollis and class,

Science is one of my favourite subjects. Okay, you probably know just about any school subject is a favourite of mine. It comes from being interested in so many things but science (zoology) was my study at university before I trained as a primary (elementary) teacher.

Light is fascinating. Light is a form of energy. Our very bodies have energy down to the atoms making us up. It’s the way our senses interact with the energy that allows us to see, feel, touch, taste and hear.

At first I was wondering if the students might try to trick you by using chemicals to make unexpected colour changes. Here’s a You Tube link to show how this might be done.

I can see they were very careful about their demonstrations so you were able to predict what colours would result.

Below is a colour diagram I created for you. There are three primary colours in light (red, blue and yellow). Mix equally any two primary colours and you will get a secondary colour (purple, orange and green).  Mixing different amounts of primary or secondary colours can make all of the colours we see. Black is the absence of light whereas white light has all three primaries (which is why a prism can refract white light to show colours and we see rainbows when water droplets refract sunlight).

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We use our eyes to see but do we all see the same? I suspect, being individuals with our own eyes, we don’t see colours in exactly the same way as others. I think there are slight differences but we learn what we see is red or blue, etc. If you could see through someone else’s eyes, the world might look a little different. What do you think?

I heard you all say light travels in a straight line. I don’t say light travels in a straight line. I say something a little different if asked…

Light travels in as straight a line as space allows.

The idea comes from Albert Einstein and his general theory of relativity (big words to explain how things work).

Have you heard of gravity? If we jump up, we are pulled back down by gravity. If you could jump high enough, the Earth’s gravity wouldn’t be able to pull you down but it would have to be a massive jump. Einstein’s theory tells us space is warped (bent out of shape) by gravity. While light travels in straight lines, the “lines” in space are bent.

Does that sound weird? I know it can be hard to get our minds around so I used a striped shirt and a round rock (geode) from my rock collection. Look at the picture below.

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Can you see how the stripes on the shirt are pulled inwards and the shirt has bent down under the weight of the rock? If light was the stripes, it would travel in a straight line but space is warped (“bent”). We know this is true because, in a total solar eclipse (where the moon blocks the sun), we can see stars slightly behind the sun. The sun’s gravity has “bent” space so light appears bent.

I know the idea is hard to understand but it’s one of those fascinating things about our world. I’m not an expert in science but have fun thinking about it. I always hope I get my facts correct. 🙂

Have a great winter break. I look forward to your shared learning adventures in 2013.

@RossMannell

Teacher (retired), N.S.W., Australia

7 Comments

To see 4KM and 4KJ’s original post….

Natural Disaster Tagxedos

REMEMBER: I am not an expert and have to check much of the information below.  If I find any errors, I will correct them as needed.

Dear 4KM and 4KJ,

 Natural disasters are part of living on an active planet with an atmosphere.

What do I know about natural disasters?

Volcanoes, earthquakes, tsunamis and our  not so solid world…

Most of you know our world isn’t a solid ball. Here is a graphic showing the Earth's internal layers I prepared for you...

Schools and students have permission to use this graphic for non-commercial, educational purposes.

The INNER and OUTER CORE

At its centre, the INNER CORE, it’s thought to be a solid iron-nickel core. The temperature is thought to be about the same as the surface of our sun.

Now, that’s very hot so should the iron-nickel inner core melt? It is solid because of pressure from the rest of the earth not allowing it to melt.

The OUTER CORE surrounds the INNER CORE.  It is liquid and very hot. It’s thought, like the INNER CORE, to be mostly iron. It’s thought to be very important to life on Earth. Movement of the liquid iron OUTER CORE causes Earth to have a magnetic field (like a magnet with a north and south pole). It’s this magnetic field which protects us from much of the sun’s solar wind (ionised gases). If it wasn’t there, we wouldn’t ne able to live on Earth’s surface without protective suits. With the core of Mars thought to be cold, Mars has little magnetic field and certainly not a whole planet one. We would need suits to protect us even though it is further from the sun than us.

 

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EXPERIMENT: Place a magnet underneath a piece of paper. Sprinkle on some iron filings. You will see the iron filings

The MANTLE

The MANTLE is the thickest layer in the Earth. It is solid but is at high temperature so there is movement over long periods of time as cooler material sinks and hotter material rises. You might already know about convection. You know hot air rises because it is lighter and cooler air falls because it is heavier. It’s the same with the rocks in the MANTLE.

OBSERVATION: Have you ever seen a lava lamp? As the wax in the lamp heats, it rises to the top of the lamp. When it cools it falls back down only to be heated and rise again. That is convection.

More about convection shortly.

The CRUST

This is the thin layer we live on. Think of an apple. It has a core, the delicious fleshy part  (like Earth’s MANTLE), and the skin (the CRUST). Like an apple, the Earth’s crust is thin and sits on the MANTLE.

OBSERVATION: Cut an apple in half and look at the cut surface. Imagine it’s the Earth. We live on the thin skin.

The convection (movement) in the MANTLE causes movement in the crust. The Earth’s crust has large sections called TECTONIC PLATES.

