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Grades 9-12

Space Weather

Science Bulletin

Space Weather: Storms from the Sun

Once upon a time, back in the twentieth century, the weather was straightforward: it rained or snowed, skies were sunny or cloudy. However, in the twenty-first century—the era of globalization and digitalization—a whole new kind weather is critical to consider: space weather.
Space weather is direct product of our local star, the Sun. The Sun continuously sheds its skin, blowing a fierce wind of charged particles in all directions, including Earth's. From time to time, storms on the Sun's surface—solar flares, coronal mass ejections—toss off added masses of energy and ions. When that turbulence slams into Earth, it produces space weather. The consequences can be spectacular, from colorful auroras to satellite, power and communications failures.
Space weather isn't new: the Sun has buffeted Earth with solar particles since the planet first formed. What has changed is society. This feature reveals how our increasing use of satellite technology has made us vulnerable to solar storms, and how solar scientists—"space weathermen"—are learning how to predict and forecast the Sun's activity.
Science Bulletins is a production of the National Center for Science Literacy, Education, and Technology (NCSLET), part of the Department of Education at the American Museum of Natural History. Find out more about Science Bulletins at http://www.amnh.org/sciencebulletins/.

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Classroom Activity, Hands-on Activity

Cartesian Diver

In this hands-on experiment, students create a neutrally buoyant "diver" and then observe the effects of increased water pressure.

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Young Naturalist Awards Essay

Bobwhite Quail Decline in Texas

2003 Young Naturalist Award-winning essay - Why was this 11th-grader from Texas stopping at every mile marker along the road and randomly tossing a hula hoop over his shoulder? To further science, of course! 

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Young Naturalist Awards Essay

Gopher Tortoises: My Endangered Fellow Floridians

Saddle up for a visit to the Circle F Dude Ranch, where this 7th-grader from Florida will introduce you to ... gopher tortoises. These burrowing reptiles have shovel-like forelimbs.

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Young Naturalist Awards Essay

The Growth Patterns of Aspens

Is an aspen's diameter affected by its distance from the center of the grove? The search for the answer to this question sent this 8th-grader from Colorado on a two-year-plus expedition.

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Young Naturalist Awards Essay

Morphologic Variation in the Common Periwinkle

The common periwinkle, now one of the most abundant marine gastropods on the North Atlantic coast, was introduced accidentally to Nova Scotia around 1857. Investigate it with an 11th-grader from Maine.

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Young Naturalist Awards Essay

The Mysterious Peregrine Falcon

On a hiking trip, this 12th-grader from New Brunswick spied a peregrine falcon. A second trip brought the discovery of another falcon—a rare breeding pair. But then the mystery began ...

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