Awesome

Today for #bandofsketchers we had to draw something ‘Awesome’. One thing I’ve always wanted to do is see the Aurora Borealis, northern lights. The electrons in the solar wind get trapped by Earth’s magnetic fields and get drawn to the north and south poles. There they are drawn down and they interact with the magnetic fields and great auroral lights illuminating the sky. The Southern lights are called the Aurora Australis.

Experiment, atomic

I experimented with a sunset sky and added texture to it. Then I added some flood fill colours on a low tolerance so they didn’t spread far. Finally I used a sketching app to add the face and hair. I called it atomic because it reminds me of cloud chamber patterns, the patterns of electrons and Cosmic rays make as they pass through cold wet air.

Aurora

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The sun is starting to wake up after Solar Minimum. Apparently there was a coronal mass ejection from the sun yesterday. This means that a twisted magnetic line of energy had broken and exploded with plasma coming out of the Sun. The energy can fly out in any direction but sometimes the CME heads towards Earth, then the magnetic feild around the Earth shields us. Except at the poles. Its like when you put iron filings on a bar magnet. You can see the magnetic field lines and the way the iron filings follow them. The magnetic lines dip down towards the magnetic poles. This is what happens at the North and South poles of Earth. The energy from the sun is channelled towards the poles and excites the gasses in the atmosphere. I think Nitrogen glows green and Oxygen pink? I’m not sure.

Anyway there has been a CME from the Sun and the chance is there might be some Auroral displays in the next few days.

Fireworks

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Sodium nitrate, sulphur and carbon. Mixed together make gun powder. That is the explosive mixture they put into fireworks. The ratios of the different elements determine the burning characteristics. Strontium makes red, sodium yellow, copper green, magnesium bright white, other elements make different colours. Cobalt? Possibly blue. The elements burn at different temperatures. Each element, when heated, excites electrons in its atoms. As they cool down again photons of light are given out (emitted). The colour depends on the energy the photons release. Bear with me it gets complicated! In the same way you can tell what elements are in the sun or other celestial objects by their emission lines. If you look at a spectrum (rainbow of colours), given out by the light of the sun there are gaps, these correspond to gases like Hydrogen and Helium.

I don’t know enough science to explain properly.

Anyway the fireworks have stopped so I might go to bed.

X

Quantum cats…

Everything is ‘Quantum’ these days, its a word used for cleaning products, sci fi programmes, batteries….

Quantum, meaning tiny packets of energy, such as a quantum of light or electrons.

I’m no physicist or chemist but it does interest me. A few years ago I read a couple of books by John Gribben, “In search of Schrodingers cat” and “In search of Shrodingers kittens”.

See Wikipedia for information about Erwin Schrodinger. I tried to post a link but it would not copy over.

The idea is a thought experiment where a cat is placed in a box and a radioactive source is used to determine whether a poison will be released into the box killing the cat. There is no way of telling if the cat is alive or dead unless you open the box….. the cat is in a duality of states in the thought experiment, neither alive or dead until an outside influence, ( you or me) open the box to determine what has happened.

Seeing the cats this morning reminded me of the books.

Apparently electrons can become entangled and then even if they are separated by the entire universe, they will still react at the same time if something happens to one of them….Einstein called it a spooky reaction at a distance,  or something like that, I don’t remember the exact quote. But it showed that something was moving faster than light to make this happen. I don’t understand half of what was being explained but that is no reason to not try and understand, if you see what I mean.

Other authors and books to read?

Richard Feynmann, “QED”…stands for quantum electro dynamics. ( hard going and I didn’t understand much of it)

Feynmann wrote several books “Surely you are joking Mr Feynmann” is a wonderful autobiography and gives an inkling of what quantum mechanics is about.

I would write more, but my knowledge is too poor. However I hope I have tickled your thought-buds?!

(Apologies to scientists out there for this rather sketchy blog post)