Mystical Lights

Hello world,

On the news sometimes you might here about mystical lights appearing in parts of the world. This has always made me wonder: where do they come from? How do they appear? This is a passage that I have researched on. Hope you enjoy! 

“And the Northern lights in the crystal nights, came forth with a mystic gleam.”

From “The Ballad of the Northern Lights” by Robert Service

Looking up at the night sky, you will probably notice that it is all one colour; a black blanket studded with stars and the occasional appearance of the moon from time to time. Of course at certain times of the year, like New Year’s Eve, you can make the night sky appear as many different colours as you like with the help of fireworks that your family or neighbours let off into the sky. Besides this, however, you might be surprised to learn that if you took a trip to the chilly Arctic, in the North, or Antarctic, in the South, then you are very likely to see a colourful display without even needing to strike a match!

Planet Earth has its very own firework display, and a much more quieter one at that – you wouldn’t need to cover your ears with your hands to watch the show! Astronomers call these light displays aurora and they appear most commonly at the northern or southern poles of our planet. To be able to tell them apart, scientists call the displays over the Arctic, aurora borealis and those over the Antarctic, Aurora Australis. To make it much easier to remember them, some people like to call them the Northern or Southern lights. You may have already heard of them, but do you know how they are made? If you are not sure, then maybe you and your friends can scribble down a few guesses before you carry on reading!

Aurorae are made, not from the gunpowder in your favourite firework, but partly by the Sun – our Solar System’s very own fireball. When you’ve had a very fizzy drink that is full of gas, like Coca Cola, what is the first thing you notice after drinking a full glass of it? That’s right, you want to burp! The Sun is made of gas, so likes to let out a continuous belch that throws out particles with lots of energy from its surface – this is called Solar Wind and we are usually in the path of it. From this stream of particles alone, an aurora is not always at its most spectacular – eruptions on the hot surface of the Sun called solar flares them all of the more brighter – they are pretty hard to miss! Although some cannot be seen at all!

Fun Facts

For fun facts on this go to this website: (http://www.sciencekids.co.nz/sciencefacts/earth/aurora.html)

Keep being awesome!

Claire

Greenhouse Gases and Fossil Fuels

Hello world,

What are greenhouses gases and why are they a problem?

What are greenhouse gases? When some of the suns hot rays are absorbed, warming up the planet, a lot bounce back out into the atmosphere, and on their way out sometimes they get stuck. That’s because they have collisions with tiny little particles uncontrollably floating in space called greenhouse gases, containing carbon dioxide, methane and nitrous oxide.

Why are they a problem? Greenhouse Gases are a problem because they are effecting climate change, which will later on produce more complications.

Firstly, Greenhouse Gases produce a lot of heat. They heat the earth by 18 degrees, meaning if there was no Greenhouse Gases the water of the earth would freeze over. So in many ways, greenhouse gases are great. You can think of them as being like warm, fluffy jumpers on a cold day; they trap more heat in to keep us warm. But what happens if we put on too many? Things start to get hot and quick. We get uncomfortable and in some cases when some things get to hot it can melt.

Unfortunately, the same could happen to our wonderful planet, which we have lived on and will live on for the rest of our days.

What human behaviours are leading to increased levels of greenhouse gases?

Sadly, our main energy sources, like coal and petrol, release extra greenhouse gases into the atmosphere. So by generating energy likethat, it’s kind of like we’re putting more and more jumpers on the earth. In fact scientists say, thanks mostly to humans, greenhouse gases have raised to their highest level in 800-thousand years. We are doing this because we are the ones mining and producing this merchandise.

What are fossils fuels? 

Fossil fuels are a hydrocarbon they are made up of 28% coal, 40% oil and 20% natural gas. Formed from the fossilised remains of prehistoric plants and animals millions of years ago.

Why do humans use them?

  • Provide us with a ready made energy source
  • They can be turned into fuel in a complicated process

Fossil fuels are extracted out of the ground but cannot be replaced instantly. If you do something wrong with a fossil fuel and it does need to be substituted you have to go and mine it out of the ground all over again.

Keep being awesome!

Claire

Energy in my Home

Hello world,

For homework this week I had to interview my parents about the energy in our house. These are my questions and their answers:

1.What energy saving rules or practices are in place at your house?

It’s hard to imagine life without electricity. In our homes, we rely on it to power our lights, appliances, and electronics. Many of us also use electricity to provide our homes with hot water, heat, and air conditioning. There are many ways you can use less electricity right now!

Firstly, turn off lights in the rooms you’re not using them. What is the point of leaving the lights on when you can turn them off? It is defiantly necessary to have them on when you are reading, writing or doing something that you need light to see though. Also during the day the sun gives off enough of its light to be able to see. This lights spreads trough the house giving warmth and light to everything.

Furthermore, a power board can supply electricity to multiple appliances at the same time and allows you to switch off all appliances using the same switch. Power boards can also have multiple plugholes. For example, at Christmas when we put up our lights we use a power board because we have to plug in so many things.

In addition, TVs, DVD players, computers, stereos and game consoles still use energy when they’re not being used physically. When not in use, we switch these appliances off at the wall. Would you leave unnecessary things running and wasting power?

Finally, make sure your curtains or blinds seal your windows properly, and keep your curtains closed at night, and during the day when there is a heat wave. We find that if we block draughts around doors and windows to stop air leaking out, or in our house stays the appropriate temperature that we want it to be at. Also in winter, rather than heat your bedroom, add another blanket to your bed or use an electric blanket, wheat bag or hot water bottle.

2.Who supplies energy to your house? How does it enter your house?

Who supplies it What they supply
Energy Australia Power
Sydney Water Water
AGL (Australian Gas Light) Gas
Telstra Telephone

It enters through our house by:

  • Power Lines- for power
  • Water Pipes- for water
  • Gas Pipes- for gas
  • Power Lines- for telephone

All this energy comes into our house by separate lines and pipes.

3. What resource is used in the production of the energy that is supplied to your house e.g. coal, wood, gas, the sun etc.?

Gas is the resource that is used in the production of the energy that supplies the house with electricity. Unfortunately our house does not have solar panels as our roof doesn’t slant in the direction of the sun and our house faces North and South. Wood is used to power the fire that heats the house in winter. Coal is not used at all.

4. What effects would an energy blackout have on your normal family routines?

It is 7:00 in the evening. The sky is dark and swirling. The wind has had a bad day. The trees are getting dangerously weak. Mum is scared that a branch will fall down onto the power lines and destroy them. I think Mum must of jinxed us because as soon as that thought had even left my head a massive crack filled the air and then all of a sudden flicker darkness.

“Where’s the torch!” screamed my brother. “ I’ll get it.” I cried. I stumbled towards my room. I grabbed my torch and by the time I returned the eerie glow of a candle was lighting up the room. The torch also made it brighter. In my head I thought: great no TV, no social media or computers, nothing to cool the food in the fridge and worst of all no electric blanket! Then mum added that there would be no hot water either.

As we can see some of the things that we used to help us see in the dark were:

  • Torches
  • Candles

Some of the things that the blackout stopped us from having were:

  • TV
  • Social media
  • Computers/electronic devices
  • Hot water
  • Cooling in the fridge
  • Electric warmth e.g. electric blanket or air conditioner

Keep being awesome!
Claire