Category Archives: The Sky

Vamanos con Astro_Jose!

astro_joseWe love space and rockets, but we’ve been following this week’s planned Space Shuttle launch more carefully because one of the astronauts speaks both English and Spanish. He’s been posting short messages in both languages on Twitter using the name @Astro_Jose. If you know English or Spanish (or both) it’s fun to see what he has to say about the process of going into space.

Jose attended graduate school at UC Santa Barbara; the alumni magazine has an article on alumni astronauts, including Astro_Jose.

Awesome Underwater Volcano

undersea_volcano

From our friends at Boston.com’s “The Big Picture” come these awesome photos of an undersea volcano erupting.

This eruption took place this week and was accompanied by a strong earthquake. It happened near the island nation of Tonga, located in the South Pacific.

Teddy Bear Astronauts

From the Daily Mail comes a story of some British kids who sent their teddy bears on a trip on a weather balloon.

The weather balloon went 20 miles (32 kilometers) into the air, which is just at the edge of space. The trip lasted about two hours. The kids made space suits for the teddy bears to protect them because it’s very cold at that altitude.

Ten-year-old Boy Builds Backyard Snowmaking Machine

Why would you ask for a 30-gallon air compressor and a pressure washer for Christmas? To build your own backyard snowmaking machine, just like 10-year-old Forest Pearson of West Linn Oregon did.

Snowmaking

Good gravy this looks like a lot of fun. (From katu.com)

The Truth About Shooting Stars

Meteor

Have you ever seen a shooting star? Sometimes late at night you can see a streak of light blaze across the sky, as in the picture at right.

Is a shooting star really a star? Not really. Real stars (including our sun) are giant balls of fiery gas. Shooting stars are actually much smaller than real stars, and they’re made of rock or metal. They look like stars because they fly through the air so quickly that they become hot and glow. You can see how this works by rubbing your hands together. The same force that makes a meteor hot as it flies through the air is what makes your hands hot when you rub them together. This is called friction.

Scientists have a special name for shooting stars: they call them meteors.

You don’t have to worry about being hit by a meteor. Most meteors burn up before they hit the earth.