June 2012 archive

Explain it like I’m Five: How do astronomers measure things so far away?

TweetDiscovery of Close Stars When you shift your body side to side, the things closest to you look like they are moving the most. The things further away don’t look like they are moving much. To figure out how far away stars are, we do something similar, but instead of moving our body we have …

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ELI5: Why is it colder on mountains–when you’re closer to the sun?

Colder on the mountain top

Tweet This is a question that has always bothered me. Valleys, like Death Valley in California, tend to be really hot. But the tops of mountains (closer to the sun!!) are snowy and very cold. And what about that whole thing, with “heat rising?” I know for a fact that my basement (lower) is always colder …

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Explain it like I’m Five: How does Carbon dating work?

TweetIn order to Carbon date something, it must be “organic”, which means it was once living or part of something that was once living. Before we talk about Carbon dating, we have to know a bit about radioactivity. ·      All elements are at least a little bit radioactive ·      Elements with more or less neutrons than normal are unstable and become more …

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