You can see a map of the Earth’s plates on Wikipedia at

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Plates_tect2_en.svg

The TECTONIC plates rub along each other, go over or under each other, or move apart. Now for natural disasters…

VOLCANOES

Most volcanoes in the world are found along the edges of the TECTONIC PLATES. Some, like the Hawaiian volcanoes, are over a HOT SPOT. Volcanoes are places where heat and pressure from the MANTLE can be released. There are many types of volcanoes. In Hawaii, you have lava flows whereas New Zealand’s volcanoes tend to be more ash and gases. No matter what type, eruptions can be very dangerous for people living close to volcanoes.

Here is a link to a post I made some time back for a class in England. It shows some You Tube volcanic activity…

http://rossmannellcomments.edublogs.org/2012/05/23/a-final-volcano-post-of-you-tube-links/

Here is another link to a post I made for the same class. It includes some video clips I made while in New Zealand.

http://rossmannellcomments.edublogs.org/2012/05/23/new-zealand/

In many areas of Australia, you can find the remains of volcanoes once very active millions of years ago. If you know what you’re looking for, they are easy to spot. Where I live, there are plenty of signs of ancient volcanic activity. Here is a photo of an easy to spot one in Queensland. It shows the solidified magma once in a volcano's crater....

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EARTHQUAKES

When the TECTONIC PLATES try to move, pressure can build up as they rub against each other. This can happen at the edges of the plates or along fault lines. Eventually, the pressure is too high and the plates or rocks in the fault move. This is an earthquake.

Here is a Wikipedia link to a photo of the San Andres fault in California…

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Falla_de_San_Andr%C3%A9s.jpg

and to a graphic of the types of faults…

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Fault_types.png

When there is tectonic movement, land can move up, down or sideways. Some quakes are small tremors where there is shaking but they can be large and cause much damage. Do you remember hearing about the earthquakes and aftershocks in Canterbury, New Zealand?

Look at the photo below. I took it at a roadside cutting near my town. See how the rock had been forced into curves by pressure. Have you seen layers of rock in unusual patterns? Do you think earthquakes or earth movements might have been the cause?

Schools and students have permission to use this graphic for non-commercial, educational purposes.

EXPERIMENT: Place piece of cardboard on your desk. Now place a stone near the edge of a piece of cardboard. Lift the edge of the cardboard. For a time, friction will hold the rock in place but as you keep raising the edge of the cardboard and the angle increases, the stone will start to slip. For the rock, it was like a mini earthquake when it moved.

TSUNAMI

You might have heard about powerful waves called tsunamis. When you go to the beach and watch the waves, these are only surface waves. The water simply moves up and down close to the surface and is caused by the action of wind. If you’ve ever seen a fishing float in the water if you’ve gone fishing, you’ll see it moving up and down. It will only move along sideways if there is wind to blow it or flowing water underneath.

Tsunamis are very different to the normal waves you see. They are much deeper waves and can be caused by underwater earthquakes, volcanic eruptions, landslides or other disturbances including a meteorite impact in the ocean. When an event occurs, huge amounts of water is displaced (moved).

If you were out on the ocean, you mightn’t even notice a tsunami pass as it might look like any other wave but it goes much deeper than a normal wave. As a tsunami approaches shallower water, the deeper waves rise up and move in on the coast.

In 2004, there was an underwater earthquake near the island of Sumatra in Indonesia. A large amount of water was displaced and spread out across the Indian Ocean. With Sumatra being so close to the earthquake location, large waves washed ashore causing a huge amount of damage to the town of Banda Aceh.  The more distant from the site of the earthquake, the less the effect,

Here is a Wikipedia link to an aerial photo of Banda Aceh taken after the tsunami.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:US_Navy_050102-N-9593M-031_A_village_near_the_coast_of_Sumatra_lays_in_ruin_after_the_Tsunami_that_struck_South_East_Asia.jpg

OBSERVATION 1: Have you ever dropped a large rock into a still pool and seen water splash up and waves ripple out? This gives you the idea the way waves spread out from the point of origin.

OBSERVATION 2: When you fill your bathtub to the top then get in, what happens? This is water displacement as your body moves water away as you get in.

WOULD IT BE BETTER NOT TO HAVE SUCH AN ACTIVE EARTH?

If you remember, I’ve already explained our active, hot Earth protects us from much of the effects of the sun. If our Earth’s interior cooled and went solid, we might not have problems with earthquakes and volcanoes but we would be exposed to dangers from the sun. Earth might become more like Mars.

I think we are fortunate to have an active Earth even if it sometimes causes natural disasters.

If you are interested to find out more about natural disasters, The Australian Government Geoscience Australia website has information on (CLICK TO GO TO THE SITE)…

You can also check Wikipedia for information.

3 Comments

Here is a link to the original post…

http://passtheblog.creativeblogs.net/2012/07/25/our-wonderings/

 

NASA is always a good source of information on space.

I enjoyed reading your questions so much I thought  I would try to find some answers for you. I hope most if not all help but I’m not an expert in astronomy just someone interested in many things. I may update this post as I have time or if someone points out an error I've missed.

