• Sign-In

Free Homework Help Free Homework Help Free Homework Help Free Homework Help Free Homework Help

Call Toll-Free: 1-877-545-7737

Speak with a SchoolTutoring Academic Director
MENU

Science

Science Review of the New Solar System

227 222 Deborah

Overview

As a result of discoveries made by the New Horizons mission and other observations, the new solar system may have many more planets than the accepted eight or nine. The new solar system may have hundreds of planets, including asteroids, moons, and dwarf planets. Rather than memorize hundreds of names, it’s more important to know where the planet is located.

Definition

The accepted definition of “planet” according to the 2006 International Astronomical Union had three parts: that the body was round, held together by its own gravity; that it did not generate its own nuclear fusion, unlike stars; and that it and its satellites move alone through their orbit. Pluto was demoted to “dwarf planet” as it did not meet all the criteria. However, recent scientists have proposed that the only important part of the planetary definition is that the body is round, held together by its own gravity. Once again, Pluto is a planet. In fact, it and its largest moon Charon are part of a binary system.

Inner Planets and Asteroids

The closest planets to the Sun are relatively small, made of rocks and metals, and include Mercury, Venus, Earth and its Moon, and Mars and its satellites Phobos and Deimos. Most asteroids are also made of rocks and metals, and the largest asteroid Ceres meets the definition of a dwarf planet.

Outer Planets

The outer planets are giants, including Jupiter, Saturn, Uranus, and Neptune. All have rings, although Saturn’s are the most visible from Earth. Sometimes Jupiter and Saturn are known as gas giants because they consist mostly of hydrogen and helium. Uranus and Neptune are smaller and consist of various ices, and are sometimes called ice giants.

Beyond Neptune

The mysteries beyond Neptune have become better known because of the New Horizons space mission. Pluto is the best known object in the Kuiper Belt, and it and Charon form a binary planet. Some other named planets include Makemake, Haumea, and Eris. As the New Horizons mission and others travel further, more objects will be discovered, and what is known about the Solar System expanded.

Interested in science tutoring services? Learn more about how we are assisting thousands of students each academic year.
SchoolTutoring Academy is the premier educational services company for K-12 and college students. We offer tutoring programs for students in K-12, AP classes, and college. To learn more about how we help parents and students in Chehalis, WA visit: Tutoring in Chehalis, WA

Science Review of Storms on the Sun

150 150 Deborah

Overview

Eruptions of light and other forms of radiation from the sun affect conditions on and near Planet Earth, causing geomagnetic storms, solar radiation storms, and radio blackouts.  Some types of “storms on the sun” include solar flares, coronal mass ejections, high-speed solar wind, and solar energetic particles.

Solar Flare

Solar flares come from the release of magnetic energy associated with sunspots.  We observe them as bright areas on the sun that can last anywhere from minutes to hours.  A solar flare releases energy from visible light throughout the spectrum, including x-rays and ultraviolet light.  They impact Earth when they occur on the side of the sun that faces us, because the energy-carrying photons travel in straight lines.

Coronal Mass Ejections

The outermost atmosphere of the sun is called the corona, shaped by strong magnetic fields.  If the fields are closed rather than open, parts of the confined solar atmosphere can suddenly erupt, releasing bubbles of gas and solar material in a violent explosion.  Tons of matter violently burst through space at millions of miles an hour, impacting anything in its path.  The cloud has to be facing Earth to affect the planet.

High-Speed Solar Wind

The solar wind is formed along magnetic fields that travel through the Solar system, from large, dark areas in the sun’s corona called “coronal holes.”  Open lines in the sun’s magnetic field allow particles to be more accelerated, creating a high-speed solar wind.  If the high-speed solar wind is formed near the equator of the sun, it is more likely to create shock waves that release more energetic particles.

Effects on the Earth

If the magnetosphere of the Earth is impacted by energy from any type of storm on the sun, it undergoes sudden and repeated change.  For the most part, the magnetosphere protects us from most particles the sun emits.  However, if that stream of magnetic particles is unusually strong or hits the magnetosphere southward, it can enter the atmosphere at the poles and weaken the magnetic field of the Earth (or any other planet it encounters).  Although the magnetic field goes back to its normal strength in a number of hours, during the time the magnetic field is interrupted, electrical and radio communications can be brought down.  For example, the electrical blackout that affected 6 million people in 1989 was caused by a geomagnetic storm, and radio disruptions often affect aircraft communications.

Interested in science tutoring services? Learn more about how we are assisting thousands of students each academic year.

