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Science according to Danielle (: -

Welcome to Mr. Ullrich's Blog! This blog is for 8th Grade Earth Science and Physical Science students. We will learn topics such as Astronomy, Geology and Meteorology. This blog will give us a place to discuss, learn and develop these topics during the year. If you are not from our class please post lots of comments!

by Danielle S teacher: Mr. Ullrich
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Article posted September 26, 2011 at 09:48 PM GMT-5 • comment (1) • Reads 412

Last Friday was the Autumnal equinox, for those who didn't know.  I personally love the fall because it's not too cold, not too hot and you can still play sports. You also get to jump in leaves, pumpkin pick, etc. I know this isn't really a "science related" article, but I will try to post more science-y articles!

Article posted September 26, 2011 at 09:48 PM GMT-5 • comment (1) • Reads 412

Article posted February 7, 2011 at 09:04 PM GMT-5 • comment (13) • Reads 448

We have all different types of weather: good weather, bad weather, even weather in between. There's snow, sleet, hail, rain, fog, smog, wind, sun, clouds, tornadoes, hurricanes, you name it! Mother Earth is very unpredictable, even though we've gotten to know her patterns pretty well. So is that all weather is? Absolutely not! Can we focus on one topic of weather? Sure :)

In my opinion, storms are really interesting, but the type of storm that interests me the most would have to be the hurricane. We all know that hurricanes are really dangerous, carry a lot of water, and that there are a lot of hurricnaes, especially in SouthEast US, but what else is there to know about hurricanes? Well, a lot!

To start off, a hurricane is a tropical cyclone, which in meteorological terms, is a storm system with a closed circulation around a center of low pressure that is fueled when moist air rises, condenses and releases heat. Producing very high winds and torrential rain, hurricanes can be catastrophic for living populations. However, hurricanes also play an important role in relieving sustained droughts and maintaining equilibrium in the environment. Hurricanes often begin as tropical storms, strengthening according to water temperature. Strong wind damage and water damage from flooding and storm surge from hurricanes can wreak havoc on regions all over the world. It can be up to 600 miles across and have strong winds spiraling inward and upward at speeds of 75 to 200 mph. Each hurricane usually lasts for over a week, moving 10-20 miles per hour over the open ocean. Hurricanes gather heat and energy through contact with warm ocean waters. Evaporation from the seawater increases their power. Hurricanes rotate in a counter-clockwise direction around an "eye." The center of the storm or "eye" is the calmest part. It has only light winds and fair weather. When they come onto land, the heavy rain, strong winds and large waves can damage buildings, trees and cars.

Hurricane Diagram

Click Here to get your very own Hurricane Tracking Chart.

If you live an area that's prone to hurricanes, then an emergency kit can be a big help for you. An emergency kit is designed to give you all the basic things you need to survive and be safe, from a way to get clean water for yourself to first aid kits and other helpful tools.

How do hurricanes form?

Hurricanes only form over really warm ocean water of 80°F or warmer. The atmosphere (the air) must cool off very quickly the higher you go. Also, the wind must be blowing in the same direction and at the same speed to force air upward from the ocean surface. Winds flow outward above the storm allowing the air below to rise. Hurricanes typically form between 5 to 15 degrees latitude north and south of the equator. The Coriolis Force is needed to create the spin in the hurricane and it becomes too weak near the equator, so hurricanes can never form there.

(Graphic Credit: UCAR)

Hurricane Formation

Click Here to learn more about hurricanes from UCAR.

What is storm surge?

Storm surges are frequently the most devastating element of a hurricane. As a hurricane’s winds spiral around and around the storm, they push water into a mound at the storm’s center. This mound of water becomes dangerous when the storm reaches land because it causes flooding along the coast. The water piles up, unable to escape anywhere but on land as the storm carries it landward. A hurricane will cause more storm surge in areas where the ocean floor slopes gradually. This causes major flooding.

As you watch the storm-surge animations, notice the effect that the physical geography of each coastline has on storm surge. Also, note the waves on top of the ocean's surface. Wind, waves, and sea-level rise all contribute to storm-surge damage.

Shallow-Water Coastline
Storm Surge
Deep-Water Coastline
Storm Surge

With technology the way it is, there are computer models that allow forecasters to predict the amount of storm surge that will affect a coastal area. These are called Slosh Models and take into account a storm’s strength, its path, how the ocean shallows, and the shape of the land. Then it calculates how much storm surge a hurricane will probably cause.

When does hurricane season start?