 

OUR WONDERINGS

 

How many times could you fit earth on the biggest planet Jupiter? You can fit 1000 earths on Jupiter-Jake

Here is a link to a site allowing you to compare the diameter of planets. Choose your planets then click on “COMPARE” to see. According to this site, Jupiter has a diameter 11.1 times that of Earth, i.e. it would take 11.1 Earths to reach from one side to the other through the middle of Jupiter.

http://sciencenetlinks.com/interactives/messenger/psc/PlanetSize.html

This site compares Earth to Jupiter. You will see Jupiter has a volume 1321 times that of the Earth. That is it would take around 1321 Earths to match the volume.

http://www.universetoday.com/22710/jupiter-compared-to-earth/

In the future could scientists invent a robot that could survive the winds of Neptune or land on the sun?

 That would be something very hard to do. The pressures on the giant planets would quickly crush anything we could currently make. Science fiction stories talk of future attempts to go deep into one of the giants. Maybe one day we might be able to probe deeper.

Did you know in 2003, NASA deliberately sent the Galileo craft into the atmosphere of Jupiter? It was crushed by the pressure. Here is a link from NASA…

http://solarsystem.nasa.gov/galileo/

When looking at Sol, our sun, we are talking about incredible heat and pressure. Did you know stars have “life” cycles. They burn their fuel but eventually run out and cool. While they might end up solid, they would still have incredible mass. Here is a link about stars…

http://www.seasky.org/celestial-objects/stars.html

How do astronauts live on spaceships when they are travelling through space?

The earliest astronauts and cosmonauts (Russian astronauts) relied on their space suits to survive. By the time of the Apollo missions to the Moon, the capsules had oxygen supplies so astronauts could remove their helmets but still had to keep the suits on in case of an emergency. Here is a link about the Apollo missions…

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Apollo_program

These days, the International Space Station allows much greater comfort for astronauts. Here is a link from NASA…

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Apollo_program

Why does Saturn have so many rings? -Mia   Nobody knows why Saturn has rings but they do know that Saturn's rings are 400,000 kilometres wide. That’s the length from earth to the moon-Jake

It has been suggested the rings could be the debris of a large icy moon that lost its icy shell before crashing into Saturn. Here is a wiki link looking at Saturn and its rings…

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Rings_of_Saturn

How do the planets stay where they are? Kaelen. It is all in the way the gravity holds them up but the planets are slowly moving but it is so slow you would think that are stiff.-Billy

Billy has the right idea. It’s the gravitational pull of the sun holding the planets in place just as Earth’s gravity stops us from floating off into space. Here is a link…

http://www.scholastic.com/teachers/article/solar-system

When our solar system was estimated to have started to form about 4.568 billion years ago, the planets and moons were thought to have formed from a solar nebula (cloud of dust a gas) left over from the formation of our sun. It’s thought they formed by accretion. Accretion is where dust or other particles join together. In these very early years, there would have been very many collisions where masses joined to form larger ones. Here is a wiki link about the formation and evolution of our solar system…

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Formation_and_evolution_of_the_Solar_System

Did you know it is thought our Moon was formed when two of these large masses collided? The debris thrown off in the collision became our Moon. Our Earth was a combination of the two large masses. Here is a link…

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Giant_impact_hypothesis

Is there intelligent life on other planets?

I love this question as it’s the same I asked when your age. It is said there are more stars in the universe than grains of sand on all of the beaches on Earth. We are talking huge numbers of stars out there. I have no doubt many would have planets around them and some planets would be in the Goldilocks Zone.

I like that term. The Goldilocks Zone is the position around a star where it’s not too hot and not too cold for a planet to be capable of supporting life/.

One of my favourite astronomers was a man named Carl Sagan. He was asked this very question. He said with all of the stars in the universe, if Earth held the only life, it would “sure seem like an awful waste of space.”

There is little chance of intelligent life on other planets in our solar system but there is a chance of simple life on Mars or perhaps in the possible water layer of Jupiter’s moon, Europa. Here is a link to information on Europa…

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Europa_%28moon%29

Intelligent life? I would like to think we aren’t the only beings in the universe to ask questions like yours. If we were, Carl Sagan would again be correct. What a waste of space.

Remember, even the closest star outside our Solar System, Proxima Centauri, is 4.22 light years distant. A light year is the distance travelled by light in one Earth year. One light year is around 9,460,530,000,000 kilometres. If you were able to drive you family car at 100 kph, it would take you 9,460,530,000 years and that’s to the nearest star. Wiki link on the light year…

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Light-year

Why does saturn have so many rings?-Anahera

Go to the link I provided Mia…

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Rings_of_Saturn

Where is the end and beginning of space?  Bridget

Now there’s a hard question. As we exist in the universe, there is no way for us to know what may be beyond the edge of our universe. I have read if we were to travel in space in a straight line for long enough, we would eventually arrive back where we started. In that sense, space would have no beginning or end.

