Eclipse de sol en Montessori School

Eclipse de sol en Montessori School
20 marzo 2015

La ocultación del sol más visible en la península ibérica de los últimos diez años se va a producir hoy entre las 9.00 h y las 11.30 h de la mañana.
El departamento de física de Montessori School ha organizado una jornada especial en el laboratorio, para que todos los alumnos pueden observar el fenómeno, utilizando todo tipo de lentes y telescopios y material preparado para tal ocasión.

A Spinning World in a Spinning Universe.

The biological, chemical and physical sciences are not separate, as they once seemed to be, but form an increasingly coherent picture of the universe. Through genetics and the study of DNA, were are aware of the chemical nature of biological mechanisms; nuclear physics gives us an ever clearer description of the structure of atoms and their behaviour in molecules, while the relationship between man and his environment has never been more fascinating to study, or of such urgent importance. But in the past fifty years or so, right at the edge of science, at the cosmic scales of the very large and the near-incomprehensible smallness of particles within the nucleus, we have achieved a very complete understanding of the beginnings of the universe, and how the starting point of the Big Bang leads to today’s world of things which seem familiar but which are pretty amazing when you stop to think about them.
The cultural heritage which brought us to this point is that scientists do not treat the question “So what?” as a rhetorical one- they actually want to know the answer.
The moon rotates in orbit around the earth.
-So what?
So, with every rotation lasting about a month, there is a full moon and a new moon, depending on whether the side of the moon we can see is facing towards the sun or away from it.
-But why isn’t there a solar eclipse every month?
The orbit of the moon forms a sort of disc, and the orbit of the earth around the sun is also a disc, but tilted at an angle to the moon’s orbit, so that the earth, moon and sun do not usually form a straight line, but a sort of shallow triangle. Every few years, they do line up, where the two ‘discs’ cross over, and we get an eclipse.
-Which way does the moon go round the earth?
That’s an interesting question. We see the moon rising in the East and setting in the West, like the sun, but that’s because the earth itself is rotating West-to-East. But each day, the moon rises about one hour later than the day before, because it is actually rotating round the earth from West to East, and it takes the earth about one hour each day to catch up.
-What about the other planets?
They also rotate round the sun in a West-to-East direction. All their moons go round them with West-to East orbits, and even the sun itself spins on its own axis West-to-East.
-So what?
So, that is evidence that the whole solar system, the sun, planets, their moons and a whole load of other stuff like the asteroids, was formed from a single rotating mass of material.
-Cool
There’s more. Looking at the other stars near to us, they all go round the galaxy, which takes them many millions of years, and they all go the same way too; roughly West-East. So the whole galaxy is a huge rotating disc, and every star is spinning, and all their planets are spinning, and their moons are all spinning and there are probably many billions of them, and they’re all going the same way round.
-You get that just from watching an eclipse?
And a few other things too. There’s a lot you can get about the origins of the universe by looking at the night sky. Try it!

Bill Dixon

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