The Atlantic hurricane season is from June 1 to November 30, but most hurricanes occur during the fall months. The Eastern Pacific hurricane season is from May 15 to November 30. (Below is a graphic that shows you when hurricanes are most active across parts of the world.)

Hurricane Formation

Who names hurricanes?

From 1950 to 1952, tropical cyclones of the North Atlantic Ocean were identified by the phonetic alphabet (Able-Baker-Charlie-etc.), but in 1953 the US Weather Bureau switched to women's names. The rest of the world eventually caught on, and naming rights now go by the World Meteorological Organization, which uses different sets of names depending on the part of the world the storm is in. Around the U.S., only women's names were used until 1979, when it was decided that they should alternate a list that included men's names too. There's 6 different name lists that alternate each year. If a hurricane does significant damage, its name is retired and replaced with another.

Atlantic Hurricane Names

Eastern Pacific Hurricane Names

What is the difference between a hurricane and a typhoon?

Nothing except geography. Tropical storms occur in several of the world's oceans, and except for their names, they are essentially the same type of storm. In the Atlantic Ocean, Gulf of Mexico, and the Eastern Pacific Ocean, they are called hurricanes. In the Western Pacific Ocean, they are called typhoons. In the Indian Ocean, the Bay of Bengal, and Australia, these types of storms are called cyclones.

Hurricane Georges

(This is a satellite animation of Hurricane Georges, which struck the Mississippi Gulf coast in 1998.)

Who are the "Hurricane Hunters"?

The brave "hurricane hunters" work for the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA). Each mission lasts about ten hours, with the crews passing four to six times through the storm. The planes carry radar, sophisticated computers, and weather instruments that determine characteristics such as temperature, air pressure, wind speed, and wind direction inside the hurricane. The crews also release instruments that measure temperature, air pressure, and wind at different levels as the devices drop through the hurricane toward the ocean. By mission's end, NOAA can warn everyone in the hurricane's path. (Below is a satellite image of Hurricane Mitch back in October 1998. The Hurricane Hunters flew into the eye of Mitch just as this Category 5 hurricane with winds of 155 mph smacked right into Central America.)

Hurricane Mitch Hurricane Hunters Plane

Well, that's weather for you! (:


By the way, these are the two sites I got all my information from. Again, giving credit to both these sites. NONE OF THIS IS MINE, THIS IS CREDITED TO THESE SITES! (: thanks!



Article posted February 7, 2011 at 09:04 PM GMT-5 • comment (13) • Reads 448

Article posted January 21, 2011 at 06:30 PM GMT-5 • comment (3) • Reads 312

We all know about global warming and about how using fossil fuels, which are non-renewable energy sources, unlike the sun and wind, emits harmful gases such as Carbon Dioxide, Carbon Monoxide, Methane, Sulfur Dioxide and many more into our very polluted planet. We all heard about how if we don't use buses or trains or even bike, EVEN walk to work (which is great excercise, by the way) we will soon be left with a very sad planet Earth and not be able to use cars anymore because of the deficit of oil needed for gasolene. We have all heard that and MANY more. So why don't we act upon it? Why don't we use different sources of energy? We have other sources of energy, such as wind energy and solar energy. I feel that we need to be informed on the other ways we can use renewable energy sources, such as the wind, so that we can use it and help mother Earth.

So, now that I told you that we can use wind energy to help mother Earth, you're probably thinking... well.. what is wind energy? Well, I'll tell you what it is. It is when we take wind turbines and use them as stand-alone applications, or place them so that they can be connected to a utility power grid or even combined with a photovoltaic (solar cell) system. For utility-scale (megawatt-sized) sources of wind energy, a large number of wind turbines are usually built close together to form a wind plant.

OK, so now that you know what wind energy is, you're thinking, how do you get wind energy? Well, several electricity providers today use wind plants to supply power to their customers. Stand-alone wind turbines are typically used for water pumping or communications. However, homeowners, farmers, and ranchers in windy areas can also use wind turbines as a way to cut their electric bills.

There are many things that come out of using energy that comes from a renewable source such as wind, but there are a lot of good things that come from using wind energy. First, you're helping mother Earth by not emitting as much Carbon Dioxide and all those chemicals into her air. Second, you'll have energy for a lot longer and never run out of it because, again, wind is a renewable energy source. Third, you don't have to pay as much for electricity for using wind turbines, so that saves you money.

On the other hand, there are some set backs with this type of energy. First, you do have to install it, so unfortunately it costs money to install the wind turbines. Second, it's not windy every day, so you won't always have wind to power up your wind turbines ]: Third, if you're not careful, you can hurt your hands and since wind turbines have blades, you can cut them. (ouch!)