Do any people live in space? -Laura

Men from NASA -http://www.nasa.gov/audience/forstudents/k-4/home/F_Living_in_Space.html lived in space and said that it was very different from living on Earth. Our bodies change in space. –Michaela

Well done, Michaela. There are people on the International Space Station who spend time living in space. Michaela is also correct about our bodies changing. Here is a wiki link looking at the changes we face in space…

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Effect_of_spaceflight_on_the_human_body

With water having been found on our Moon, we may one day be able to live there but we need to find more water. Here is a NASA link about water on the Moon…

http://www.dailymail.co.uk/sciencetech/article-2162505/More-water-moon-NASA-finds-mile-deep-crater-ice-scattered-quarter-surface.html

Are there any ALIENS in space?-Laura

Alien simply means not born or belonging to here. Our search is on to find life on another planet, our best bet being Mars. All we need to do is find one simple life form, even a bacteria, on Mars to show life exists other than on Earth. Here is a link on NASA’s quest…

http://mars.jpl.nasa.gov/programmissions/overview/

If you mean like in the movies, we have no proof of life such as this but there are those on our planet who claim to have seen or been taken by aliens. I’m more from the science side of thought and would like to see definite proof.

I go back to an answer above… One of my favourite astronomers was a man named Carl Sagan. He was asked this very question. He said with all of the stars in the universe, if Earth held the only life, it would “sure seem like an awful waste of space.”

Is there any grass on the planets in space?-Laura

Grass is life just as animals and other plants are. We have no evidence of life on other planets as yet but there is a good chance of life on other planets because of how many there are thought to be.

Did you know grasses are thought to only have appeared towards the end of the Age of Dinosaurs? If we go back in time to early Earth, you would find it had no life. Doesn’t that make you wonder what the first life was like?

Abiogenesis is the study of how the first life might arise. Here is a link…

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Abiogenesis

How was space created?-Laura

One of the leading theories of how space was created is The Big Bang Theory (no the television show). It is thought the universe was once in an extremely hot and dense state known as a singularity then rapidly expanded and cooled. This might have been as much as 13.7 billion years ago. As the energy from the singularity cooled, subatomic particles formed and eventually joined to form the first and simplest element, hydrogen with some traces of helium and lithium. Clouds of these elements would have collapsed under gravity to form stars and galaxies. Here is a wiki link to the Big Bang Theory…

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Big_Bang

As all of this expanded, space came into existence. It makes you wonder where the singularity came from, the moment it started to expand and what was there before it started its expansion. Our universe is still expanding.

Are there any multi coloured planets in space?-Laura

 Yes. Have a look at these wonderful photos and graphics from NASA…

https://www.google.com.au/search?q=NASA+planet+photos&hl=en&client=firefox-a&hs=EEh&rls=org.mozilla:en-US:official&prmd=imvnsu&tbm=isch&tbo=u&source=univ&sa=X&ei=zisXUMKHNcKoiAe264DwDg&ved=0CIQBELAE&biw=1513&bih=1233

Is there any water on mars?-Laura

Yes. Here is a NASA link looking not only at the possibility of frozen water but also flowing water…

http://www.nasa.gov/mission_pages/MRO/news/mro20110804.html

How many stars are in space?-Josh

In another question I looked at an idea relating to the number of stars in the universe. I had read there are more stars in the universe than grains of sand on every beach on Earth. Would you like to start counting? 🙂

 I have read estimates of 125 billion galaxies in the universe. That is 125,000,000,000 galaxies. Now, if our galaxy, The Milk Way, has around the estimated 300 billion stars, that’s 300,000,000,000 and if we assume (probably wrongly) each galaxy were to have similar number of stars, that would be…

37,500,000,000,000,000,000,000 stars in the universe
A link about the number of galaxies…

http://imagine.gsfc.nasa.gov/docs/ask_astro/answers/021127a.html

and our Milky Way galaxy…

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Milky_Way

How are black holes formed?-Josh There are many theories to how black holes are created but the most common is when a colossal star with a mass more than 3 times the Sun’s reaches the end of its life gets crushed under its own gravity leaving behind a BLACK HOLE. -Michaela

Great research Michaela. 🙂

The black hole isn’t the remainder of a massive star. It’s the singularity in the black hole that is what’s left of the massive star. Have a look at this link to see an animation of a black hole…

http://www.kidsastronomy.com/black_hole.htm

You can see there is a singularity in the middle. Around the singularity there is the inner and outer event horizon. An event horizon is the point of no return. If you were in a space ship and passed the event, there would be no escaping the gravitational pull. Within the event horizon, not even light escapes making the area within the event horizon appear black from outside.

Here is another link talking about time and event horizons…

http://imagine.gsfc.nasa.gov/docs/ask_astro/answers/011024a.html

Are there any animals on the planets in space?-Josh

This is similar to other questions about life. With the likelihood there is life on other planets somewhere in our vast universe, animals may exist on a number of them but they wouldn't be too likely to look like the animals we know. In the movie, “Avatar”, tall, thin, blue human-like beings rode what looked like six-legged horses. What an animal might look like on another planet would be determined by how it evolved as animals on our planet do. If we look at Earth’s fossil record, there were some very strange animals in the past.

How hot is mars?-Billy Mars is actually colder than it is hot. The lowest temperature was minus 60 degrees celsius and the highest 70 degrees fahrenheit.-Josh

More good research, Josh. 🙂

As we learn more about Mars, we are able to better understand its climate and what difficulties might face when they go to Mars to live. Here is a wiki link on the climate of Mars…

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Climate_of_Mars

What is beyond space?-Billy

Bridget asked something similar. Here is what I wrote…

Now there’s a hard question. As we exist in the universe, there is no way for us to know what may be beyond the edge of our universe. I have read if we were to travel in space in a straight line for long enough, we would eventually arrive back where we started. In that sense, space would have no beginning or end.

