Posted October 31, 2011
This is a pretty cool device, made up of 36 cameras arranged in a ball that you can toss up into the air. At the top of the trajectory, it takes a panoramic image that you can download to a computer and examine later at home. The device can tell when it is at the top of the path because its velocity will be a minimum at that point (but not its acceleration … remember, it is accelerating throughout the trajectory.) YouTube link
Posted October 24, 2011
Element 10: neon
As the 10th month of the year, October is the right time to check out the Periodic Videos segment on Neon, element 10 on the periodic table. We are most familiar with neon used in lighted signs where a small amount of neon is contained in a curved glass tube. A high voltage across the tube causes the neon gas to glow in the characteristic red-orange color. Other colors in the signs are produced either with other gases, or by painting the outside of the tube. YouTube link
Posted October 17, 2011
Aurora Australis from Space:
This short time-lapse video shows the aurora australis, or southern lights, as seen from the International Space Station. Auroras are caused by charged particles from the solar wind interacting with the Earth's magnetic field where it is most dense, near the north and south poles. Addendum: see this article about a display of the northern lights in Michigan in October 2011, with accompanying video.
Posted October 10, 2011
How fast wildfire spreads:
Virtually the entire state of Texas has been suffering from an exceptional drought through the summer of 2011. The dry conditions, high winds, and high temperatures all contributed to many wildfires across the state. This video gives a good sense of just how quickly a wildfire moves from tree to tree and across open grassland. | YouTube link
Posted October 3, 2011
While the language is a bit sloppy in this video ("speedy," "fastest," and "accelerator" are used with little explanation), the high-speed footage of the spores launching is worth a look. Students will likely also enjoy the fact that the fungus lives on horse poop. | YouTube link
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.