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Tag: weather

SciStreet: Augmented Reality Sandbox

Science on the Street’s Augmented Reality Sandbox is an adaptation of the original sandbox designed at UC Davis. SciStreet created this version of the sandbox to be portable and adaptable to many different locations. The sandbox runs off a projector, an XBox Kinect, and a laptop running the projection software. As visitors push the sand around, the topographic map updates in real time, allowing them to witness the effects of their actions. The sandbox displays a number of different properties and can be used to discuss various geographic concepts. It has a color-coded elevation map: white for the highest elevation and blue for the lowest. There are topographic contour lines which match the elevation map. It even has a feature to simulate rainfall, by holding your hand above the the sand. Whether you’re learning about how to read topographic maps, water flow, or watersheds, the AR Sandbox is an excellent… Read More

Curiosity Challenge: Weather and Animals in Antarctica

“What’s the weather like in Antarctica?” — Aaliyah Bester, 7 “How do animals survive in the Antarctic?” — Josephine Sawyer, 8 My friend Rachel stands on the bottom of the world with the Geographic South Pole marker! Courtesy of Rachel Bowens-Rubin. The Antarctic is a really “cool” place–both because of how neat it is, and because it’s so cold!  In fact, the coldest temperature ever recorded on Earth was −89.4 °C (−128.9 °F), at the Vostok Station in Antarctica.  I’ve been hearing a lot about Antarctica lately because my friend Rachel has just returned from a trip to the South Pole, which is right in the middle of the continent.  Rachel is an astrophysicist, which means that she studies the physics of stars and planets by looking at them through a telescope.  She was using a telescope at the South Pole to search for special waves in space that might… Read More

Curiosity Challenge: “What is Global Warming?”

“What is Global Warming?”  — Madi Corvi, Age 12   You’ve asked a very important question, Madi, and one of my favorite topics to talk about!  Lots of scientists have been wondering what has been causing the hottest years on record (most of which have been happening in the past decade), and if humans are part of the cause.  They agree that the earth has been heating up and cooling because of natural reasons (like volcanic eruptions, or changes on the sun) for thousands of years…but the recent temperature increase has been sharper than ever before.  Since that temperature spike has occurred during the time when humans have been on the planet, most scientists agree that humans are probably the cause.  When talking about global warming, it’s important to make it clear whether we’re talking about natural climate cycles or anthropogenic–a word that means “caused by people”–climate change.   There… Read More

Why Are Clouds White?

Gianna, Age 6, asked: Gianna’s entry was entitled “A Day in the Sun”   Great question, Gianna! To answer it, we have to first talk about waves, like the kind you see in the ocean. Ocean waves look sort of like this: Scientists call the top of the wave the “peak” of the wave. The arrows point to the peaks of the wave. Waves can come in different sizes. The wave on the top is “shorter” than the wave on the bottom, because the distance between two peaks is bigger: Smaller wave Bigger wave Believe it or not, light is a kind of wave, too! Like with ocean waves, we can say whether the light wave is big or small, depending on the distance between two peaks. Small wave Big wave Now, light comes in lots of different colors, right? Well, it also comes in lots of different sizes! Some… Read More