How does gravity make things float?-Billy

It’s more the lack of gravity that would allow things to float. Any object with mass, including you, has gravity but for small objects like us we don’t tend to notice. Mass is different to weight. Weight comes from the effects of gravity on an object. Here’s a hard idea…

 If you were to mass 30kg on Earth, you would have a mass of 30kg on the Moon but your weight only be about one-sixth, i.e. about 5kg.

Have you ever been on a roller coaster and felt that feeling when you seem to rise off the seat as you go over a peak? This gives you the idea of weightlessness. Away from Earth’s gravity, you would float.

How much weight can gravity hold?-Billy

Interesting… As weight depends on gravity, gravity doesn’t hold weight. If you were able to stand on the surface of Jupiter you would be very heavy. You own weight would crush you as our bodies aren't made to stand such pressure.

Why is it black in space?-Billy

On our planet, we have an atmosphere containing gases and dust particles. As light from our sun travels through our atmosphere, it is scattered by what it hits. We see colour .

On the Moon, there is no atmosphere to speak of. Light shines straight down. If you were to look at shadows on the Earth, the scattering of light allows us to see inside shadows. Without an atmosphere, shadows on the Moon are too dark. We can't see inside them.

In space, there is little to spread the light so we tend to see it as black as in the moon shadows.

Is there any life on other planets?-Billy

Check some of the answers I’ve left for others. With all the expected stars and planets in the universe, it would be a waste of space if Earth was the only planet with life. We may first find life on Mars. It is our closest neighbour possibly able to support life and it has water.

How fast can a rocket go in space?-Billy

The first step for a rocket is to escape Earth’s gravity. This is known as the escape velocity. It’s no so much speed as the amount needed to pull out of our gravity. For Earth, it is something like 11.2 km/s while planets such as Jupiter might need 59.5 km/s. Taken from wiki link…

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Escape_velocity

 Once out in space, firing rockets can keep accelerating us. They can also use the gravity of a planet to make them go faster. This is known as gravity assist or slingshot effect.

 Here is a link answering your question…

http://io9.com/5786083/what-are-the-fastest-spacecrafts-ever-built

Are there any other universes or planets out there?-Billy

Planets? There certainly are. Astronomers have now identified the existence of planets around other stars.

Universes? That’s another story. For us, the universe is everything we have and we are incapable of discovering anything beyond. In science fiction, there is talk of parallel universes where there might be an infinite number but there is no proof of this idea. Here is a wiki link looking at the idea of a multiverse…

 http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Multiverse

What are the planets/the moon/the sun made of?-Billy  

Every atom of you body and making up the world is said to have once been made in a star. The very basic element is hydrogen. Sun’s burn hydrogen fuel through something called nuclear fusion. From stars, all of the elements we commonly know had their origin. The elements found in planets and moons came from the reactions within stars.

Stars tend to form in gaseous clouds. Take a look at this link. You will see a small picture of the Pillars of Creation taken by the  Hubble telescope. In this area of the Eagle Nebula, new stars are forming…

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Star_formation

How far away is space?-Billy You would have to travel 76 miles straight up to get to space.-Josh

If you look at this link, on the right hand side you will see a graphic showing the layers of Earth’s atmosphere…

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Atmosphere_of_Earth

What is beyond a black hole/milky way?-Billy

The black hole and the singularity creating it is an occurrence in space. If you mean what’s beyond a black hole if you enter, some suggest they are a gateway to another universe. I tend to believe it’s a massive object that would crush us through gravity,

Beyond the Milky Way… The Milky Way is our galaxy and is said to be one of billions of galaxies. You would find little in intergalactic space until you manages to enter another galaxy. As we are no where near being able to travel to the nearest star to ours, journeys out of the Milky Way seem extremely unlikely.

What is at the end of a black hole?-Jake

With the singularity in a black hole not allowing even light to escape, going into one is a one way trip. 🙂

Is there any life on mars?-Jake

Others have asked that question and I have provided links but, in my opinion, there is simple life on Mars. We only have to find it. No, I don't believe there are little Martians running around.

What is at the end of the milky way?-Jake

The Milky Way is just a galaxy, one of billions in the universe. If we were to leave our galaxy, there would be a very long journey ahead of us before we reached the next galaxy. I think the Andromeda galaxy is the closest to our Milky Way. Here’s a wiki link…

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Andromeda_Galaxy

Will they ever send anyone to mars?-Jake

 Yes. There are already people looking into the possibility of sending people to live on Mars but we may go to the asteroid belt first. Here is a wiki link…

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Manned_mission_to_Mars

Why do stars only come out at night?  Because the clouds and the sun are in the way and it is not dark. Answer is by Laura (not the question)

Well done, Laura! 🙂

The stars are always there but light travelling through our atmosphere in the daytime prevents us seeing them.

Why does the sun only come out in the day?