This type of energy is most commonly used in the MidWestern part of the United States and is most commonly used by farners.

That's wind energy for you! ;]

And please, take care of mother Earth, because she takes care of you! :]

 Residential Wind Turbine Sales Up, Signals Growth Of Green Energy In US alternative energy Image

SOURCES > > > windenergyamerica.com, awea.org, buildaroo.com,gotopowered.com. This is their information as well as mine, so they definitely deserve a lot of credit. Thanks! :]

Article posted January 21, 2011 at 06:30 PM GMT-5 • comment (3) • Reads 312

Article posted January 13, 2011 at 05:24 PM GMT-5 • comment (4) • Reads 156

Since we are learning about energy, I thought I should post some facta about Solar Panels :)

All this information is from http://facts-about-solar-energy.com/facts-about-solar-energy.html, and I am using all of their facts. Not mine.

-Okay, we all know it's a good choice, but why?

Here we discuss Facts about solar energy usage, systems, plus sun related and other Interesting Facts about Solar Energy.

All of which will help you with your decision whether or not to install a solar energy system at your home.

Perhaps you'd even like to save yourself a lot of money and Build your very own solar energy system.

facts about solar energy graphic

General facts

  • Solar Energy is better for the environment than traditional forms of energy.


  • Solar energy has many uses such as electricity production and heating of water through photovoltaic cells and directly for drying clothes.


  • Solar energy can also be used to heat swimming pools, power cars, for attic fans, calculators and other small appliances. It produces lighting for indoors or outdoors.


  • You can even cook food with solar energy.


  • Solar Energy is becoming more and more popular. The worldwide demand for Solar Energy is currently greater than supply.

Facts about Solar Energy usage:

  • Solar Energy is measured in kilowatt-hour. 1 kilowatt = 1000 watts.


  • 1 kilowatt-hour (kWh) = the amount of electricity required to burn a 100 watt light bulb for 10 hours.


  • According to the US Department of Energy, an average American household used approximately 866-kilowatt hours per month in 1999 costing them $70.68.


  • About 30% of our total energy consumption is used to heat water.

Facts about Solar Energy systems:

  • A home solar system is typically made up of solar panels, an inverter, a battery, a charge controller, wiring and support structure.


  • A 1-kilowatt home solar system takes about 1-2 days to install and costs around US$10,000, but can vary greatly and does not take into account any incentives offered by the government.


  • A 1-kilowatt home solar system consists of about 10-12 solar panels and requires about 100 square feet of installation area.


  • A 1 kilowatt home solar system will generate approximately 1,600 kilowatt hours per year in a sunny climate (receiving 5.5 hours of sunshine per day) and approximately 750 kilowatt hours per year in a cloudy climate (receiving 2.5 hours of sunshine per day).

  • A 1-kilowatt home solar system will prevent approximately 170 lbs. of coal from being burned, 300 lbs of CO2 from being released into the atmosphere and 105 gallons of water from being consumed each month!



  • About 40 solar cells are usually combined into a solar panel and around 10-12 panels mounted in an array facing due North to receive maximum sunlight.


  • The system usually comes with a 5-year warranty, although the solar panels are warranted for 20.


  • Relying on the battery back up, a solar energy system can provide electricity 24x7, even on cloudy days and at night.


  • Solar panels come in various colours.


  • Solar energy can be collected and stored in batteries, reflected, insulated, absorbed and transmitted.

Sun related Facts about Solar Energy:

  • Sunlight travels to the earth in approximately 8 minutes from 93,000,000 miles away, at 186,282 miles per second.


  • The sun is also the main source of non-renewable fossil fuels (coal, gas and petroleum), which began life as plants or animals whose energy came from the sun millions of year ago.


  • Solar energy is responsible for weather patterns and ocean currents.


  • Clouds, pollution and wind can prevent the sun's rays from reaching the earth.

Other Interesting Facts about Solar Energy:

  • Da Vinci predicted a solar industrialization as far back as 1447.


  • In one hour more sunlight falls on the earth than what is used by the entire population in one year.


  • A world record was set in 1990 when a solar powered aircraft flew 4060km across the USA, using no fuel.


  • Fierce weather cost the world a record $130 Billion in the first eleven months of 1998- more money than was lost from weather related disasters from 1980 to 1990 ($82 Billion).


  • Researchers from the Worldwatch Institute and Munich Re blame deforestation and climate change from Earth warming for much of the loss. The previous one-year record was $90 Billion in 1996. Source - Associated Press, November 28,1998.


