Scientific Toys For Kids – OnEclipse.com

It’s important to get kids interested in science and engineering when they’re very young. The kids who played with the right science toys at a very young age are going to manage to develop the right science skills at the right time very quickly. They’re automatically going to have a edge over many of their classmates. In many cases, they’re going to have their brains wired to think in a scientific way. Lots of the science toys that are on the market at the moment are going to make all the difference when it comes to training children to think in a scientific manner.

 

Chemistry Sets

chemistry set for kids

 

Even in the Information Age, they’re nothing wrong with getting kids the chemistry sets that science-minded kids would have played with decades ago. With these kits, kids can learn all sorts of different things about how chemical interactions work. As such, an understanding of the behavior of chemicals is going to become intuitive for them, making it that much easier when they take chemistry as teenagers and then as adults.

 

Crystal Growing Kits

 

These are similar to chemistry sets, but they have a predetermined destination. Kids are going to love the results when they grow these crystals, and they’re going to manage to learn a thing or two about following an important scientific procedure. Crystal growing kits are classic science games that have been teaching kids about science and chemistry for decades, and they can continue to do so for Generation Z.

 

Brain Training Apps

 

There are all sorts of apps that people can download to their smartphones today that are going to improve everything from pattern recognition skills to hypothesis testing. Parents are going to vary on the question of when and if they should get their kids smartphones. However, once they decide to do so, they can get their kids games that are going to teach them the critical thinking skills that they’re going to need in order to excel at almost any field of science.

 

The STEM fields ultimately come down to critical thinking skills, and kids are going to need to get a foundation in these. There are also call and chat learning phones that are going to make kids that much more effective at learning to use technology in the first place. Generation Z is broadly going to grow up taking smartphones and the Internet for granted, making it that much more important to get them started on the new tech world early.

 

LEGO Sets

flybrix lego drone for kids

Kids who play with LEGO bricks and LEGO sets are going to be that much more likely to excel at the science and engineering fields. Playing with LEGO’s can improve visual spatial skills and give kids a better understanding of how systems work and how to put things together. The all-purpose LEGO bricks of the past were inadequate compared to the complicated LEGO sets that people can purchase for their kids today. There are all sorts of great LEGO sets out there.

 

Flybrix, a new company who makes cool drones for kids as well as adults using lego brix is doing something fantastic.  The Flybrix Make Your Own LEGO® Drone Kit is one of the best LEGO kits that parents can buy their children for the sake of developing their minds. These are drones that are going to be able to fly, and kids are going to love the finished products as much as they would love any toy that’s this cool. The design for the Flybrix kit is complicated enough that it is going to manage to promote visual spatial skills and problem solving skills in all kids. They’re going to enjoy every minute of assembling this LEGO kit, and they’re going to feel like they really put together something special when they’re finished.

 

 

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Constellations Information For Kids – The Night Sky!

 

When you look up at night, you see a fascinating canvas formed by stars and other objects in the sky. Since ancient times, humans have looked up in the evening and been captivated by the large and beautiful figures they saw. These patterns were so enchanting that people soon began to attach great importance to them. Throughout the ages, people created interesting stories and legends surrounding these giant pictures in the night skies. Many believed the positions of the stars were their gods’ way of communicating with them.

 

Ancient observers tracked the movements of these figures throughout the year and associated these movements with events happening around them. The ancient Chinese associated changes in the skies with the rise and fall of dynasties. The Greeks, building on the early astrological wisdom of Mesopotamia, formed schools across the Hellenic world to study the stars and planets. Our constellations take their names from the Greeks. The word zodiac is based on a set of Greek words meaning “circle of animals.”

 

The constellations have had practical value throughout history as well. Before the calendar was invented, people tracked seasons by the stars. Constellations made the positions of the stars easy to remember. For example, when people began to see the constellation Orion they knew that winter was coming soon. The Summer Triangle let people know when spring and summer were near. Tracking the stars and constellations enabled farmers to plan ahead, aiding in the formation of agriculture.

 

The constellations also helped with sea navigation. The height of Polaris, the North Star, in the sky enabled one to determine latitude. This helped ships to sail across the world, and made possible the discovery of America and the spread of cultures and civilizations.

 

The constellations still have a practical purpose today. They help astronomers track the locations of the stars. If an astronomer simply gives the number coordinates of a star or object, other astronomers may not be able to tell immediately where it is located. But by saying the star’s name is Alpha Tau, others know immediately it is in the constellation Taurus. Astronomers name some stars by the constellation they are in and their position or brightness. The naming system uses the Greek alphabet. For example, Alpha Orionis, better known as Betelgeuse, is one of the brightest stars in Orion.

 

Constellations also give us a look into the past. The light we see from some stars may have begun its journey to the earth billions of years ago. The stars in each constellation are not necessarily close together. Some stars may appear bright because they are closer, while others may be the same distance away but look dim because they are smaller stars.

 

There are currently 88 official constellations in the sky. This includes 48 constellations categorized by the ancient Greek astronomer Ptolemy and 40 other constellations added since then. Not all constellations are visible all the time from any one place on earth, but together the 88 constellations cover the entire night sky as seen from all around the planet.