The sun doesn’t come out nor does it really rise or set. Our Earth turns on its axis as it orbits the sun. As it turns, different parts of the Earth move into sunlight or pass into night. Here is a link to a You Tube video showing the revolving Earth…

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=D3H5Tlw1Ozo&feature=related

Also, our Earth has a slight tilt to the plane of our orbit. As Earth moves around the sun, the north might have more sunlight and be in summer and on the opposite side of the sun, the south has more sunlight while the north has winter.

Here is a link to a post I made for a boy asking about seasons…

http://rossmannellcomments.edublogs.org/2012/05/23/for-royce-on-seasons/

Why does Saturn have rings?

This question was already asked so here is what was said…

It has been suggested the rings could be the debris of a large icy moon that lost its icy shell before crashing into Saturn. Here is a wiki link looking at Saturn and its rings…

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Rings_of_Saturn

Is there more than 1 universe out there?

Billy asked a similar question. Here is the answer I left…

Universes? That’s another story. For us, the universe is everything we have and we are incapable of discovering anything beyond. In science fiction, there is talk of parallel universes where there might be an infinite number but there is no proof of this idea. Here is a wiki link looking at the idea of a multiverse…

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Multiverse

Can animals survive in space?

 In space, life can’t exist. For animals, they would need spacesuits to breathe and protect them from radiation. If we were dropped into space without a suit, we wouldn't survive.

 

Why does your head blow up if you don’t wear a space helmet? By Zara

What a gruesome question. 🙂 I have seen films showing this. They use the idea of the lack of pressure in space. Our bodies are suited to the atmospheric pressure on Earth. Our bodies hold us together. In space, where there is virtually no atmospheric pressure, our bodies would suffer but I’m not sure about the idea of heads exploding. Here is a link…

http://imagine.gsfc.nasa.gov/docs/ask_astro/answers/970603.html

Is there alien life forms out in other universes-Gracin

As I don't believe there are other universes we can experience other than our own, I would say no but I did give a link to Billy looking at the idea of multiverses…

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Multiverse

Can we ever travel to mars?- Callum

Yes. We have already sent unmanned missions to Mars. Manned mission would be something for the future. Here is a link to Mars missions…

http://mars.jpl.nasa.gov/

How are black holes formed?- Callum

A black hole form when a massive star collapses under its own gravity.

Is there water in space?- Callum

Yes. Comets for example tend to contain water ice.

Why can we not roll the moon- Zack

 I’m sorry, I didn't quite understand.

 

Does every star have a name-Thomas

Many stars simply have code names. SN 1979C was the name given to a star that went supernova in 1979. I was able to see its light at night without a telescope. It is no longer visible without powerful telescopes.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/SN_1979C

What is the hottest planet-Thomas The hottest planet is Venus with temperatures up to 464 degrees celsius.-Josh

Here is a link looking at temperatures of the planets…

http://www.universetoday.com/35664/temperature-of-the-planets/

How small are the stars- Zack

There is a large variation in star sizes from dwarf to super giant stars. Have a look at this link…

http://www.co-intelligence.org/newsletter/comparisons.html

Is there an order of planets- Brya

Planet order normally looks at a planets location to its sun. For our Solar System, the order is…

 Mercury, Venus, Earth, Mars, Jupiter, Saturn, Uranus, and Neptune. Pluto is no longer classed as a planet. Here is a link …

http://www.enchantedlearning.com/subjects/astronomy/planets/

How small are the planets- Brya

In 1930, Pluto was officially discovered and was called a planet, our ninth. In more recent years it has been renamed a dwarf planet. Here is a link showing what a planet now needs to be…

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/IAU_definition_of_planet

You will see it has to satisfy three points…

1. It must orbit a sun

2. It must have sufficient mass to take on a nearly round shape

3. It must have cleared the neighbourhood around its orbit (meaning no other smaller bodies share orbit)

Why do planets have to be spaced out.-Ciara

 If planets are too close to each other, their gravities will interact. They may be drawn together and collide. This is thought to have happened to two bodies in the early Solar System history. On collision, material was thrown into space to become our Moon and the rest made up our Earth.

 

Why do we have to use a spaceships into space why not a plane-Ciara

Spaceships are designed to make life possible in space. Without them, we would not be able to survive the radiation, cold and lack of air to breath. As there is no air and planes need air to fly, they wouldn't work. Planes can fly by their engines forcing air over their wings to give them lift. No air, no lift, no flight.

Why is there no gravity in space-Ciara

In order to have gravity, there must be mass. When out in space away from any large objects we would simply float for an eternity.

 

How do we float when the gravity has stopped-Ciara

Gravity pulls us towards the centre of our planet. When we are too far away, there is no gravity and we can float. If you have every ridden one of those rides where you are lifted high in the air on chairs then suddenly dropped, you can get the feeling of being weightless.

 

Why can’t planets move around, Why do they stay where they are-Ciara

They don’t. All planets, including our Earth, are in motion. They spin on their axes giving day and night and they orbit the sun. Our Solar System is also moving as it circle around the centre of our galaxy, The Milky Way.  Our galaxy is also moving as it continues its journey away from where the universe all began.

We are certainly moving.

Will the sun ever die?-Kurt

 When the sun eventually runs out of hydrogen fuel, it will eventually ‘die’. Stars also have a life cycle. Some end up cooling and grow cold while large stars can end in massive supernova.

