Tuesday, December 08, 2009


I read this, and of course was fascinated, and had to try it out.

We have two liter bottles that are attached by a cap and straws, a very basic machine for a fountain.

This experiment called for two bottles taped together, with a washer in between the openings.

I thought maybe the cap thing we have would work if we took out the straws, and it does.

We opened a teabag, and poured the tea (green tea, so all one herb) into the water.

Then we flipped it over, and set the water to spinning, tornado style.

The objective was “to determine why different parts of the Sun rotate at different rates.”

Did the tea leaves spin at different rates?

Absolutely they did.
It was fascinating to watch.

To check our observations (this was my idea), we put water in a glass jar, let it settle for a few seconds, then poured some loose tea into the jar. (Again, we used green tea, because we were verifying, and wanted a consistent mass.) The tea fell at a consistent rate, and in a straight downward line. No drifting or bobbing about.

Here’s what happens: As the water swirls, it pulls the loose bits of leaves. Each bit of leaf moves according to the speed of the particular current that is carrying it – different rates all over the funnel.
The Sun is not is not a solid body, but a ball of spinning gasses. Like the leaves, all the gases do not move at the same rate. Therefore, the number of days it takes for parts of the Sun to complete one rotation (turning of an object about its own axis) varies. The rotation time at the Sun’s equator is about 25 days and about 35 days at its poles.”

I can’t help but say “wow.” I had no idea.

See? Easy and cool experiment. Took only a few seconds, and was super interesting. :)

This one comes from Janice VanCleave’s 201 Awesome, Magical, Bizarre, & Incredible Experiments. It is entitled “Free Movers”. For more of Janice VanCleave experiments, visit Science Project Ideas For Kids.

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