What's New

If you thought invisible cloaks were just used by Harry Potter, think again.  Two independent research teams have created carpet cloaks that allow you to experience an object vanishing.  The researchers discovered this with the use of crystals, called a calcite prism. The crystals are placed in a precise location so that when the correct light hits the cloak and the crystals' “optical properties” kick in, the object you are viewing disappears before your eyes.

They are currently only able to make smaller objects disappear, such as an ant or piece rice. Scientist still have a lot of work ahead of them in advancing the invisible cloak, making it 3-D and making larger objects disappear, but they are on the right track. Where does the future lead? Instead of hiding objects, scientist would love to reveal them, a new kind of ABRACADABRA!

For more on this amazing work, click here


Bookmark and Share

Do you ever walk outside in the early mornings and your vision is hazed by fog? Do you ever wonder what exactly fog is? Well, fog is simply a cloud that is in contact with the ground. There are numerous types of fog, but they all have one fact in common: they form when the relative humidity reaches 100% and the dew point drops below the dew point. Here are descriptions of different types of fog as described by World of Earth Science:

Radiation or ground fog is formed after sunset when there is a cooling of the land caused by thermal radiation in calm weather conditions. When the cool ground reaches its dew point, it then produces moisture in the air, which forms into condensation or fog droplets. The fog sometimes boils over to the next morning before the sun has come up to cool ground.

Advection fog forms when warm, moist air horizontally movesover a cold surface, which cools the air to its dew point. It is common along coastlines where moist air moves from over the water to over the land, or when an air mass moves over a cold surface (e.g., snow), and the moisture in the air condenses into fog as the surface cools it..

Evaporation fog forms by the mixing of two unsaturated air masses. This can occur when cold, dry air moves over warmer water. The air, quickly saturated by evaporation and condensation, creating a steam like fog. This most commonly takes place over bodies of waters and can be known as sea smoke.

Precipitation or frontal fog forms as precipitation falls into cool, almost saturated air. This can take place with warm, cold, or stationary fronts

No matter what type of fog is drifting in the air, it is important to always take extra caution when driving. Fog reduces visibility and can be very dangerous, so make sure that you’re light are on and know when the sun come out, there will be a clear day ahead!

Fog

 



Bookmark and Share

Who says playing with your food can’t be delicious and fun? Stay active inside all winter with this simple recipe for homemade peanut butter play dough. This is perfect for all ages, especially the little kids in the family. Clean up is sure to be a breeze, play and then enjoy! The kids will certainly help with cleaning up this mess.

Ingredients:

3 ½ cups peanut butter

4 cups confectioners’ sugar

3 ½ cups honey

4 cups dry milk powder

Directions:

In a large bowl, cream together peanut butter and confectioners’ sugar, then beat in honey and fold in milk powder. Divide into 15 equal portions and refrigerate or freeze until ready to use.

peanut_butter_playdough


Bookmark and Share

Volcanic lightning is a phenomenon that happens within a volcano. There are three different types of lightning discharge in a volcano; dirty lightning, small sparks, and vent lightning. Dirty lightning resembles normal lightning and can be seen from far away. Small sparks can only be seen close up. The third kind is vent lightning; this discharge comes directly from the volcano mouth and is approximately two miles long.

Volcanic_Lightning_2

According to Bradley Muller, a professor of Applied Meteorology in the Department of Applied Aviation Sciences at Embry-Riddle Aeronautical , volcanic lightning is believed to be caused by a separation of charges. When one particle with negative charge is separated from the positive charged particle, lightning could develop between those two particles. This is the effect that causes lightning to form within a volcano. These charges develop when different materials rub or collide together; the friction between materials causes the charge itself. The moisture within the volcano can be a factor into whether the volcano gives off lightning. Moisture can affect the electrical resistance in the air and therefore affecting the amount of lightning present in the eruption. The intensity of the eruption also plays a part in the creation of volcanic lightning.

Volcanic_Lightning_1

Volcanic lightning is similar to lightning in a thunderstorm but there are also many defining characteristics that are unique to a volcano, such as the types of electric discharge.


Bookmark and Share

The New York Times reported that researchers at an excavation in the Ischigualasto Formation of Argentina discovered a new type of dinosaur named Eodromaeus. You might call this new dino pint sized, weighing in at only 10 -14 pounds and about 4 feet in length. Paul Serano, a paleontologist at the University of Chicago who works on this study, stated,  “It was very cute; you’d want it as a pet.” Before you decided to swap an Eodrmaeus for you Chihuahua beware, this cute little guy is a carnivore and has the long canines and a future ancestor to prove it.

Dino2

Dr. Sereno and his colleagues believe the Eodrmaous to be one of the first relatives of theropod dinsosaurs, which include the mighty Tyrannosaurus rex. How could this tiny dinosaur be related to the T-rex? The Eodraeus has long canines perfect for meet eating, a sleek, agile body shape, and was quick on its feet. The excavation in Argentina where the Eodromaeus was unearthed is a site where some of the oldest remains of dinosaur have been found. The Eodromaeus found lived 230 million years ago, which places it in the Triassic period when dinosaurs first began to emerge. Dr. Serano believes that this discovery, “ gives us the earliest snapshot of dinosaurs.”

Dino1


Bookmark and Share

Happy news occurred on January 14 - a baby black rhinoceros was born at the St. Louis Zoo! The baby is a boy and weighs 120.5 pounds. This is an important birth because the black rhino is critically endangered. There are only about 4,240 black rhinos in the world. The reason why the black rhino is so endangered is because they are heavily poached for their horns. Many Asian countries believe that their horns have medicinal powers.

However, with the joyous birth of this baby boy, and hopefully more births to come at zoos throughout the world, this new generation will be able to go back out into Africa and continue the survival of the species. If you would like to learn more about the black rhinoceros and their fight for survival, please visit: http://www.rhinos-irf.org/black.

RhinoCalf_mom_Jan11


Bookmark and Share

National Geographic reported that a new hybrid of minke whale was discovered in the Arctic. The whale DNA indicated that it was a hybrid of two different types of minke whale, Antarctic and Northern. This was very surprising to scientists because these two different type of whales also have two very different migratory patterns that keep them separated my many miles at all times of the year, or so they thought. The DNA of this hybrid whale, caught in the northeastern Atlantic in 2007, proves that at least once these two types of whales came together and were able to breed.

So, why would these two whales even be relatively close to one another when they have such different migratory patterns? The answer may have something to do with a drop in the supply of krill, the tiny crustacean that fuels the Antarctic food chain. Japanese studies show that the drop in krill, in the 1980's-1990's, coincided with a drop in Antarctica minke in the Southern Hemisphere. Scientist speculate that as the food supply decreased whales may have gone scouting for food and found their way to the Arctic Circle and the northern minkes. Scientists now have some work on their hands to find out if this whale was a stroke of luck or a new tendency in the animal kingdom.

minke-whale-hybrid-found_31659_600x450


Bookmark and Share

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.
This project is funded in part by Orange County Government through the Arts & Cultural Affairs Program. Privacy Policy • Accessibility