Here is a link on the life cycle of the sun…

http://www.universetoday.com/56522/life-cycle-of-the-sun/

How many stars are there?-Kurt Answer:There are thousands of Millions of stars alone in the Milky Way, but nobody knows for sure how many there are in the Galaxy probably millions of millions!-Michaela

Here is an answer I shared with Josh…

I have read estimates of 125 billion galaxies in the universe. That is 125,000,000,000 galaxies. Now, if our galaxy, The Milk Way, has around the estimated 300 billion stars, that’s 300,000,000,000 and if we assume (probably wrongly) each galaxy were to have similar number of stars, that would be…

37,500,000,000,000,000,000,000 stars in the universe
A link about the number of galaxies…

http://imagine.gsfc.nasa.gov/docs/ask_astro/answers/021127a.html

and our Milky Way galaxy…

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Milky_Way

Why is the Sun the biggest planet - why can't pluto or earth be?

The sun is a star and not a planet. It is large enough to start burning the hydrogen fuel it contains. Jupiter was not quite large enough. Had it been, there might have been two stars in our sky.

If earth had been the size of the sun, we wouldn't be able to live on it due to the pressure and temperature.

 

Are UFOs real.-Sam

UFO means Unidentified Flying Objects. In that sense I have seen many. I look up into the sky and see something I can't recognise and therefore it is an UFO. If you mean alien spacecraft, many believe they are true and exist. My problem with the idea is the distance they would have had to travel to reach us from even the nearest star to our sun. It would take a huge amount of time so we would need to ask, why would they come?

Do I believe? I don't disbelieve but I have never seen anything I consider absolute proof.

How much gravity is there in space.-Sam

Away from any objects with mass, there is no gravity. Gravity needs objects with mass in order to exist.

Why do we weigh less in space.-Sam

Weight comes when gravity acts on mass. When we are away from our planet, we have the same mass but, without gravity, we don't have any weight.

Are there different types of star and do they have names. Lorie

There are a number of star types. Some have been named but many simply have codes. I calculated the possible number of stars in the universe as 37,500,000,000,000,000,000,000  Imagine trying to come up with names for each. 🙂

Here is a link showing some star types…

http://space.about.com/od/stars/tp/What-Are-The-Different-Types-Of-Stars.htm

Why did they call that group of white stars the milky way. Lorie

Our own sun is part of the Milky Way. Our Solar System orbits the centre of our galaxy where they believe there is probably a massive black hole. If you are out in the countryside away from city and town lights, on a clear night you can see what looks like a cloud amongst the stars. This is the glow of billions of stars.

 

How far apart are the planets. Mason

Here is a link giving information of the distance of each planet from the sun…

http://wiki.answers.com/Q/What_is_the_distance_of_all_planets_from_the_sun

What does  space look like. Mason

Look up in the sky at night. If you were out in space, you would see the lights of many stars.

 

Why is there gravity on earth but not in space.-Georgia  The force of Gravity changes the further you get away from Earth. –Michaela

Well done, Michaela.

 

Why is there water on mars is there life on mars.-Georgia

Now we know water exists, our next step is to find life. With water, there is a chance but don’t expect more than perhaps bacteria.

 

Is there people on mars. Chelsea

From what we know of Mars, complex life like ours never had a chance to evolve.

 

Is there a order of planets. Chelsea.

Brya asked  the same question. Here is what I wrote…

Planet order normally looks at a planets location to its sun. For our Solar System, the order is…

 Mercury, Venus, Earth, Mars, Jupiter, Saturn, Uranus, and Neptune. Pluto is no longer classed as a planet. Here is a link …

http://www.enchantedlearning.com/subjects/astronomy/planets/

How did space get made?-Janaya

Laura asked a similar question. Here is the answer…

One of the leading theories of how space was created is The Big Bang Theory (no the television show). It is thought the universe was once in an extremely hot and dense state known as a singularity then rapidly expanded and cooled. This might have been as much as 13.7 billion years ago. As the energy from the singularity cooled, subatomic particles formed and eventually joined to form the first and simplest element, hydrogen with some traces of helium and lithium. Clouds of these elements would have collapsed under gravity to form stars and galaxies. Here is a wiki link to the Big Bang Theory…

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Big_Bang

As all of this expanded, space came into existence. It makes you wonder where the singularity came from, the moment it started to expand and what was there before it started its expansion. Our universe is still expanding.

 

How did space get named? -Janaya Maybe it’s just because there is a lot of SPACE in space. –Michaela

I like this question and love Michaela’s answer. 🙂

 

Is it possible to count the stars, if so how many are there? It is impossible to humans being able to count the stars because there is thousands of millions of stars! -Michaela

Josh asked a similar question. Here is the answer…

I have read estimates of 125 billion galaxies in the universe. That is 125,000,000,000 galaxies. Now, if our galaxy, The Milk Way, has around the estimated 300 billion stars, that’s 300,000,000,000 and if we assume (here probably wrongly) each galaxy were to have similar number of stars, that would be…

37,500,000,000,000,000,000,000 stars in the universe
A link about the number of galaxies…

http://imagine.gsfc.nasa.gov/docs/ask_astro/answers/021127a.html

and our Milky Way galaxy…

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Milky_Way

Do the stars move every time they appear? -Michaela

Planets, stars, solar systems and galaxies are all moving. When pour planet rotates on its axis, we have day and night as the Earth’s surface moves around in the sunlight. As Earth orbits around the sun, we have the seasons. With all of this movement, the stars seem to move but it is really us. They are too far for we wo be able to see their movement.

