Label: Video

September 22, 2011

Look at this magnificent video of the aurora australis, captured by cameras mounted on the belly of the International Space Station. These flickering, colored lights in the atmosphere are caused by electrons trapped in Earth’s magnetic field. We call the flickering lights the aurora borealis, or "northern lights" here in the northern hemisphere. But the space station was flying over the south pole when it recorded this video, and when seen over Antarctic regions they are called the aurora australis, or "southern lights." NASA says that it may be the best video ever captured of this ghostly phenomenon.

The sun is never at rest, but the amount of solar activity changes over eleven-year cycles in which the sun is alternately very quiet, and the years it has many storms. We are entering a new, active cycle, and the aurora you see in this video was caused by a geomagnetic storm on the sun that launched a blazing hot coronal mass ejection (CME) toward the earth. No one has a better view of its effect on Earth than the crew of the International Space Station. The lights are so bright that you can see the underside of the space station grow green in the reflected light. 

Video: Taken over the southern Indian Ocean, the movie spans a 23-min period from 17:22:27 to 17:45:12 GMT on Sept. 17. Courtesy NASA.


Posted by: Seymour Simon

(2) Comments  •   Labels: Aurora Borealis, Video, space, Space Weather   •  Permalink (link to this article)

September 21, 2011

Last week (before it got so chilly here in Columbia County, NY) Liz and I were sitting on the deck watching the sunset when we saw this swarm of gnats (pronounced NATS - silent "g". They are small, two-winged flies).

Click Ghost of Gnats to see the video. 

They were all moving, but as one big, spherical shape. I suspected it was a mating swarm, so I decided to do a little reading and check it out.

Turns out it was indeed a mating swarm. When this happens, a big group of male flies are irresistibly attracted to pheromones secreted by a female or females who are ready for mating.  Pheromones (pronounced FAIR-uh-moans) are a chemical substance given off by some animals, especially insects, that influences the behavior of other animals of the same species. The males detected the pheromones from hundreds of yards away, and all rushed to the same place to try to find the female.

You end up with this ball of almost all male flies, searching for the female who is somewhere in the middle. The expression for this is "a ghost of gnats." Isn’t that great? It does look a little bit like a ghost haunting in the sunset twilight, as all the gnats move as a big group. 

 

Photo: A Fungus gnat, courtesy Maine.gov

Posted by: Seymour Simon

(1) Comments  •   Labels: Video, Insects, Halloween   •  Permalink (link to this article)

June 10, 2011

The best video of the week has to be the massive solar flare that erupted from the sun on Tuesday morning. Our friends at SpaceWeather.com wrote that "this recording of the blast by NASA’s Solar Dynamics Observatory ranks as one of its most beautiful and dramatic movies (ever)." Click here to see the video.

"It looks like someone kicked a clod of dirt in the air," said solar physicist C. Alex Young of NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center in a YouTube video interview. "I’ve never seen material released in this way before - an amazing, amazing event."

People who live in the northern latitudes may see particularly beautiful auroras (northern lights) this week, as the CME (coronal mass ejection - a massive burst of solar wind and magnetic fields released into space) makes its way toward Earth.

Video: NASA’s Solar Dynamics Observatory

Posted by: Seymour Simon

(1) Comments  •   Labels: science news, Video, space   •  Permalink (link to this article)

May 19, 2011

It’s Thursday, so it is time for our favorite video of the week. Take a look at this highly unlikely, very special friendship between a black cat and a barn owl. They clearly love to play with each other!

(Teachers and Librarians: This video is hosted on YouTube, which I know is blocked in many schools. Perhaps you can prescreen at home before recommending that students do the same? We try to avoid YouTube in general, but this video is just too wonderful to pass up! Thank you for understanding. Seymour)

 

Posted by: Seymour Simon

(3) Comments  •   Labels: Animals, Video   •  Permalink (link to this article)

May 14, 2011

Have you ever seen a baby hawk being fed its breakfast? You can watch live footage right now on the hawk cam. Only one fledgling has survived, but it is growing so quickly that I find myself keeping the window open on my desktop so that I can watch. If you click on this photo, it will take you to the live webcam.

Sometimes you have to wait a little while, if the mother is sitting on the baby to keep it warm. But, the wait is worth it, I promise. What a cutie!

Posted by: Liz Nealon

(3) Comments  •   Labels: Animals, Video   •  Permalink (link to this article)

May 6, 2011

If you are reading this morning, click on the "play" button to watch baby hawks being born. I’ve just seen both parents standing on the edge of the nest while the first, tiny fledling squeezed out of its shell. Amazing sight to see!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Update at 10:41 am Eastern Time from Liz Nealon (Seymour is speaking in Illchester Elementary School, Ellicott City, MD this morning).