  • About 2 billion people in the world are currently without electricity.


  • Accounting for only 5 percent of the world's population, Americans consume 26 percent of the world's energy.


  • Electric ovens consume the most amount of electricity, followed by microwaves and central air conditioning.


  • Third world countries with an abundance of sunlight and a population currently without electricity, represents the fastest growing market for solar energy, with the largest domestic market being the utilities sector.


  • Shell Oil predicts that 50% of the world's energy will come from renewable sources by 2040.

Article posted January 13, 2011 at 05:24 PM GMT-5 • comment (4) • Reads 156

Article posted January 5, 2011 at 05:36 PM GMT-5 • comment (6) • Reads 132

Hey there(=

OK, so, we FINALLY finished our what seemed interminable (Sorry, Mr.Ullrich, I loved it, but it's incredibly long) Astronomy unit. Now, we are moving into a new area: Earth's Energy Budget ('cause, yes, I memorize the areas [no, I just have my Refrence Table]) which includes Topic 5, Energy.

In a span of two days, we learned about the EM (ElectroMagentic) Spectrum and how different objects contain different elements which contain different spectra lines (woah, that's a mouthful) and how energy is transferred. It is transferred in three ways: radiation, conduction and convection.

Radiation: when energy emits into space. it is able to emit into empty space (that's why the soup in your thermos isn't hot after 3 hours)

Conduction: when energy is passed from one object to another. this is usually for solids and works best for metals.

Convection: when energy is passed out of fluids (not just liquids, but gases, too). this is done by the fluids moving through circulatory systems called currents.

And that's my science free write!


Article posted January 5, 2011 at 05:36 PM GMT-5 • comment (6) • Reads 132

Article posted December 25, 2010 at 06:23 PM GMT-5 • comment (6) • Reads 136

Merry Christmas XD

So, of course, I'm the only one on our blog on Christmas day (you could say I have way too much time on my hands.)

Well, hope you guys have a great holiday!


Article posted December 25, 2010 at 06:23 PM GMT-5 • comment (6) • Reads 136

Article posted December 19, 2010 at 01:49 PM GMT-5 • comment (2) • Reads 114

I am soo excited! The holidays are nearing and I cannot wait to just be able to hang out with friends and be with family. I am counting the days untill break! We have 5 days until break(:

What are you doing for the break?

Happy Holidays(:

Article posted December 19, 2010 at 01:49 PM GMT-5 • comment (2) • Reads 114

Article posted December 19, 2010 at 01:34 PM GMT-5 • comment (1) • Reads 130

Astronomy is a great topic, though some parts are more boring than others. But, throughout the entire unit, I would have to say that my favorite parts of it was when we learned about how the universe formed (Big Bang Theory) and how stars form.

What we have learned has pretty much been self-explainitory and all the information is sufficient and has sufficed, but if there's one thing I still question, it's how we got to create and understand the Doppler Effect. That part is still a bit confusing and also not quite clear, although I get the concept; if it goes toward the red side of the spectrum it's expanding, if it's toward the blue side of the specturm it's contracting.

Nothing in particular was confusing or puzzling in any way, so I don't really have much to question (Sorry Mr.Ullrich)

Well, yeah... That's astronomy for you ;) 


Article posted December 19, 2010 at 01:34 PM GMT-5 • comment (1) • Reads 130

Article posted December 10, 2010 at 04:28 PM GMT-5 • comment (2) • Reads 218

Hey guys!

OK, so as you may or may not know... December has two really cool things happening this month! We have a meteor shower on the 14th that will have at least 120 meteors per hour! Crazy, no? We have a Lunar Eclipse on the 21st, though you'll have to wake up at 2 A.M to see it, so you may want to take a LONG rest. 

Will you be watching the meteor shower or the eclipse?


PS- Jupiter, Saturn, and Mars were visible just a week ago... did you see them? (Sorry I didn't include this earlier)

Article posted December 10, 2010 at 04:28 PM GMT-5 • comment (2) • Reads 218

Article posted November 30, 2010 at 08:10 PM GMT-5 • comment (3) • Reads 238

OK, so this week, my class has a communication challenge. The goal of this challenge is for us to get as many comments as we can on our blogs! So I need your help! If you like anything on my blog, or just want to drop by and say hi, do so! And tell your friends to drop by, too!


Comment it up!

-Danielle (:

Article posted November 30, 2010 at 08:10 PM GMT-5 • comment (3) • Reads 238

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I am an 8th grader and am currently in Earth Science. It is awesome and look forward to all of the rest of the unit =D Locations of visitors to this page

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