SchoolTutoring Academy is the premier educational services company for K-12 and college students. We offer tutoring programs for students in K-12, AP classes, and college. To learn more about how we help parents and students in Austin, TX visit: Tutoring in Austin, TX

Science Review of the Juno Mission

150 150 Deborah

Overview

The Juno probe entered orbit around the planet Jupiter on July 4, 2016.  Jupiter is the largest planet in the Solar System, and the Juno probe will study the magnetic fields of the planet, as well as clues to its origin and composition.

The Juno Probe

The Juno probe launched in August 2011.  Its three giant solar panels extend to 9 meters, about the size of a basketball court.  They are needed to power the spacecraft, since Jupiter is about five times further from the Sun than Earth and gets about 25 times less sunlight.  All the scientific instruments are within a thick vault to protect them from Jupiter’s intense magnetic field.

The Planet Jupiter

Jupiter is the largest planet in the solar system.  It is so large that within the Solar System, everything in the solar system except for the sun could fit inside it.  It has an ocean of liquid hydrogen rather than water.  Although the planet is so huge, its day is only about 10 hours long, as it rotates very quickly.  Bands of clouds and spots are formed from ammonia.  It has around 60 moons, including the four large moons first discovered by Galileo – Io, Europa, Ganymede, and Callisto.  Ganymede is the largest moon in the Solar System, even larger than Mercury and Pluto.

The Juno Mission

The Juno probe will orbit Jupiter in a highly elliptical orbit around its poles.  The probe itself spins, while the scientific instruments are fixed, so that the most area can be covered by each instrument.  Detailed measurements will be made of Jupiter’s strong magnetic field, the clouds, and what lies beneath them.  Study of its gravity will provide clues to its structure, as will study of its chemical composition.  The spacecraft will orbit Jupiter until February 2018, when it will burn up in its atmosphere.

Mission Goals

Some of the goals for the Juno mission include how the planet was formed, if it has a solid core, and how its magnetic field was generated.  If Jupiter has a solid, rocky core, it would have formed later in the history of the solar system than if its core is not solid.  The amount of water and other elements also contain clues to its formation.   Scientists theorize that Jupiter was the first planet to form, so its composition is closer to the early solar system than the other planets.  The Juno mission is the first mission to see beneath the clouds of the planet.

Interested in science tutoring services? Learn more about how we are assisting thousands of students each academic year.

SchoolTutoring Academy is the premier educational services company for K-12 and college students. We offer tutoring programs for students in K-12, AP classes, and college. To learn more about how we help parents and students in Rapid City, SD visit: Tutoring in Rapid City, SD

Science Review of Dark Matter

150 150 Deborah

Overview

The type of energy and matter that we can observe in the universe is thought to be only a small fraction of its total contents, less than 5%.  Dark matter and dark energy have been theorized to make up the rest.  Although scientists cannot observe either dark matter or dark energy directly, evidence for its existence comes from the expansion of the universe, fluctuations in the cosmic microwave background, and observations of very distant galaxies.

What Is Dark Matter?

Dark matter does not emit any light on the electromagnetic spectrum, so it is not a radio or infrared source.  It is massive enough to cause some of the gravitational effects that have been observed.  Some dark matter may be in massive black holes or other objects that are too dark to observe.  Some dark matter may exist in massive particles that are not part of the standard model of physics.  Since scientists are discovering new particles all the time as a result of projects such as the Large Hadron Collider, it is possible that there may be other types of particles.

Expansion of the Universe

Scientists have observed that galaxies are receding from one another, and that the furthest galaxies are receding at a slower rate than those that are closer to us.  Before observations were made from the Hubble Space Telescope, the theory was that the rate of expansion might slow down as gravity pulled objects together.  Although scientists do not know why the expansion rate is accelerating, they have postulated that something called “dark energy” may be repelling galaxies from one another at a faster rate.  Dark matter and dark energy together account for more of the contents of the universe than the very small portion that can be easily observed.

Cosmic Microwave Background

The cosmic microwave background or CMB is a very faint background glow in all directions of space.  It is thought to provide a snapshot of the conditions of the universe close to the time of the Big Bang.  Some fluctuations in the CMB are thought to provide evidence of dark matter.

Observations of Distant Galaxies

Although the effects are very subtle, astronomers can measure the effects of gravitational distortion in very distant galaxy clusters that show that there are effects from stars, clouds of interstellar plasma, and something else.  In these pictures taken from the Chandra X-Ray Observatory satellite in space, very hot plasma clouds are mapped as pink, and the position of dark matter is mapped as clouds of blue.

Interested in science tutoring services? Learn more about how we are assisting thousands of students each academic year.

