What's New

Solar storms may be a problem of the past due to prevention in the future. For the first time ever, scientist are able to see a 360-degree panorama view of the sun! NASA released these images in early February, recorded from the Solar Dynamic Observatory with those from NASA’s twin STEREO spacecraft. Scientists are now embarking on an 8-year exploration, primarily to look at the rotating sun’s far side. The goal is to be able to better predict solar storms.

A solar storm is an electrified gas cloud that erupts from the surface of the sun into space, which can damage satellites and disrupt communication systems on earth. Scientists hope that being able to predict the future of solar storms will help them find a way to prevent them. For the first time ever, the video below allows us to watch solar activity in its full 3-D dimensional glory. The video shows us a 360-degree panorama view of the sun and then zooms in on a solar eruption.


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Take the time to learn about the letter B while making this simple Mardi Gras mask. This will certainly show the little ones in your family that learning can be fun. The letter B is the perfect shape to make a mask so why not take this time to teach them the importance of knowing their letters and sounds. Your family will be ready for Mardi Gras in no time; with great fashion and originality when you are done with this craft.

Supplies
  • Construction paper or colored printable card stock
  • Craft stick or drinking straw
  • Scotch tape
  • Feathers
  • Curly ribbons
  • Safety Scissors
  • Make alphabet letters on your mask with any of these:
  • Alphabet stickers/stamps,or draw letters with crayons
Instructions
  1. Draw the letter "B" on construction paper. Make sure the size is just right for you to wear it as a mask. You may also opt to print out this template on colored card stock instead.
  2. Cut the letter "B". You may need an adult's help in cutting out the eyeholes.
  3. Decorate the front side of the mask with alphabet letters. Stick alphabet stickers, use alphabet stamps or write the letters using crayons.
  4. Tape a craft stick or a drinking straw at the back to make the handle.
  5. Tape feathers and/or curly ribbons at the back as well. Click here on how to make your own curly ribbons.

Your mask is now ready to wear!

 

Letter_B

 


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Ever wonder how a cloud is formed? Try this experiment to find out. You can make your own homemade cloud by using simple ingredients. A cloud needs three basic ingredients to be formed, water vapor; dust, smoke or other particles in the air; and a drop in air pressure. With all these ingredients present you can create a cloud, even at home!  This experiment involves matches, so kids - don't try this without an adult!

Materials
  • 2-liter clear plastic pop bottle
  • matches (children will need adult assistance to light matches)
  • warm water
Process
  1. Fill the clear plastic 2-liter bottle one-third full of warm water and place the cap on. As warm water evaporates, it adds water vapor to the air inside the bottle. This is the first ingredient to make a cloud.
  2. Squeeze and release the bottle and observe what happens. You’ll notice that nothing happens. Why? The squeeze represents the warming that occurs in the atmosphere. The release represents the cooling that occurs in the atmosphere. If the inside of the bottle becomes cover with condensation or water droplets, just shake the bottle to get rid of them.
  3. Take the cap off the bottle. Carefully light a match and hold the match near the opening of the bottle.
  4. Then drop the match in the bottle and quickly put on the cap, trapping the smoke inside. Dust, smoke or other particles in the air is the second ingredient to make a cloud.
  5. Once again, slowly squeeze the bottle hard and release. What happens? A cloud appears when you release and disappears when you squeeze. The third ingredient in clouds is a drop in air pressure.
Explanation

Water vapor, water in its invisible gaseous state, can be made to condense into the form of small cloud droplets. By adding particles such as the smoke enhances the process of water condensation and by squeezing the bottle causes the air pressure to drop. This creates a cloud!

 


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The Kepler mission hit another home run with the discovery of 1,235 possible new planets in the galaxy! These “exo” or “extra” planets are scattered across the Milky Way— large and small—orbiting stars other than the sun. Wondering how the Kepler spacecraft works? This planet locater is actually a telescope that follows the earth around its orbit of the sun, recording what it sees. The Kepler telescope is always pointed at the same area in the sky, so when there are changes in the starlight, it shows that a planet is close at hand. When the planet passes by the telescope, the light will dim and then return to normal. According to Science News, this will allow scientists to begin composing a galactic planetary census which will show how many planets are in the galaxy.

Kepler_1

NASA’s quest to find a planet that inhabits life is currently in full swing, more than ever before. This discovery gives scientists new and original locations to hunt, causing an astronomy frenzy! Scientist will be looking at locations where the exoplanets orbit around a star, allowing the perfect temperature for life, creating a habitable or “goldilocks” zone—not too hot, not too cold, but just right.

There are now 54 prospective planets in that zone, the smallest are about the size of Earth. This is a new chapter for scientist in the field of astronomy, in the search to find another earth-like planet.

Kepler_2


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Jane Goodall’s observations of tool use in wild chimps led the famous anthropologist Louis Leakey to comment “We must now redefine man, redefine tool, or accept chimpanzees as human!” According National Geographic News “ Scientist have sequenced the genome of the chimpanzee and found that humans are 96 percent similar to the great ape species.” Between discoveries in the lab and observations in the field we are realizing that the gap between what is human and what is ape is not as wide as was commonly thought. So what does it mean to be a Homo sapiens? Check out the chart below based on the Smithsonian Institution’s Human Origins Program for some of the characteristics that separate us from our ape cousins.

 

Trait

What’s the same

What’s different

Walking on two legs

All apes move in a variety of ways sometime even upright.

 

Only humans regularly walk upright

Tools

 

Lots of apes use tools to forage and hut for food

Only humans manufacture such a wide variety of tools for so many varied different purposes.

Social Life

Most apes live in social groups,

And take several years to grow up

Only humans take twice as long to grow up as out closest ape relatives and have a rich and diverse set of social groups.

Language and Symbols

All apes use lots of sounds to communicate

Only humans use complex language that allows us to communicate abstract ideas

 

Click here for more information about human origins visit:

 


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The traditional laser has been turned inside out, producing what scientist like to call an “anti-laser”. This device is actually called a coherent perfect absorber and has the capabilities to absorb rather than release a stream of light.

In a traditional laser, energy is injected into a medium that is transferred between two mirrors while stimulating photons, which are then reflected back through the mirrors, resulting in an amplification of light. The anti-laser works in a similar fashion, except the medium contains an absorptions component instead of amplification one. Scientists believe the anti-laser has the potential to be used in fields such as computing and medical imaging; leading to instrumental advances in technology. This innovational physics device was discovered by scientist at Yale University and has been noted as a surprising and exciting achievement in the science community.

LASE-articleLarge


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They Came, They Saw and They Accepted the Challenge

The fourth annual Mission Nutrition event, which took place on Saturday, February 19, welcomed over 3800 knowledge seeking health and conscious people. The most up-to-date medical technology was just one of the things Saturday had to offer. A big crowd drew as the NOELLE® birthing simulator, brought in from Seminole State College, gave birth to several “babies” on Saturday to the amazement of all who witnessed it.

Valencia Community College was on hand to provide knowledge on the amounts of sugars in food and show off some their newest technologies. Guests learned about how to keep in shape with advice provided by the YMCA and then traveled over to the Cabot cheese table to sample their tasty low-fat offering.

New to this year’s event, the physical challenge arena was a huge hit. Contests in fun activities with masked health benefits were fun to not only participate in, but to cheer on as well. The hula-hoop contest went on for over 10 exciting minutes and came down to a tie! With Saturday also being a “Waltmart $5 Day,” guests were able to discover so much about health and wellness while saving money! It was another great turn out for the fourth annual Mission Nutrition where everyone walked away inspired to live a healthy lifestyle.


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