Rhett Allain Profile picture
Aug 14, 2018 70 tweets 26 min read
THREAD - How about a bunch of blog posts on #Space and #Astronomy? Yes, I have more than you can imagine - especially since these are really just #physics topics. Hold on - because this is going to be a bit large.
2/ Here is an answer to my fav astronomy question EVER - "What would the phases of the moon look like if the moon was a cube?" wired.com/2015/09/moon-c…
3/ The great thing about the cube moon question is that it really tests if students understand phases of the moon rather than just recalling factual stuff. Here is my python model of a cube and spherical moon
4/ How can you find your location on the surface of the Earth with a watch and a compass? (from @MacGyverCBS ) wired.com/story/figure-o…
5/ I'm not a fan of the term "super moon" - here's why wired.com/2015/10/superm…
6/ Also, if no one ever said "super moon" - you probably couldn't tell the difference between a normal moon and a super moon. Here is a demo - this penny has the angular size of the moon
7/ Could a rotating interstellar asteroid be an alien spacecraft? Probably not. #Oumuamua wired.com/story/the-phys…
8/ With a finite size of the path of totality for the 2017 USA solar eclipse, how many people could realistically see this event? wired.com/story/guess-ho…
9/ Does a #solareclipse change the temperature of the Earth? An estimation problem wired.com/2016/03/solar-…
10/ #LIGO isn't just a gravitational wave detector - it's an observatory. How do you find the location of an event with 2 LIGO detectors? wired.com/2016/02/ligo-a…
11/ What is a leap second and why do we use it? wired.com/2015/06/leap-s…
12/ Why was it so difficult to get good images of Pluto before the New Horizons spacecraft went there? wired.com/2015/06/diffic…
13/ What's so special about the vernal equinox? I wrote a short story to answer this wired.com/2014/09/magic-…
14/ Does the Earth orbit the Sun? Yes - here's how we know that wired.com/2014/04/how-do…
15/ Comets don't "zoom across the sky" - and other questions and answers about comets wired.com/2013/11/do-com…
16/ What is parallax - why is it important in astronomy and what does it have to do with iOS wallpaper? wired.com/2013/09/parall…
17/ No. Saturn wouldn't float in water - here's why wired.com/2013/07/no-sat…
18/ But how do you find the density of a planet like Saturn? Well - average density at least wired.com/2013/07/how-do…
19/ Why does a comet have two tails? wired.com/2013/03/why-do…
20/ When a comet has two tails - one of them is curved because it's made of dust. Dust tails curve because of the interaction with the Sun wired.com/2013/03/why-is…
21/ Does the moon orbit the Earth or the Sun? Answer: both wired.com/2012/12/does-t…
22/ The moon is pulled towards the Earth but it doesn't "crash" because of circular motion wired.com/2012/11/why-do…
23/ What is Daylight Saving Time? wired.com/2012/10/what-i…
24/ The transit of Venus is when Venus passes between the Earth and the Sun - the cool part is that you can use this event to measure the distance from the Earth to the Sun wired.com/2012/06/the-tr…
25/ I find it amazing that a super nova is so bright that you can see it all the way in another galaxy wired.com/2011/09/the-po…
26/ If you want to find the size of the Earth - you can use a lake to measure the curvature. In this case, I use Lake Pontchartrain in Louisiana wired.com/2011/06/how-to…
27/ How do you make carbon through nuclear fusion? Here is my explanation of the Hoyle State wired.com/2011/05/where-…
28/ Even though the moon has the same side facing the Earth - you can still see more than 50% of the surface because its orbit isn't circular. wired.com/2011/03/super-…
30/ Speaking of the side of the moon facing away from the Earth - this old moon model is an excellent example of how science is all about models wired.com/2017/06/old-mo…
31/ Someone once said "Tides come in, tides go out - you can't explain that." Here is my short explanation of tides wired.com/2011/01/tides-…
32/ When a meteor breaks up in the atmosphere - it leaves a debris trail. Different size pieces fall at different locations because of air drag wired.com/2010/03/debris…
33/ There is a great comic on gravity wells from @xkcdComic - here is my explanation scienceblogs.com/dotphysics/201…
34/ The ancient Greeks did some really awesome things in astronomy - here are my favorites wired.com/2009/12/rp-7-c…
35/ Why is it warmer in the summer than in the winter (for the Northern hemisphere) - I love this question and it's fun to talk about student ideas of the seasons wired.com/2009/09/season…
36/ When is the Sun directly overhead? (go ahead and ask this of people around you). The real answer is probably "never" - but it depends on where you live. wired.com/2009/01/when-i…
37/ Here is my interview with @neiltyson in which we talk about space, learning, and video games wired.com/story/neil-deg…
38/ Yes, there IS gravity in space. This scene from @cwthe100 isn't quite right - but it's still fun wired.com/story/yes-ther…
39/ Speaking of gravity, why do astronauts float around in space? What is all this "weightlessness" stuff? wired.com/2011/07/why-do…
