What's New

Two new species of freshwater stingrays have been discovered in the Amazon rain forest! They are being called “Pancake stingrays” because they look like pancakes with tails. The last new Amazon stingray found was in 1987. Researchers have also found a new species of catfish that has a pattern that resembles a jaguar’s spots. This just shows that there are so many species on Earth we have yet to discover!

Don’t forget that we have daily stingray feedings here at the Orlando Science Center, so stop by and watch our local stingrays enjoy a meal and learn more about these interesting creatures!

 

Pancake_Stingray

Misty is an Animal Care Technician at the Science Center and is found in NatureWorks. Animals and Ecology are her passions and she jumps at every opportunity to talk about it. Stop in and say Hello!


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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 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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Forest habitats are home to 80 percent of the earth’s plants and animals but only cover 30 percent of the planet’s surface. National Geographic reported the result of a report that was compiled by the nonprofit organization Conservation International for the United Nations’ International Year of Forests. The most threatened areas included have lost 90 percent or more of their original habitats.  The following is a sample of some the threatened areas.

  • Indo-Burma Region- Spanning two million kilometers of tropical Asia, six new mammal species have been discovered there in the past 12 years but only 6 percent of the region is protected by environmental law.
  • New Caledonia- A small set of islands, about the size of New Jersey, located in the very extreme South Pacific, east of Australia, home to five native plant families. Although 22 percent of the land here is protected, 83 percent of the threatened species are not in the protected land.
  • Sundaland- About 17,000 islands in the western half of the Indo-Malayan archipelago, this area includes Borneo and Sumatra, two of the world’s largest islands. Animals such as tigers, monkeys, and turtles are not safe here due to hunting. Also, two species of the Asian Rhino, almost extinct, are found in this hotspot on the islands of Java and Sumatra.
  • The Philippines- Comprised of 7,100 islands in the westernmost Pacific Ocean, the Philippines are known as one of the world’s most biologically rich countries.  However, conservationists fear that the forests of the Philippines are on the brink of extinction due to logging.
  • Madagascar and the Indian Ocean Islands- These islands off the coast of Africa are home to 8 plant, 4 bird, and 5 primate species that live nowhere else in the entire world. A whopping 50 species of lemur also call this forest hotspot home, including the undeniably cute mouse lemur. Although extensive efforts toward conservation are being made, especially on Madagascar itself, poverty and population growth are threatening the environment through activities like logging, mining, and hunting.

Click Here to learn more about other threatened environments and how you can help.

Madagascar Lemur


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The JPMorgan Chase Foundation awarded a $50,000 grant to the Orlando Science Center for a Science Literacy Program at Evans High School. The program will provide Teacher Professional Development (TPD) to science teachers in order to increase inquiry skills and content knowledge, model creative techniques and offer strategies for encouraging problem-solving and critical thinking to the students of Evans High School.

“Partnerships like this one can be a tremendous support to our schools by enhancing their resources and providing science education in a way that really connects with students,” said Science Center President JoAnn Newman. “Chase’s support is enabling the Science Center to do what we do best and helping us to reach the kids that need us most. It really is a win-win for everyone.”

Along with these tools for the teachers; students will be provided with hands-on classroom activities relatable to "real world" science, technology, engineering and mathematical (STEM) applications. It is the hope of the Science Center to increase the number of students who choose to do science-based activities outside the classroom.

Read more...


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777 E. Princeton Street • Orlando, Florida 32803 • Phone: 407.514.2000 • TTY: 407.514.2005 • Toll Free: 888.OSC.4FUN • Email: gservices@osc.org
  Orlando Science Center is supported by United Arts of Central Florida, host of power2give.org/centralflorida and the collaborative Campaign for the Arts.
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