Two babies are safely hatched. I managed to grab this screen capture photo of the one remaining egg, plus a tiny baby, when the mother bird got up to clean it!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Posted by: Seymour Simon

(0) Comments  •   Labels: science news, Animals, Video   •  Permalink (link to this article)

May 5, 2011

       

What do you find every Thursday on the Seymour Science blog? Our favorite video of the week, of course!

Did you ever get to the middle of the afternoon and feel very, very sleepy? Like you might just want to roll over and take a quick nap?

We think that this panda might have been feeling exactly this way!

Posted by: Liz Nealon

(1) Comments  •   Labels: Animals, Video   •  Permalink (link to this article)

May 3, 2011

       

 

 Do you know the expression: a watched pot doesn’t boil? It means that when you are impatiently waiting for something natural to happen, you should chill out, relax and let nature take its course.

 

 

Have you been watching the Hawk Cam that we blogged about last week? We have, and it has been feeling kind of like waiting for that pot to boil. It is hard to be patient, because we are so eager to see these babies! 

 

 

I checked in today just as Violet rose to take a break, and was able to snap this very cool photo of the hawk eggs. I guess that confirms that they still have not hatched.

The babies are expected to be born in the next few days. If you want to watch and wait along with us, click on this video any time. It is not every day that you can observe something like this up close.

Posted by: Liz Nealon

(0) Comments  •   Labels: Animals, Video, Hawk Cam   •  Permalink (link to this article)

April 28, 2011

As part of our month-long Earth Day celebration, we are introducing a new weekly treat on SeymourSimon.com. Regular users know that every Tuesday brings a new "Cool Photo of the Week." And, every Friday the website is updated with a new Silly Animal Joke or Riddle.

And now we have a new special feature. Welcome to Stupendous Video Thursday!  We start with this clip of two young polar bears play-fighting. I think you will agree that this is an absolutely stupendous piece of video.

Female polar bears give birth to two cubs, who stay with their mother for about a year-and-a-half, learning to hunt and live on their own. These young animals like to play-fight, baring their teeth and biting their brothers and sisters. That’s how the cub develops the physical skills it needs for moving, jumping and hunting. Even if this fight looks fierce, it’s just a game for them.

 

Speaking of Silly Animal Jokes and Riddles, I have a polar bear joke.

Question: What do you call an angry Polar Bear ?

Answer: You don’t call him anything, you just run.


 

What are you doing this Earth Month to contribute to the global effort to pledge a Billion Acts of Green? Click on "Comments," at the bottom of any Earth Day story, and tell me how you are making a difference. We will continue to accept your ideas through Thursday, April 28. Then, on Friday 4/29, we will publish all your comments in one big article, to honor each writer’s promise to protect our planet, and inspire other readers to do the same.

Posted by: Liz Nealon

(2) Comments  •   Labels: Animals, Video, Earth Day 2011   •  Permalink (link to this article)

April 26, 2011

This photograph, taken in the wild at night, is of a Yellow Cricket Tree Frog (Dendropsophus microcephalus) in the middle of his mating call. 

These tiny frogs can be found throughout most of Central America, and some South American countries. It lives on the edges of the rainforest, mostly in marshy areas, ponds, and other pools of water.

This species of frog experiences metachrosis (meh-tah-CROW-sis, which means "color change"). During the night, its back is a light yellow color with various brown or tan markings. During the day, it darkens to a light brown with darker brown or red markings. We can tell that this is a photograph of a breeding male, because of his yellow vocal sac (the balloon-like bulge under his chin).

During the mating season, the male frogs gather in large groups of thousands of frogs around the breeding areas and call out from grasses at the edge of water. When they really get going, humans sometimes think the quick "creek-eek-eek-eek" call is being made by crickets. These frogs work hard when they are looking for a mate, producing between 200 to 380 notes per minute at their peak! Even though there are thousands of them making so many short noises, scientists have found that each male is careful to avoid having his calls overlap with others, because he wants to stand out from the other males in the group.

If you want to hear the sound of the calls of the yellow tree frog (and other frogs at well), click on this link. There are seven different frog calls captured in this video, which is a little dark because it was shot in the wild, at night. This frog is the last one on the clip (about 2½ minutes in).

Photo: Brian Gratwicke

Video: Nick Sly 


  What are you doing this Earth Month to contribute to the global effort to pledge a Billion Acts of Green? Click on "Comments," at the bottom of any Earth Day story, and tell me how you are making a difference. We will continue to accept your ideas through Thursday, April 28. Then, on Friday 4/29, we will publish all your comments in one big article, to honor each writer’s promise to protect our planet, and inspire other readers to do the same.

 

Posted by: Seymour Simon

(5) Comments  •   Labels: Animals, Cool Photo, Video, Earth Day 2011   •  Permalink (link to this article)

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