Label: Cool Photo

October 27, 2015

This ghostly sight is known as the dB 141 Nebula. It is composed of the gassy remains of a supernova - the gigantic explosion that occurred when a huge star blew up. And since it kind of looks like a bunch of ghosts, it reminds me to wish all my readers a Happy, Out of This World, Halloween!


Photo: Credit: T.A. Rector/University of Alaska Anchorage, H. Schweiker/WIYN and NOAO/AURA/NSF

Posted by: Seymour Simon

(1) Comments  •   Labels: Astronomy, Cool Photo, Halloween   •  Permalink (link to this article)

October 8, 2014




Look at this great photograph that I just received from Tamie Williams, the School librarian at George Washington Carver Elementary School in Neosho, Missouri. Those are two of my books, and one by my friend and fellow StarWalk Kids author Caroline Arnold.

Thanks for including me in your Halloween decorations, guys! 

Posted by: Seymour Simon

(0) Comments  •   Labels: Cool Photo, Human Body, Halloween   •  Permalink (link to this article)

October 7, 2014

Those of us who live in the Northeastern U.S. are very lucky in the Autumn, because the mix of deciduous trees in our forests and countryside make for a magnificent show as the leaves turn in August.

The change is so distinct that it can even be seen from space! This is our Cool Photo of the Week, taken by NASA’s Terra satellite, which is orbiting about 438 miles (705 kilometers) above Earth. You can see the Great Lakes in this photo, along with the changing autumn leaves.


Have you ever wondered why the leaves turn colors in the fall? Leaves stop producing chlorophyll when the days get shorter and the temperatures are colder. Chloropyll, which enables plants to turn sunlight into energy, has a green tint. So, when the chlorophyll is gone, the other colors in the leaves become visible. That’s why we see what is know as "fall colors."

Photos: Mary Terriberry/Shutterstock, NASA 

Posted by: Seymour Simon

(0) Comments  •   Labels: Cool Photo, Earth, Seasons   •  Permalink (link to this article)

September 30, 2014

Meet the Western Pygmy Possum, the subject of our Cool Photo of the Week. This tiny marsupial lives in the dry countryside in various parts of Australia. Its body is just 3 inches (7.7 cm) long and its tail is as long as its body. Like most marsupials (kangaroos, for example), the females in this species carry their young in a pouch until they are ready to live on their own.

This photograph makes me want to say: Can I have one, please?!


Photo: Amanda McLean 

Posted by: Seymour Simon

(5) Comments  •   Labels: Animals, Cool Photo   •  Permalink (link to this article)

September 23, 2014

Here’s a new word - PYLON. A pylon is the name for those huge towers that support the wires that carry electricity to our towns and cities. They are generally considered to be pretty ugly…a necessary, but unattractive feature of modern life.

In Europe, they have been holding competitions, asking architects to rethink the homely pylon. Is there a way to make this necessary utility more attractive? To think about it more like a sculpture, or a piece of art? The answer is a definitive Yes! 






A British company came up with this design, which they call the Flower Tower.

And in Russia, a company submitted this design for the Sochi Olympics. Isn’t it magnificent?


Posted by: Seymour Simon

(11) Comments  •   Labels: Cool Photo   •  Permalink (link to this article)

February 4, 2014

This is a Cocoa Frog (Hypsiboas sp.), a newly discovered species that lives in the rainforest in Surinam. It was discovered in 2013 along with nearly 20,000 other new species around the world. Biologists and other scientists estimate that there are about 8 million species still unidentified, and that doesn’t include the huge number of microbes - microscopic living things like bacteria - that we have not discovered or named yet.

It almost looks good enough to eat….but I wouldn’t try it! 


Photo: Stuart V Nielsen


Posted by: Seymour Simon

(3) Comments  •   Labels: Animals, Cool Photo, Frogs   •  Permalink (link to this article)

January 14, 2014

What happens when you go outside and blow soap bubbles during a polar vortex? Photographer Angela Kelly and her son tried it when it was 15ºF, and found that the bubbles instantly turned to ice - it looks like the world of Frozen! This was an easy pick to be our Cool Photo of the Week. 


Posted by: Seymour Simon

(18) Comments  •   Labels: Cool Photo   •  Permalink (link to this article)

January 7, 2014

We’ve all seen many photographs from the record-shattering cold that has gripped the United States and Canada this week, but I particularly like this one. It shows Lake Michigan frozen solid, with the Chicago skyline in the background. 


Posted by: Seymour Simon

(6) Comments  •   Labels: Climate Change, Cool Photo, Weather   •  Permalink (link to this article)

December 17, 2013

What does a NASA engineer do when he wants to try something new? Mark Rober left his job as a mechanical engineer working on projects like building the Mars Curiosity rover to use his engineering skills to design animated clothing that he calls "wearable technology."

Here is an example. That is Mark Rober wearing a Christmas sweater that has an animated fireplace complete with a burning yule log. To make it work, the person wearing the sweater installs Rober’s app on his or her smartphone and stashes the phone in a velcro pocket hidden inside the sweater.

"Nothing is as cool as spaceships," he said. "But I will say, the thing I liked most about working for NASA was the creative aspect, and doing things no one has done before. [Now], that’s what I get to do with clothing."

Posted by: Seymour Simon

(0) Comments  •   Labels: Cool Photo, NASA, Engineering   •  Permalink (link to this article)

December 4, 2013

We would like to begin today’s Writing Wednesday by welcoming Mr. Gredder’s
5th Graders from Land O’ Pines Elementary School. We’re looking forward to hearing from you all!

Are you ready to write about FOG?

Science News Story:


Park rangers and tourists alike at the Grand Canyon were treated to a rare sight over Thanksgiving weekend. Everyone rushed to see as word spread that the massive canyon, the longest in the world, was full of fog.

Normally air gets colder with altitude. In other words, the temperature drops as you go up in the atmosphere. Occasionally, an "inversion" happens. An inversion means that the cold air stays close to the ground and the moisture condenses into droplets of fog. That is what happened at the Grand Canyon last weekend, filling the huge gorge with a mighty river of fog.

"Much better than Black Friday!" National Park Service Ranger Erin Whittaker posted on the Grand Canyon’s Facebook page. "Rangers wait for years to see it. Word spread like wildfire and most ran to the rim to photograph it. What a fantastic treat for all!"

Your assignment:

Explain this unusual weather event in your own words. Use details from both the photographs and the news story in your description of this Thanksgiving treat.

Happy Writing!


Photos: Erin Whittaker, National Park Service 

Note for Educators: Did you know that we have more than 50 Writing Wednesday topics archived on We strive to make these posts evergreen so that you can use them whenever the topic suits your lesson plan. Check out the Writing Wednesday Archive today!


Posted by: Seymour Simon

(3) Comments  •   Labels: Common Core, Writing Wednesday, Cool Photo, Weather   •  Permalink (link to this article)

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