Physics at Home Archive

Near-Earth Object Program ` - Oct 16, 2020

Asteroids are usually shown between the orbits of Mars and Jupiter, but they also swing in as far as Earth's orbit, and frequently. At the time of this writing, astronomers have identified 1156 potentially hazardous asteroids, so-called because of their large size and close projected approach to Earth.

- To learn more about asteroid detection and impact risk, check out the NASA's Near-Earth Object Program.
- For daily updates about the Earth's local environment, read

How to Build a Spectroscope ` - Oct 1, 2020

Learn how to build your own spectroscope using household items at How to Build a Spectroscope. If you don't have a diffraction grating or rainbow glasses at home, you might try to build a spectroscope with a cereal box and a CD instead.

Build an Air Cannon ` - Sep 16, 2020

You can build your own "vortex generator" with just a few simple, household materials.  The Rochester Museum and Science Center's Science Experiment of the Week: Air Cannon shows how to build an air cannon from a plastic bottle, clip wrap, and rubber bands--just be sure to have an adult working with you.  There are even experiments that you can do with your new cannon.  

This feature was updated on July 6, 2009.

Physclips: Gravity, Newton's laws and the orbits of the planets ` - Sep 1, 2020

To help visualize how planets move under the force of gravity from the sun, check out these animations from the University of New South Wales.

If you liked this activity, you may also be interested in How Things Fly: Kepler's Laws of Orbital Motion.

Miller-Urey Experiment ` - Jun 16, 2020

Try your hand at the origin of life (one possible step of it, anyway) with Miller-Urey Experiment, an interactive simulation of how life first formed in the primordial ooze on Earth. You choose the chemicals that go in, and then you see if what comes out is part of a protein molecule. To learn more, visit The Miller-Urey Experiment.

Get the Drop on Pixels ` - May 16, 2020

Use your monitor as a light source to see how pixels on the screen generate colors. Try it!!

SETI Institute ` - Feb 16, 2020

Check out the "Activities" section of the National Radio Astronomy Observatory's SETI Institute. Don't miss "Make Your Own Radio Image."

Model of a Carousel ` - Sep 1, 2015

You can investigate circular motion with Walter Fendt's simulation Model of a Carousel by changing the variables and observing the resulting motion.  Be sure to choose the option "Carousel with forces"--the red arrow gives the direction of the net force, which is the same as the direction of the acceleration.

How Things Fly: Kepler's Laws of Orbital Motion ` - Sep 1, 2013

Visit How Things Fly: Kepler's Laws of Orbital Motion to visualize the predictions of Kepler's laws.

LaserFest ` - Aug 1, 2013

Check out these videos of laser light shows (from the 50th anniversary of the laser celebration).

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