In less than a year, our public planetarium programs will resume in the Multi-media Learning Center (MLC) in the CCIT building at Frostburg State. CCIT stands for Center for Communication and Information Technology. I am hoping to start our public programs with a review of recent weather events, illustrated by pictures of local clouds. For some of the most beautiful sights in nature, easily visible to the eye are the clouds that pass over us each day. The most striking space pictures are of nebulae (clouds) in deep space, taken by space telescopes and by special digital cameras on Earth. What’s ironic is that these celestial images are the products of long exposure imaging and near perfect guiding by telescopes. When one looks through a sizable telescope, only a pale glimpse of these images can be seen. The clouds over our heads don’t require special image processing and can be seen easily by eye. Yet so many of us scarcely notice these delicate sky tapestries. So our programs will reveal the beauty of our atmosphere and encourage us to be day sky watchers. In our solar system, the skies of the Earth are unmatched in beauty. For Mercury, the asteroids, most moons of the planets and the dwarf planets don’t have atmospheres that allow cloud formation. Venus and the giant planets have dense cloud blankets. The planet Mars has gigantic dust storms. Saturn’s big moon Titan is swathed in a soupy smog of ozone and hydrocarbons. Only rarely would one spot Saturn with its rings from the surface of Titan. Robert Matthews has a fascinating collection of questions titled “Q and A: Cosmic conundrums and everyday mysteries of science” published in 2005 by Oneworld publishers with ISBN 13:978-1-85168-449-6 (paperback) (Conundrum in the subtitle refers to phenomena that have a surprising explanation.) I will consider a few of the meteorological questions that Matthews considers. Can one see a double rainbow? Ordinarily, there is just one rainbow seen. This requires that the sun be visible (to you) and that there be rain falling in the opposite direction as the sun. Then facing away from the sun, a rainbow is visible with red on top and beneath are orange, yellow, green, blue and a delicate violet on the bottom. The single rainbow is due to the sun’s light being reflected once at the back of many raindrops. The spreading of the colors are due to dispersion, the bending of light that varies by colors with red bent the least and violet the most. A secondary rainbow or double rainbow is due to the sun’s light being reflected twice within the raindrops. The secondary rainbow is quite delicate and surrounds the primary rainbow. It’s colors are reversed with violet on top and red on the bottom. How much rain does an inch of snowfall consist of (if the snow were to melt)? There’s no easy answer as there are different types of snow. An inch of the fluffiest snow is equivalent to one fiftieth of an inch of rain. This kind of snow is the easiest to shovel off your driveway or whisk off your car. Thick or moist snowfall is equivalent to one fourth of an inch of rain. This type of snow is difficult to shovel off a driveway. For ordinary snow, one inch equals one tenth of an inch of rain. What is wind-chill based on? The wind-chill is based on how quickly one’s bare skin loses heat at a given wind speed and temperature. The latest wind chill formula, based on measurements and computer simulations tells us that a 20 mile per hour wind at 0 C (32 F) makes us feel as if it is -7 C or 19 F with no wind. SKY SIGHTS AHEAD: The moon is now a crescent in the southeastern dawn. Tomorrow morning the crescent moon appears near the planet Mars. On the evening of Oct. 4, the moon will swing from the morning to the evening side of the sun. Venus is a steady point of light low in the southwest and seen as early as 7:30 p.m. Bob Doyle invites any readers comments and questions. E-mail him at firstname.lastname@example.org . He is available as a speaker on his column topics.
- Bob Doyle - Astronomy
What life is found on the deep ocean floor?
I recently purchased “Oceans: A Visual Guide” by S. Hutchinson and L. E. Hawkins. “Oceans” is a Firefly book, published in 2008 with ISBN 13-978-1-55407-427-3 (paperback).
Children’s book has some interesting facts
Even though I have not traveled much, I have always been interested in geography.
Walking is natural, but not most efficient
What makes walking so natural and without much effort for most of us? Human walking can be related to the swing of a pendulum.
Humans are living in the ‘Middle World’
Last year, the book “Spectrums: Our Mind-Boggling Universe from Infinitesimal to Infinity” by David Blatner was published by Walker and Company. Its ISBN is 978-0-8027-1770-2 (hardback).
Science has big role in the game of baseball
Baseball is a sport that lends itself to mathematical analysis. The below numbers are from “All the Right Angles,” a comprehensive compilation of studies of athletics (all the classic American sports as well as Cycling, Crickets, Track/Field and Soccer).
The author is Joel Levy and the book is from Firefly publishers with ISBN 13:978-1-77085-196-2.
‘Short History’ covers just about everything
Astronomy, my field has a number of popular books that start from the beginning of time and advance to the present.
There’s a reason we measure it in ‘feet’
This writer often wishes that Americans would adopt more rational British ways, particularly in politics. An exception is our retaining the standard British units of weights and measures.
Teachers can convert those shallow learners
In my last column, I proposed that learners in a class might be divided into three levels.
Students often display different learning levels
Might there be a better way of understanding students’ difficulties in learning? Some ideas that have been widely explored include learning styles, multiple intelligences and bloom’s taxonomy.
In my opinion, these outlooks have not been successful in devising widespread strategies to make our students better learners. Now there is much talk about large scale use of external internet courses to revolutionize college learning (and to put most colleges out of business).
Our skies unmatched in the solar system
In less than a year, our public planetarium programs will resume in the Multi-media Learning Center (MLC) in the CCIT building at Frostburg State. CCIT stands for Center for Communication and Information Technology. I am hoping to start our public programs with a review of recent weather events, illustrated by pictures of local clouds. For some of the most beautiful sights in nature, easily visible to the eye are the clouds that pass over us each day.
- More Bob Doyle - Astronomy Headlines
- What life is found on the deep ocean floor?