Posted June 27, 2011
This solar flare on June 7 also included a coronal mass ejection (or CME) event that may be the largest ever recorded. The Sun is entering a much more active phase of solar storm and flare activity, which will likely peak in 2013 or 2014. This CME was pointed away from the Earth, so no effect on our satellites was observed, but solar storms can disrupt communications satellites and even the power grid.
Posted June 20, 2011
In honor of the sixth month of the year, here is the Periodic Table of Videos entry on element number six, carbon. One of the most important and versatile elements of all, carbon can take on at least six very different allotropes including graphite, diamond, C60, and the substance that won Andre Geim and Konstantin Novoselov the 2010 Nobel Prize for physics, grapheme.
Posted June 13, 2011
The period of a pendulum depends on its length and the strength of the local gravitational field. (A carefully constructed pendulum is so sensitive it can be used to find deposits of dense minerals in the ground because they create a slightly stronger gravitational field around them.) This set of pendula of incrementally increasing lengths displays beautiful patterns as they oscillate at slightly different frequencies.
Posted June 6, 2011
Videos like this one are a great reminder that much of the Earth is still largely unexplored. The northeast Pacific Ocean is very seismically active as the Juan de Fuca plate subducts under the North American Plate. This leads to underwater vents known as "black smokers," where chemosynthetic bacteria form the base of a ecosystem that does not rely on the Sun for energy.
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.