 

Here are some of the more well-known constellations:

 

Orion, the Great Hunter

The largest constellation, Orion, is visible in all its majesty in the early mornings in late summer and fall, and in the evenings during the first part of winter.

 

Gemini, the Twins

The Twins are companions of Orion. Gemini is visible in the early mornings during fall and early winter and in the evenings during late winter.

 

Leo, the Lion

Leo is another close associate of Orion. It is easy to find near Orion because of its distinctive shape.

 

Scorpius, the Scorpion

The beautiful Scorpius is visible in mid-summer in the northern hemisphere. Its splendor makes an appearance only in the months of July, August, and September.

 

Taurus, the Bull

Another companion of Orion, Taurus is located directly above the Great Hunter. In addition to the red giant star Aldebaran, Taurus contains the Crab Nebula and the Pleiades cluster.

 

The Big Dipper

Since the Big Dipper is part of the constellation Ursa Major, the Great Bear, it is technically not a true constellation, but an “asterism”, which is an easily recognized pattern of stars. Nevertheless, the Big Dipper is one of the most famous figures in the night sky and is a landmark used to find other prominent sights. It also played a pivotal part in United States history.

 

The Little Dipper

The Little Dipper is also an asterism, as it belongs to the constellation Ursa Minor, the Little Bear. The ancient Phoenicians used the Little Dipper for navigation.

 

Andromeda

 

Andromeda constellation is among the most impressive sights in the northern winter sky, appearing high overhead in November and December. This constellation also is adjacent to the large Andromeda galaxy.

 

For more information about constellations, visit these websites:

 

Chris Dolan’s constellations site – http://www.astro.wisc.edu/~dolan/constellations/

 

The Hawaiian Astronomical Society’s constellations site – http://www.hawastsoc.org/deepsky/constellations.html

 

Rich Dibon-Smith’s site describes the mythology behind constellations – http://www.dibonsmith.com/constel.htm

 

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The beginning of the European Space Agency’s LISA Pathfinder

LISA Lab in space

Howdy Folks, I was just reading some about The LISA Pathfinder and wanted to bring this to the attention of anyone out there reading!

The European Space Agency’s LISA Pathfinder has began its science mission after a long series of tests. The aim is to prove key technologies and techniques that are needed in order to view gravitational waves from space.

As predicted by Albert Einstein a century ago, gravitational waves fluctuate in the fabric of space and time which are produced by exotic astronomical events like supernova explosions or the development of two black holes.

Only recently were the first waves detected therefore inaugurating the era of gravitational astronomy.

An essential tool, the future space observatory that’s sensitive to gravitational waves with longer wavelengths than those detected from the ground will be the best approach in this new field of study as it will help in probing the deep space.

Check out this interesting graphical representation of the Pathfinder.

Today, the LISA pathfinder team of scientists and engineers are currently testing technology that is required to extend the quest for gravitational waves. The Pathfinder is specifically designed to achieve the purest known “freefall” which is an extremely challenging factor. In order to solve this, the team released two test masses which were a pair of identical 2 kilogram gold-platinum cubes measuring 2 inches. They were placed inside the spacecraft and verification is on-going to identify their movement under gravity’s effect.

In space, there are forces which have the capability of disturbing the cubes. These forces include radiation and wind from the Sun and therefore they need to be isolated. In order to achieve this, Pathfinder needs to continually measure positions and maneuvers with micro thrusters in order to avoid coming into contact.
“As the two test masses fall freely through space, they should be still since no other force is disrupting their gravitational motion” said Stefano Vitale of the University of Trento and INFN, Italy.
The LISA Pathfinder is currently not capable of detecting gravitational waves by itself. Due to this demonstration, the two freefalling cubes are currently 15 inches apart which is close to record minute wobbles.

The difference in distance is caused by a passing gravitational wave which is small that even a full scale observatory will require masses that are separated by millions of kilometers. This will be able to detect changes of about on millionth of a millionth of a meter.
“The precision required in order to attain future observations of gravitational waves from space is very high therefore demanding an unprecedented understanding of physical forces at play,” said Paul McNamara from ESA.

This is the very essence of LISA Pathfinder mission. The scientists have released the cubes from their locking mechanisms after making sure of obtaining precise freefall and the next six months will be spent running experiments.
The team will apply different forces in order to interfere with their motion as well as study their reaction.A few experiments to be conducted include raising the temperature inside the high vacuum environment , applying stronger magnetic and electric forces in order to access the amount of force needed to divert the cubes from free fall.

“Our main aim is to reduce the forces impact and to learn more about the remaining effects,” said Karsten Danzmann from the Max Planck Institute for Gravitational Physics and from the Institute for Gravitational Physics of Leibniz Universitat Hannover, Germany.
On March 1, the LISA Pathfinder mission officially began which was followed by a formal review of the commissioning on March 7th where the mission was handed to ESA project and industrial teams in order to build it.