Will and how will we find water-Ciara

Water has already been found on the Moon and Mars. The question now is how much. If there is enough water, people will one day live on Mars and the Moon.

How is a black hole made-Ciara

Josh asked a similar question…

The black hole isn’t the remainder of a massive star. It’s the singularity in the black hole that is what’s left of the massive star. Have a look at this link to see an animation of a black hole…

http://www.kidsastronomy.com/black_hole.htm

You can see there is a singularity in the middle. Around the singularity there is the inner and outer event horizon. An event horizon is the point of no return. If you were in a space ship and passed the event, there would be no escaping the gravitational pull. Within the event horizon, not even light escapes making the area within the event horizon appear black from outside.

Here is another link talking about time and event horizons…

http://imagine.gsfc.nasa.gov/docs/ask_astro/answers/011024a.html

Is there life in different universes and if there is are they more intelligent-Gracin

We don’t know of any life outside Earth at this time. It’s always possible there are many more planets with life, hopefully many with intelligent life. What a waste it would be if we were the only planet with intelligent life.

Is there a water supply on different planets-Gracin

We only know of water on Mars but it has also been found on the Moon and on Jupiter’s moon, Europa. A link for Europa…

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Europa_%28moon%29

What do aliens look like-Gracin

As yet we haven’t found any so we don’t know. 🙂

 

How do aliens get a supply of food-Gracin

You are looking at something called exobiology, the study of life not on Earth. We haven’t found any life outside Earth yet but it would be interesting to study when we do.

Is there other planets that we haven't discovered yet-Gracin

With so many stars in the universe, the are huge numbers of planets to discover. If you mean in our solar system, there is an area known as the Kuiper Belt where there are many objects thought to be more like asteroids. The Kuiper Belt is out beyond all of the planets. Here is a link…

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kuiper_belt

How does saturn keep the rings around it stable-Gracin

Gravity holds them in place but they will eventually either fall into Saturn or escape into space.

Where does a black hole lead to? Gracin

Some have suggested black holes might lead to other universes but I think most believe as trip into one is a one way trip. We would be crushed.

For the original post from Mrs. Ranney’s Class…

Sizzling Summer Solstice

* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *

Schools and students have permission to use this graphic for non-commercial, educational purposes.

Cold Winter Solstice

In the Southern Hemisphere, winter has begun.

The first day of winter is the Winter Solstice.   During the summer time, I see the sun rise to the approximate east of my house yet, now it’s winter, the sun rises to the north-east and sets to the north-west. Days are now at their shortest. For us, we now have the longest nights.

Our Summer Solstice comes in December. As you can see, The Northern Hemisphere and Southern Hemisphere work in opposites. The only times we have about the same length day comes during the Spring Equinox and Autumn Equinox when day and night are the same length.

Have you ever wondered what happens to day length at the equator?

They also have equinox and solstice but day length doesn’t change quite as much as us.

…and at the North Pole and South Pole?

The Summer Solstice at the poles is one of 24 hours of daylight. The sun doesn’t set.

The Winter Solstice at the poles is one of 24 hours of night. The sun never rises.

Between the two, 24 hour night slowly gives way to sunrise. The day starts to grow in length. Eventually, the sun doesn’t set and can be seen in the sky all day. From there, eventually the sun does set for a short time before rising. Slowly nights become longer and the cycle starts again.

Some time ago, I prepared a post for a US student discussing the seasons. Here is a link…

http://rossmannellcomments.edublogs.org/2012/05/23/for-royce-on-seasons/

Our world is an amazing place. We orbit the sun at a slight tilt allowing us to have seasons. Earth lies in the Cinderella Zone around our sun where it’s not too hot an not too cold for life to exist. It’s a pretty good place to be, especially in summer. 🙂

@RossMannell

4 Comments

Hello Year 4,

My classes always enjoyed “Fun with Magnets”, that’s what I called our look into magnetism when I had a class.

I can see by your worksheets in the photos, you had to choose objects, decide what material was in the object, predict what might happen then record your results. This is pretty much the way scientists carry out experiments.

Did you notice not all metals were attracted to magnets?

You tend to find metals must be ferrous (containing iron) to work. I suppose that would mean, if you were to include very small metals filaments (string) into paper, then paper would be picked up by magnets. J

At one school I ran a Double Helix Science Club for children interested in science. Each week we would have a different science activity or experiment to carry out. Here are a few of the activities from the Science Club book I had written. You can click on an image to enlarge it.

 

Schools and students have permission to print and use this graphic for non-commercial, educational purposes.

 

 

Schools and students have permission to print and use this graphic for non-commercial, educational purposes.

Schools and students have permission to print and use this graphic for non-commercial, educational purposes.

Schools and students have permission to print and use this graphic for non-commercial, educational purposes.

Enjoy science, it will help you discover the world around you.

@Ross Mannell