SchoolTutoring Academy is the premier educational services company for K-12 and college students. We offer tutoring programs for students in K-12, AP classes, and college. To learn more about how we help parents and students in Midwest City, OK visit: Tutoring in Midwest City, OK

 

 

Science Review of Plasma

150 150 Deborah

Overview

Plasma is often called the fourth state of matter, as it has properties different from all the other states.  Most of the matter contained in stars, interstellar clouds, and other features of the observable universe is in the plasma state.

Definition

A plasma is a very hot ionized gas that is made up of roughly equal numbers of positively charged particles such as protons and negatively charged particles such as electrons.  While atoms in the other states of matter contain their nuclei and their electrons, the energy in plasma is so high that the electrons are stripped away from atomic nuclei. That energy can come from very high temperatures, electrical or magnetic current, or intense ultraviolet or laser light. The free electrons are able to move throughout the ionized plasma.  The plasma state is different from the gaseous state in several ways, as plasma has very high electrical conductivity while gases do not; electrons, ions, neutrons, and protons all behave differently in plasma, while gas particles are atoms and molecules; and plasma waves can be organized into motion so that particles behave as a collection.

Aurora and Lightning

Some of the most common natural forms of plasma include the Northern Lights (also called aurora) and lightning. The auroras consist of ionized gases that are excited by the magnetic field around planet Earth.  The sudden flashing light of lightning is caused when the electric current superheats the gases in the atmosphere, creating a channel of ionized plasma.

Plasma in the Universe

Scientists estimate that nearly all the matter in the observable universe is in the plasma state, either in the high temperatures and pressures in the core of stars, in interstellar clouds, and in many other features.  The Sun and other stars are balls of plasma at temperatures high enough that nuclear reactions can occur.  As stars are formed within interstellar clouds, plasma collects to begin nuclear fusion.

Applications

The plasma state of ionized gas is found in fluorescent light bulbs, neon signs, and plasma television sets.  Gas is ionized by high-voltage electrical currents.  However, due to production costs, most of the newer flat-screen TV sets use a different technology.  Many of the highest-energy plasma states occur when subatomic particles are accelerated in controlled situations, such as the Large Hadron Collider.

Interested in science tutoring services? Learn more about how we are assisting thousands of students each academic year.

SchoolTutoring Academy is the premier educational services company for K-12 and college students. We offer tutoring programs for students in K-12, AP classes, and college. To learn more about how we help parents and students in Aurora, OH visit: Tutoring in Aurora, OH

Science Review of Bubbles

150 150 Deborah

Overview

Bubbles are usually formed when a globule of gas is suspended in a liquid.  Some common examples include the bubbles of carbon dioxide found in carbonated drinks, water vapor in boiling water, and soap bubbles.

Carbonated Water

Bubbles form when very small air pockets are trapped in liquids.  For example, supersaturated carbon dioxide is introduced under pressure into either plain water or water with flavors added to form carbonated soft drinks.  It is weakly acidic.  Although carbonation is a natural part of the fermentation process in making sparkling wines, champagne, and beer, artificial carbonated water was not produced until the mid-1700s.  By the 1800s, flavorings were added.

Boiling

When a liquid, such as water, is heated to its boiling point, small bubbles of water vapor begin to form and then break at its surface.  At first, bubbles of water vapor form slowly, then increase rapidly, as more water is heated. At the boiling point of a liquid, its vapor pressure is equal to the pressure of the gas above it.

Soap Bubbles

Soap bubbles consist of a very thin film of soapy water that surround a sphere of air.  The soap itself reduces the surface tension of the water, so that the soap bubbles can form. When plain water flows out of a tap, bubbles form, but the surface tension of the plain water is high enough that those bubbles burst immediately. Soap bubbles are iridescent because light reflects off the surface of the thin film itself, as the bubble itself is clear.  Although soap bubbles will pop if their surface ruptures, they can last longer if glycerin is added to the bubble solution.

Foam

Foams contain series of multiple gas bubbles connected by thin surface layers, such as foams of soap bubbles or foaming liquid.  The bubbles contained in the foam are not all the same size and clump together.  The foaming effect can also occur if there are impurities in the liquid, such as if milk is added to boiling water.  Fire retardants are usually foams.

Interested in science tutoring services? Learn more about how we are assisting thousands of students each academic year.

SchoolTutoring Academy is the premier educational services company for K-12 and college students. We offer tutoring programs for students in K-12, AP classes, and college. To learn more about how we help parents and students in Baton Rouge, LA visit Tutoring in Baton Rouge, LA

Science Review of New Horizons and Pluto

150 150 Deborah

Overview

Since the New Horizons spacecraft flew by the dwarf planet Pluto on July 15, 2016, downloaded photographs have revealed more puzzling features.  More will still come, as only about half the data gathered during the flyby has reached Earth.

