Posted March 28, 2011
Antenna time lapse:
Radio telescopes get information about distant stars, clusters, and galaxies by collecting radio waves these astronomical objects emit. Radio waves are the longest wavelength of light, much too long for humans to see with our eyes, but with instruments like these astronomers are able to "see" these wavelengths. Behind the telescopes, the Milky Way and other stars appear to turn through the night as the Earth rotates on its axis.
Posted March 21, 2011
Yosemite ice floe:
I had no idea that nature could make a giant slushy, but Yosemite falls creates this material, known as "frazil ice" which behaves something like a lava floe. The frazil ice forms when the mist from the falls freezes and then fills Yosemite Creek, and can overflow the banks of the creek. March and April are the best time to see this phenomenon, so if your spring break allows you to make a trip, you should check it out.
Posted March 14, 2011
Steam-powered toy boat:
We are long past the age of steam, but it still is a neat demonstration of how heat can be converted into motion. The candle heats and boils a little bit of water in the "boiler," converting some of the liquid water to vapor (steam). Since the vapor takes up much more volume than the liquid, it finds an exit through one of the pipes out the back of the boat. This provides a push backward, and the boat moves forward. More water is pushed into the boiler down the other pipe, and you have a putt-putt boat.
Posted March 7, 2011
The space shuttle Discovery is currently docked to the International Space Station on its final mission, STS 133. Mission updates are available here. This time-lapse movie gives you some idea of the process the shuttle went through before each flight.
Jacob Clark Blickenstaff is Assistant Professor of Physics and Assistant Director of the Center for Science and Mathematics Education at the University of Southern Mississippi.