Strange Universe: The Weird and Wild Science of Everyday Life -- on Earth and Beyond

By Bob Berman

An illuminating and enjoyable medical exploration of daily oddities

Bob Berman's Strange Universe is a special guidebook to a few of the more unusual moments in astronomy and astonishingly precise proof in regards to the global round us. Berman is stimulated via an easy philosophy: everybody can comprehend technological know-how. He feels passionately that simple realities of our lifestyles are actually remarkable, and it in basic terms takes a little of technological know-how to understand them.

Geared to the nonscientist, Berman's unique essays are full of the trademark wit and cleverness that has earned him acclaim over decades in his columns for Astronomy and realize magazines. He emphasizes curiosities of the flora and fauna to which everybody can relate, and dishes at the little-known secrets and techniques approximately area and a few of science's greatest mistakes (including a truly embarrassing second from Buzz Aldrin's journey to the moon).

Fascinating to someone drawn to the wonders of our global and the cosmos past, Strange Universe will make you smile and think.

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Why is glass opaque to UV? attention-grabbing stuff. Ultraviolet waves precisely fit the electron resonance interval of glass, growing high-amplitude vibrations. those vibrations jostle adjoining atoms quite a bit that they can’t cool down fast adequate to create new photons to proceed during the pane. So UV remarkable glass produces warmth instead of gentle. The time of day and the season of the 12 months be certain how a lot ultraviolet arrives to do mischief on Earth’s floor. because the solar loses elevation, its gentle weakens plus has to go through extra blocking off air. The UV setting turns into so low throughout the chilly, low-Sun months that sitting at the back of glass in winter—say, in a greenhouse—you’d want not less than a hundred and sixty hours of regular noontime publicity to burn. To tan, you’d need to sunbathe nonstop for a number of days, an not going job for the laziest of cats. Even open air it’s not easy to tan or burn in iciness, a result of Sun’s low altitude. yet due to the fact that snow displays among seventy five and ninety percentage of the ultraviolet outstanding it, you could negate the security of November–January open air task by way of happening a snowboarding holiday. Schussing later within the season is even worse; snow in March (when the sunlight is way greater) produces a burn 3 times speedier than in December. From could via July the sunlight is so excessive among 11:00 A. M. and 3:00 P. M. that any one with common dermis will burn in below 90 mins. You do have considerable secure summer time hours sooner than 9:00 AM and after 5:00 PM. in the course of these seven early and overdue sunlight hours, the UV-A depth is greater than halved and UV-B is chopped by way of a minimum of eighty percentage. The solar could then feel and appear powerful, and epidermis will briefly redden simply because infrared wavelengths succeed in you at approximately complete power. yet you won’t burn. So the most secure outside summer time activity—no hat or lotion required—would be a past due afternoon picnic in a meadow: Grass displays simply three percentage of UV. commute effortlessly alters UV publicity, that is maximum within the tropics, in fact, a result of Sun’s excessive elevation. maximum, too, within the Antarctic, as a result gap in that region’s protecting ozone layer. yet easily going to areas of upper elevation is sort of as harmful. each 1,000-foot climb increases UV depth by means of four percentage. That’s why Denver’s UV is 20 percentage improved than Philadelphia’s, even though either take a seat on the related range. a much bigger consider UV publicity is the presence or absence of clouds—which is why Australians, with their sunny weather, have this sort of excessive fee of dermis melanoma in comparison with so much american citizens. basically, a seriously overcast day skill no UV. (“Heavily” is the main observe; thick darkish clouds block every thing, whereas a excessive skinny cirrus layer shall we just about all the undesirable photons via. ) Ozone, a strange molecule made up of 3 oxygen atoms, is the frontline barrier for blockading harmful UV-B. It’s a skimpy, fragile safeguard: If the entire atmospheric ozone settled on the floor, the layer could purely be as thick as pennies. yes chemical substances, like chlorofluorocarbons (CFCs) and halon (used in refrigeration and hearth extinguishers, respectively, and now being phased out or banned outright), are such potent ozone destroyers that UV degrees have grown markedly some time past 20 years.

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