Man, today is a busy day. Between the NFL Draft and the royal wedding, there’s a lot going on. To add to the list, there’s another historic milestone about to go down that’s expected to draw 700,000 people to the beaches of Florida. The Space Shuttle Endeavour will be making its last flight today; there’s one more shuttle flight, and then the space shuttle program undertaken by NASA over 30 years ago will end.
Over 45,000 observation tickets have been distributed by NASA, and nearly 700.000 more are expected to line the beaches and cram into beach-side parking lots to tailgate and watch the space shuttle flight. From across the country, people have been trickling into the area surrounding the Kennedy Space Center for a chance to catch a glimpse of one of the last space shuttle flights. Now, it’s up for the weather to cooperate until 3:45 PM Eastern time, when Endeavour takes off from Cape Canaveral to deliver an Alpha Magnetic Spectrometer and various other spare parts to the International Space Station.
April 26 marks the 226th birthday of ornithologist John James Audubon. Celebrating this lover of birds, Google has created a custom doodle featuring birds from across North America.
Audubon was born in what is now Haiti and spent much of his youth in France. He arrived in America in 1803 and lived on a farm owned by Quaker relatives in Pennsylvania. Here, Audubon fell in love with nature and spent much of his time exploring and studying his surroundings.
Audubon’s , Birds of North America, featured 435 realistic life-sized painting of the wildlife he observed while traveling the continent. The project was so costly that the young naturalist traveled to Europe for funding and delivered for-pay lectures in France and Britain. Eleven years in the making, the catalog was completed in 1838.
In 1905, an environmental conservation society formed, taking Audubon’s name. Today, the Audubon Society is one of the oldest groups of its kind.
Earth Day is April 22nd, but many people extend the celebration to make it Earth Week. Depending on how you choose to celebrate, Earth Week runs from April 16th to Earth Day, April 22nd, or it is the week that includes Earth Day, which is April 17-23, 2011. Make a difference this week! Try making a small change that will benefit the environment. Keep at it all week so that by the time Earth Day arrives it might become a lifelong habit. Turn down your water heater or only water your lawn in the early morning or install energy efficient light bulbs or recycle. Be conscious of chemical wastes you produce and how you return them to the environment. Happy Earth Week!
Check out our latest E-News for ways you can contribute this year for Earth Day PLUS download a cool at home experiment – Compost in a Cup!
Exactly 1 week until Earth Day! What are you planning to do for Mother Earth? Our April E-News contained several simple ideas that we can do everyday to reduce our carbon footprint. We’ve become a society that appreciates disposable over durability. Recycling is on the rise, but we still toss out way more than we reuse. Plastic bottles are one of the biggest offenders usually ending up in the trash, or even worse, tossed out into nature.
There are ways to re-purpose those 20-ounce containers. If you don’t want to build a ship out of that plastic, you can use sand or soil to fill the bottles that are often collected at recycling centers or in clean-up drives, then stack them to create walls. Sand, concrete or adobe are packed around the rows of bottles to add strength creating homes for those who don’t have the monetary resources to buy standard building materials in some parts of the world. Another unusual bit of recycling in some of these homes is the way CD cases are used to construct windows. This bottle construction method is also used to build cisterns in areas where water is a commodity that is hard to come by.
For those who already have a home but are blessed with a green thumb, another way to reuse the bottles is by building a green house. Instead of packing mud or concrete around the clear plastic containers, they are left uncovered to allow the heat of the sun to pass through and nurture and provide warmth for young plants.
Once you’ve used up all the plastic from your garbage for you green house, you might want to check out these other tips on using garbage in your garden.
There have been a lot of interesting webcam videos over the years, and live webcams have become increasingly popular as internet connections have gotten faster in the average home, office, and coffee shop chain. Still, live webcams with people can be a dicey proposition, but animals? Forget about it, animal webcams are the future. From puppies to cats listening to Devo, there have been a lot of interesting webcam experiments, but no experiment has gone quite as viral as that of the Raptor Resource Project. The latest viral video sensation is Eagle Cam, a camera monitoring bald eagle chicks in a nest in Decorah, Iowa. Its easy to get lost in this incredible video stream!
“This is a positive,” said Raptor Resource Project executive director Robert Anderson during an NPR interview. “Everybody, when they log on they go ‘wow.’ … It’s just good to have something positive.”
Fans are having fun with the videos captured by the Raptor Resource Project, including making their own mash-up videos. For example, here’s one called “Dueling Corn Husks,” which features the mother eagle’s signature dance move, the Decorah Shimmy.
On April 2, NASA’s Solar Dynamics Observatory (SDO) captured this rare view of the sun. Twice a year, SDO enters an eclipse season where the spacecraft slips behind Earth for up to 72 minutes a day. Unlike the crisp shadow one sees on the sun during a lunar eclipse, Earth’s shadow has a variegated edge due to its atmosphere, which blocks the sun light to different degrees depending on its density. Also, light from brighter spots on the sun may make it through, which is why some solar features extend low into Earth’s shadow.
You can discover more about the NASA Goddard Space Flight Center by visiting this site:
We all know the saying “April showers bring May flowers” but have you ever wonderd how to measure a rain drop? There’s always water vapor in our air. Sometimes it collects in clouds and then, when it gets heavy enough, falls to earth as rain.
Most people think of raindrops as tear-shaped. But a French scientist, who filmed falling droplets, found that air resistance causes raindrops to change shape as they fall. He documented large, round drops that flattened as they fell, growing wider and then filling with air like a jellyfish or a parachute . When the parachute inflated, the drop burst apart into smaller droplets. All of this activity happened fast, too – within 6/100 of a second.
So how big are these raindrops when they finally reach us? Meteorologists – scientists who measure such things – say that raindrops range anywhere from 1/100 of an inch to 1/4 inch in diameter.
You can measure your own raindrops.
What you need
fine mesh sieve
How To Do It:
Fill the shoebox lid with flour and use a ruler to smooth the top so it is level.
During a gentle shower, hold the shoebox lid out in the rain until about 15-25 raindrops have fallen into the flour. Bring the lid inside to see what you’ve found. Flour absorbs water, and since the flour is a powder it will hold the shape of the raindrop together.
Now set the sieve over the bowl. Carefully pour the flour from the lid into the sieve, shaking it gently. This will sift flour into the bowl and leave the raindrop lumps behind.
Gently pour your flour-preserved droplets onto a sheet of paper and measure them.
If you are planning pranks to celebrate the holiday, why not apply some chemistry to them? Disappearing ink is a classic prank. Making someone’s urine blue or making a ketchup bottle shoot ketchup upon opening are options, depending on how far you’re taking things today..
Some of the coolest pranks and practical jokes rely on science. Learn how to make stink bombs, color someone’s urine, change the color of coins, and more with this collection of science pranks.
Check out this website with instructions on how to make the most out of this April Fool’s Day with practical jokes like stink bombs, burning bills, rubber eggs & rubber chicken bones, baking soda & ketchup pranks, supercooled water and disappearing ink!