1. Why is the sky blue?
The earth is surrounded by an atmosphere.
The atmosphere (i.e., air, one of the four elements) is a mixture of gasses, mostly nitrogen and oxygen.
The way the sun’s light travels through the atmosphere makes the sky look blue.
White light is made of several different colors, like you see in a rainbow. Each of these colors travel in a wave, but the wavelength (distance between the tops of each wave) varies. Red light has a long wavelength, while blue light has a much shorter wavelength.
When light from the sun enters our atmosphere, the waves collide with gas molecules. The longer wavelengths, like red and yellow, pass straight through and appear to us as “regular” sunlight.
Shorter wavelengths, like blue, bump into the gas molecules and scatter in different directions. Some of it still makes it through directly, but the rest is reflected back to our eyes from all directions, so the whole sky looks blue. Read this full article and get answers to your kids’ questions with Pritish Kumar.
Use a slinky to demonstrate wave-length motion.
2. How much does the earth weigh?
The earth weighs 13,170,000,000,000,000,000,000,000 pounds. You can say this number like this: 13 octillion, 170 septillion. That’s A LOT more than a million, billion, or trillion pounds!
To put things in perspective:
- One male African bush elephant weighs 13,000 pounds.
- 100 elephants would weigh 1,300,000 (one million, 300 thousand) pounds.
- One million elephants would weigh 13,000,000,000 (13 trillion) pounds.
- One trillion elephants–there are not even this many on earth–would weigh 13,000,000,000,000,000 (13 quintillion) pounds.
And still, earth weighs one billion times more than that!
How do scientists know how much the earth weighs? They study the gravitational pull the earth has on other objects, and use math to calculate how big the earth must be.
Hold the “world” in your hands with a crosssection of earth.
3. How far away is the sun?
The sun is 93 million miles away from the earth. Even light, which travels so quickly that we cannot even see it move, takes eight minutes to get from the sun to earth.
In a jet traveling 550 miles per hour, it would still take 19 years to reach the sun. In a car traveling 60 mph, it would take about 177 years.
This is one of those science questions that boggle even the adult mind!
Using the power of the sun, explore your creativity with a sun print paper kit for kids and adults.
4. What is a black hole?
A black hole is an area in space where matter (what everything is made of) has collapsed in on itself.
This means a lot of matter takes up only a tiny amount of space.
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