Pluto’s Subsurface Ocean

Some of the latest data suggest that there may be an ocean under the surface of Pluto, similar to the frozen oceans on Saturn’s moon Enceladus and Jupiter’s moon Europa.  It may be made of liquid water or other substances, since some areas of Pluto have methane ices, nitrogen ice, and carbon monoxide ice.  The best way to explain some of the geologic activity on Pluto is by movement of an ocean under the surface, creating energy from the rotation of the planet.

Geological Activity

Pluto is much more geologically active than was once thought.  A large ice plain named Sputnik Planum is covered by nitrogen ice, carbon monoxide ice, and methane ice.  It is at the western part of the heart-shaped area, and has very few craters.  This flat plain is through to be only about 10 million years old, with glaciers made of nitrogen.  It is bordered by several mountain ranges and hills that might be made of floating ice.  By contrast, Pluto’s largest moon Charon has surface features that are about 4 billion years old.

Formation of Pluto

Scientists have examined evidence from photographs from the New Horizons flyby of the Pluto system.  They theorize that Pluto and its largest satellite Charon are part of a binary system, and that the other smaller moons are a result of the collisions that resulted in the formation of Pluto and Charon.  Pluto’s satellites are more reflective than other bodies in the Kuiper Belt, leading scientists to infer that their composition is different.

Mysterious Pluto

Some areas on the surface of Pluto are methane ice, while others are nitrogen ice, still others are carbon monoxide, or water ice. The differences in surface composition have nothing in common with the rest of the bodies in the outer Solar System.  The atmosphere of Pluto is colder than expected, and consists of thin, hazy bands of nitrogen and methane.

Interested in science tutoring services? Learn more about how we are assisting thousands of students each academic year.

SchoolTutoring Academy is the premier educational services company for K-12 and college students. We offer tutoring programs for students in K-12, AP classes, and college. To learn more about how we help parents and students in Hartford, CT: visit Tutoring in Hartford, CT

Science Review of the Search for Water on Mars

150 150 Deborah

Overview

Scientists have recently announced that there is evidence of water on Mars. Salty water appears to flow down steep slopes during the warmer months, and frozen ice caps and underground slabs of ice seem to melt. However, direct exploration of those fragile features carries risk of contamination.

Streaks of Salty Water

As recently as September and October 2015, scientists announced they found dark streaks flowing down rocky slopes on Mars. These dark streaks, called RSL, appear during the summer months, and fade for most of the Martian year. They seem to consist of briny water, according to spectral analysis. Water has a lower freezing point when it is saturated with mineral salts, and so could remain liquid to -70 degrees Celsius.

Ice Caps

Although the polar ice caps on Mars are primarily made of frozen carbon dioxide, the northern pole also contains a water ice cap underneath the CO2. The polar ice caps on Mars build up in layers, as the carbon dioxide sublimates into the thin atmosphere, evaporating directly into carbon dioxide gas from carbon dioxide ice. Radar measurements from satellites show a deep canyon cut by constant winds that blow across the poles. The canyon is deeper than the Grand Canyon on Earth.

Underground Ice

Scientists have also reported evidence of underground ice at other locations on Mars, such as underneath terraced craters. Those unusual terraced craters are thought to have formed when layers of different types of materials, including ice, are impacted by cosmic debris. Radar aboard the Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter shows a possible slab of ice 40 meters thick, lying underneath a layer of dust.

Exploration

Most of the exploration of water features on Mars has been conducted by radar images from satellites such as the Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter. Mars rovers such as Curiosity could contaminate critical areas by introducing any Earth microbes that still exist on drill bits and other surfaces. The rover could tip over on the uneven, steep slopes that contain RSL streaks, especially if the surface is unstable. Right now, closer exploration is postponed to future missions to Mars.

 

Interested in science tutoring services? Learn more about how we are assisting thousands of students each academic year.

SchoolTutoring Academy is the premier educational services company for K-12 and college students. We offer tutoring programs for students in K-12, AP classes, and college. To learn more about how we help parents and students in Rockingham, VT: visit Tutoring in Rockingham, VT

Science Review of X-Ray Astronomy

150 150 Deborah

Overview

Astronomers have discovered many high-energy objects in the sky that give off X-rays. Since the atmosphere blocks most X-rays from reaching observatories on Earth, astronomers have used telescopes from high-altitude balloons, rockets, and satellites to observe thousands of sources.

