Physics at Home Archive - Page 3

Nebraska Astronomy Applet Project: Extrasolar Planets Lab ` - Feb 1, 2012

Visit Nebraska Astronomy Applet Project: Extrasolar Planets Lab to try to simulations of how extrasolar planets are detected indirectly--that is, without making an image of the planet.

Also, check out Planet Quest Interactives, and click on one of the simulations. You can choose from Extreme Planet Makeover, Planet Quest Timeline, and Alien Safari.

Bottled tornado ` - Jan 1, 2012

Make your own vortex at home--see Bottled tornado for how to do it. And be sure you have an adult with you.

Alternately, you can purchase a connector for the two bottles, with a hole in the middle--just google "vortex bottle" to find a vendor.

A Magnet That Drips: Making Ferrofluids ` - Dec 1, 2011

Ferrofluids like the ones pictured above are not difficult to make--you can prepare your own by following the instructions at A Magnet That Drips: Making Ferrofluids. Since the ferrofluid will be messy, make sure your work area is easy to clean. Also, be sure you have an adult working with you.

Time Traveler ` - Nov 1, 2011

Try these two activities showing how special relativity affects time during space travel:
-- NOVA's Time Traveler, in which the traveling twin ages less than the state-at-home twin
-- the Exploratorium's Voyage to Epsilon Eridani 3 on how the time of a journey is measured differently by the traveler than by someone who stays at home.

S'Cool: Observing Contrails ` - Oct 1, 2011

Visit NASA's S'Cool: Observing Contrails for images of various cloud types, related information, and cloud observing tips.

Geocaching ` - Sep 1, 2011

Do you have a GPS at home? Try taking it outside and exploring your area with Geocaching. It's a modern-day treasure hunting game, using your GPS to find packages left by fellow "Geocachers." All you have to do is sign up on the website, search for geocaches near you, put in the coordinates, and go! Be sure to have an adult with you.

Fractals Unit: Iterative Formation ` - Aug 2, 2011

You don't have to graph complicated equations to create your own fractal--you can create your own on plain paper by following the directions at Fractals Unit: Iterative Formation. There are several simple patterns you can try, such as the Von Koch curve.

(This feature was updated on September 2, 2013.)

Reduced Gravity Demonstrator ` - Jul 1, 2011

To find out how to build a drop tower to investigate apparent weightlessness, see the NASA site Reduced Gravity Demonstrator. Be sure to have adult help if you try this. (BTW, it's a challenging and expensive project.)

Also, check out this NASA video to see astronaut David Scott drop a hammer and a feather on the moon.

This issue was updated on 07/11/2011.

Double Pendulum Model ` - Jun 8, 2011

For a simulation of the double pendulum, click here; then, in the new window, click on "download ejs mech..." and then click on the "Double Pendulum" window. Get the double pendulum started by clicking and dragging the two masses to different heights.

Calculate Your Radiation Dose ` - May 12, 2011

Visit Calculate Your Radiation Dose to calculate your annual radiation dose, and see this EPA page on health effects to learn about normal doses of radiation. To find out more about natural sources of radiation, visit Sources of Radiation Natural Background Sources by the Nuclear Regulatory Commission (and don't miss the two links at the bottom). Also, food, especially the banana, is slightly radioactive, as described in this short Discover Magazine piece.

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