Label: Cool Photo

May 10, 2010

Sunday, Mother’s Day, was very windy with gusts reaching 40 miles per hour. It was sunny and there were many cumulus clouds in the blue skies. But there weren’t the usual puffy cumulus clouds that look like cotton balls.


Instead they were cumulus fractus (or fractocumulus) clouds, sometimes also called "scud"  by pilots. Fractus clouds are clouds that are torn by high winds and look very much like cotton balls that have been torn apart by fingers.   They change constantly and often move rapidly across the sky.

Posted by: Seymour Simon

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March 31, 2010

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I was looking at the moon two nights ago when I decided that I might be able to take a photo of the moon with my new digital camera that has a magnification of about ten times. This is a hand-held photo and I’m just amazed at how clear it is. Why don’t you try to take a photo of the moon yourself with a digital camera? It would be best if you can to increase the ASA speed to 800 or more (ask someone to help if you don’t know how to do this). Also prop the camera on something solid and hold it as steadily as you can. You may have to do a bit of editing to crop the moon to fill the whole frame but it’s easier than you think. In fact, here’s a contest: Best shot of the moon that I get by the end of April gets a brand new signed copy of my book THE MOON. 

Posted by: Seymour Simon

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March 19, 2010

My grandson Jeremy never outgrew his love of dinosaurs and other prehistoric animals….in fact,  at 11 years old he is the one of the most knowledgeable people I know on this topic. The other night he was telling me about a recent discovery of Ice-age Fossils at the La Brea Tar Pits In Los Angeles, including the first intact skeleton of a mammoth. He knew the names of all the animals involved and many details of this important find.

This story,  from today’s Live Science news, is for Jeremy (and all the kids, both young and grown-up, who love dinosaurs). A shark attack that took place 4 million years ago has just been reconstructed from the extinct hunter’s fossilized victim - a dolphin.  Prehistoric Shark Attack Reconstructed Ribs of a dolphin that lived some 4 million years ago shows bite marks made by the teeth of an ancient shark called Cosmopolitodus hastalis during an attack. Credit:  Giovanni Bianucci. 

Posted by: Seymour Simon

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September 11, 2009


This wonderful photograph was published on this morning. It is a photograph of four-year old Ella Bromsted’s hair, charged with static electricity as she gets off a slide at Robert Morris Elementary School in Batavia, N.Y.

What is static electricity?

Static electricity occurs when an electrical charge builds up on the surface of an object. And, those electrical charges stay on the surface of the object until it comes into contact with another object. Then, the electricity is discharged in a burst of energy - what is sometimes called a "shock." Have you ever walked across a carpet on a cold, dry winter day? Then when you touch your friend’s hand you both jump because you’ve given her a shock! What actually happened was that the friction between your shoes and the carpet caused static electricity to build up on the surface of your body, and the electricity was discharged in a burst of energy when you touched her.

Have you ever heard the phrase "opposites attract"? Some people use that phrase when they are talking about love, but it is also true for electricity. Opposite charges attract each other (a positive charge moves toward a negative charge), and charges that are the same repel each other (two positives push away from each other).

Knowing that, can you guess why Ella’s hair looks like this?

This electric mohawk happened because when Ella’s hair came into contact with the plastic slide, each hair picked up a positive charge. The hair is literally standing up on her head because the individual hairs all have the same charge, and they are repelling each other.

I guess you could say that Ella had a shocking first day of school!

We’d love to hear about your first day back at school. You can write to me at

Posted by: Seymour Simon

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