The operations are estimated to take six months which are split between 90 days for LISA Technology package and 90 days for Disturbance Reduction system, which is an additional experiment that includes two extra sets provided by NASA’s Jet Propulsion Lab.
“Finally, we are looking forward to demonstrate the thruster system and its ability to maintain the two masses extremely still,” said Charles Dunn from JPL.

LISA Pathfinder precision experiment results will be able to pave way for L3 mission in ESA Cosmic Vision program.
“The mission is currently working well and every measurement performed on the two cubes has enabled us to gain confidence that will lead in the building of a gravitational wave observatory in space.” said Oliver Jennrich from ESA.

Space observation will widen the study of the gravitational universe thanks to its sensitivity to fluctuations produced by supermassive blackholes. When the galaxies collide and merge, high quantities of gravitational waves are released.
The data provided will help in building structures across the universe especially about cosmic history when the first stars and galaxies took shape.

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Youtube Videos Of March Eclipse

Hi Folks, C.G. here back after a month without posting. Sorry about that but retirement brings a lot more travel than working did and I didn’t have a chance to get in here and write anything new.

However that’s changed, I’m back home and ready to start blogging again. This is just in time for the solar eclipse that happened over Asia about 12 hour ago.

This eclipse darkened almost 87% of the sun, some of the videos out there are really great and show a perfect example of an eclipse.

Here are a few eclipse explanation videos as well as a couple videos of the live solar eclipse that happened a few hours ago over parts of Asia.

Looking forward to spending more time blogging and getting some more scientific information out there! Keep on sciencing !


Science expert Emerald Robinson explains what a solar eclipse is.

Tambien lo tienen aqui en espanol para las que hablan espanol.

Here’s a recent eclipse that happened over parts of Asia, but we wouldn’t have had a chance to see it in the United States.

Here’s another great live video from the Singapore area of the most recent solar eclipse.

Hope you enjoyed these videos.
C.G.

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Coronal Holes – What Are They?

Occasionally the sun will, for lack of a better word, blow it’s top!

This is called a Coronal Hole.

The most recent time this happened was in November of 2015. You can read a little bit about it here.

There’s a fantastic set of images you can see of this happening provided by NASA’s Solar Dynamics Observatory spacecraft.

coronal hole 1

coronal hole 2

Reference: Discovermagazine.com.

To explain a little bit more about what happens in these occurrences you have to learn a little bit about the sun, and learning is what we’re all about on this blog.

The sun’s magnetic field typically is lined up and will extend through the atmosphere, and then come back down to the surface. This keeps the solar particles nearest to the surface of the sun where the heat and light comes from.

There are times, however, when the magnetic field lines go out into space and don’t reconnect with the surface. This allows magnetic particles to blow out into space, causing the sun’s surface to become darker and cooler, it’s pretty amazing because it looks like there’s a dark hole in the sun.

This animation was created by the great writers over at discovermagazine.com, and I want to thank them for putting this gif. out there for everyone to see, please visit their site.

This type of incident was first discovered back in the early 1970’s, from astronauts aboard Skylab, the first United States Space Station.

It was launched into orbit in May, the 14th, 1973, as part of the Apollo program. The United States Space program, was always, until recently at the forefront of spatial exploration.

Skylab included eight seperate solar experiments on it’s Telescopes. The astronauts to travel on this mission were Charles Conrad, Joseph Kerwin, and Paul Weitz.

They were in space from May 25 to June 21 of that year.

I think we should all be extending our thanks to astronauts of this caliber who were some of the pioneers of astronomical learning, and providing the building blocks for what we learn and study today in the Astronomy field.

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2016 Important Dates For Eclipses

blog post feature image

It’s important to be prepared in advance for solar and lunar eclipses. They can catch you off gaurd if you’re not super connected with the scientific community.

I have friends who talk to me the day after an eclipse and tell me how upset they are because they missed it, they simply didn’t even know it was going to happen.

The next eclipse coming up will be a total eclipse of the sun on March 8-9, 2016. This is going to happen because of what’s called a “supermoon.” The path to see the complete solar eclipse will be quite narrow and very few people are going to get to witness it.

Some people travel for these things, myself included. This time however I’m not going to be lucky enough to get to see it.

solar eclipse march 2016

The path of “totality” as it is called, will start at sunrise in the Indian Ocean, and move eastward across the Pacific ocean until it stops West of North America. Obviously there will be a large portion of the earth that gets to see a partial eclipse during this time, but those viewing the complete eclipse will be a lonely bunch indeed!

This image comes to us via Wikipedia, I think I can use their images for free? It show’s the path of the complete eclipse that’s coming up in March.

Mark it on your calendar.

March 9, 2016 : Partial Solar Eclipse visible from Hawaii! And perhaps parts of the far western United States, late in the day.

The future holds a much better chance for Americans to see a complete solar eclipse, in August, 2017, there will be a fantastic opportunity for us all to see the sun go dark, Monday, August 21, 2017 specifically.

It’s a long time from now, but I’m pretty sure I’m still going to be alive at that point! I hope!

Reference: Earthsky.org.

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