40/ Related - if you ask @Google "Why do astronauts float in space" - it gives you the wrong answer. This wrong answer is from my blog. Someone should fix this.
41/ Why are planets spherical but smaller asteroids look like potatoes? Here is an example from Guardians of the Galaxy Vol.2 - python code included wired.com/story/in-guard…
42/ Well, that's all I have for space and astronomy posts - just kidding. There's more.
43/ Gravity is an interaction between objects with mass. The universal gravitational constant is G - and you can experimentally determine this value with a pendulum and a mountain. Yup. wired.com/story/you-can-…
44/ Saturn's rings have gaps caused by the gravitational interaction with other orbiting objects. Here's how to model that with #python @GlowScript_Code wired.com/2017/02/use-ph…
45/ It's not so easy to crash into the Sun from the Earth because of our orbital motion. Here is a quick #python model showing how this works. wired.com/2016/07/physic…
46/ The "three body problem" models the motion of three objects that all interact gravitationally with each other. Really, the only way to solve this problem is with a numerical calculation @GlowScript_Code wired.com/2016/06/way-so… @AAPTHQ
47/ Here are 6 things you might not know about #GravitationalWaves @LIGO wired.com/2016/02/6-thin…
48/ You can calculate the speed of light using the moons of Jupiter - here's how to do it. wired.com/2016/02/you-ye…
49/ If we lived on #Mars, how would we play American Football? Here are my ideas wired.com/2015/10/physic…
50/ How would a human run in a lower gravity environment like on the surface of the moon? Inspired by the book "Artemis" @andyweirauthor wired.com/story/a-compre…
51/ What are Lagrange points? wired.com/2011/08/james-…
52/ What's so special about Low Earth Orbit? wired.com/2015/09/whats-…
53/ Here are some physics questions to go along with the #NewHorizons mission to Pluto wired.com/2015/07/lets-a…
54/ Using the images of Pluto and its moon to find the mass of Pluto wired.com/2015/07/calcul…
55/ I probably should have posted this earlier in the thread - but here is my #python tutorial on gravity and orbits #numericalcalculation @GlowScript_Code
56/ Could a human actually walk on the surface of a comet or is the gravitational field too small? wired.com/2014/08/comet-…
57/ Here is another explanation of the tides - because I can't help myself. wired.com/2013/11/how-do…
58/ How fast would the Earth have to rotate to fling all the humans off the surface? wired.com/2013/03/neil-d…
59/ Video analysis of projectile motion dust from the moon during the Apollo mission wired.com/2013/03/the-ac…
60/ How much energy does it take to get one candy bar to the ISS? Hint - it's about the energy stored in a candy bar wired.com/2013/01/how-do…
61/ If you dug a hole through the center of the Earth, how long would it take to fall through to the other side? wired.com/2012/11/how-lo…
62/ A look at gravity and weightlessness in Jules Verne's "From Earth to the Moon" wired.com/2011/07/weight… - this should probably be in my "sci fi physics" series.
63/ Is it better to launch spacecraft (rockets) from a mountain top or from the equator? wired.com/2011/07/space-…
64/ If you rode on the @esa Rosetta space craft, could you jump off and land on a comet? @esaoperations blogs.esa.int/rosetta/2014/0…
65/ How many trips would the @esa ATV need to make to supply the Death Star? blogs.esa.int/orion/2013/05/…
66/ Video analysis measuring the acceleration of the @ISS_CASIS during an ATV reboost - @esa blogs.esa.int/orion/2013/04/…
67/ Physics of the @nasa #mars helicopter wired.com/story/the-phys…
68/ Here are three ways to make a rocket out of a bottle with water wired.com/2016/03/three-… - the gifs are pretty good here.
69/ Would it be better for a rocket to use a nuclear explosion (all the mass ejected at once) or a slow steady thrust? A look at the rocket equation wired.com/2015/10/whatd-…
70/ What is the difference between visible light and infrared light? @flir wired.com/2014/04/the-wo…
71/ That's it. I told you this was a long thread. If you actually read through all these posts, you should probably get 3 hours of college credit.

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More from @rjallain

Aug 6, 2018
THREAD. For many it is the near the start of the fall semester. Here I will share my teaching and learning posts. Some of these are for faculty and some are for students.
2/ I'll start with posts that just deal with students. My first recommendation - ditch that scientific calculator. It's overpriced and not nearly as good as python wired.com/story/ditch-th…
3/ Three things to learn for physics lab: unit conversion, graphing, and looking past the instructions wired.com/2017/01/wanna-…
Read 14 tweets
May 19, 2018
THREAD. Here are some of my favorite #MacGyver hacks - most of them you can easily do yourself. These could also make great projects for kids.
2. For each hack, I will give two scores. Difficulty (D) from 0-10. A 0 difficulty means you already did it and a 10 means you will probably mess up a couple of times.

The other score: Equipment (E) from 0-10. 0 means no equipment 10 is specialized stuff.
3. Make a magnetic compass with a paper clip and a float. D = 2, E = 3.
Read 13 tweets

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