X-Ray Sources

X rays are part of the electromagnetic spectrum in high energy ranges beyond visible light and ultraviolet light. Their wavelength is between 0.01 and 10 nanometers. Extremely hot gases in the range of 1 million Kelvin to hundreds of millions Kelvin are thought to produce X-rays. In order to produce hot plasma, gases are heated in extremely strong gravitational fields. White dwarfs, neutron stars, and other dense objects yield an energy output 100,000 times greater than that from the Sun.

X-Ray Detection

The atmosphere blocks most X-rays from astronomical sources from reaching Earth. Some of the earliest discoveries of X-ray sources were conducted from telescopes mounted in high-altitude balloons. X-rays from the Crab Nebula were discovered from detectors on a flight in 1964. The Crab Nebula, an item in the constellation Taurus, had been studied for centuries with optical and radio telescopes. It is thought to be a remnant of a supernova explosion. The neutron star at the center of the nebula consists of compressed gas about 28-30 km across, spinning at a rapid rate. It emits pulses of energy from radio waves, and visible light to X-rays and gamma rays.

X-Ray Observations

X-ray telescopes have also been carried aboard sounding rockets to higher altitudes. In 1962, one of the strongest X-ray sources was discovered by accident. Scorpius X-1 consists of a neutron star and its binary companion. The higher gravity from the neutron star collects matter from the companion as it orbits, and those gases are heated by the gravitational fields to a high enough temperature to produce X-rays.

X-Ray Satellites

Although many of the strongest X-ray sources were observed from telescopes mounted on high-altitude balloons or sounding rockets, those observations were relatively brief and did not cover the full range of X-rays. Telescopes and other detectors specifically for X-rays were mounted on satellites. The Chandra satellite observatory has been in continuous operation since it was launched in 1999. It is able to observe very faint, distant sources, as well as brighter objects not visible through the atmosphere. Many neutron stars are strong sources of X-rays, as are gases spiraling into black holes in the centers of galaxies.

Interested in science tutoring services? Learn more about how we are assisting thousands of students each academic year.

SchoolTutoring Academy is the premier educational services company for K-12 and college students. We offer tutoring programs for students in K-12, AP classes, and college. To learn more about how we help parents and students in Silver City, NM: visit Tutoring in Silver City, NM

Science Review of Baseball

150 150 Deborah

Overview

Baseball is a fast-paced sport that combines hitting, pitching, strategy, and timing. Some of the underlying scientific concepts include the aerodynamics of the baseball itself, the physics behind the collisions of the bat and ball, and the structure of the bat.

Baseball Aerodynamics

When a baseball is thrown, it follows a trajectory that starts from the pitcher’s windup. Energy is transferred from the pitcher’s movements to the ball itself. From the moment it leaves the mound, gravity forces the ball downward, so that the trajectory follows a parabola. In addition, friction from the air creates drag that slows the ball as it travels. The stitching on the ball breaks the path of the air to minimize drag as much as possible. When the ball spins, the airflow pushes the ball faster in the direction of the spin. Baseballs themselves are small, with lightweight cork centers. They are specially structured to be compact and resist the stresses upon them.

Science of Hitting

The batter actually has a very short time to decide whether or not to hit the ball and make contact with the ball. In 400 milliseconds, the batter must judge its speed, direction, and velocity, and time the swing to make optimum contact. The bat strikes the ball at a speed of 80 mph, but how far it travels depends on the speed and accuracy of the swing itself. A force of 4 tons is not uncommon, and the baseball can be compressed to half its size.

The Sweet Spot

The “sweet spot” is a small area about 6 ½ inches from the end of the bat. It is the point at which vibrations from the bat are minimized the most, so players don’t feel them when the bat hits the ball. When the batter hits the ball at the “sweet spot”, less energy is lost in vibration, so the ball travels much further. It can mean the difference between a base hit and a foul.

Science of Fielding

The player must be able to predict the direction and speed of the ball to determine where to catch it, with both its vertical and lateral velocities. An experienced outfielder uses the direction of the pitch, the batter’s swing, and even the sound of the bat to estimate the location of the ball.

Interested in science tutoring services? Learn more about how we are assisting thousands of students each academic year.

SchoolTutoring Academy is the premier educational services company for K-12 and college students. We offer tutoring programs for students in K-12, AP classes, and college. To learn more about how we help parents and students in Missoula, MT: visit Tutoring in Missoula, MT

Call us now toll-free

1-877-545-7737

Discuss your academic goals

Start a Chat

Get all the latest infomation

Subscribe to our Blog