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Answers to Popular Scientific Questions

Updated on October 16, 2016

The Science of Colors

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How do Rainbows Form?

We all love to marvel at the sight of rainbows in the sky, but do you know how rainbows form?

Similar to how clouds form, rainbows form from droplets of water suspended in the atmosphere after a storm.

Because of the density of the water droplets, when hit by sunlight the water acts like a bunch of tiny prisms that break up the light into wavelengths that are able to bend the light into the shape of an arc.

The result is an arc consisting of bands of colors that create a rainbow.

Why is the Sky Blue?

The short answer to why is the sky blue is that it isn't blue at all. The sky appears blue to us, but that is only due to an effect called scattering.

When light passes through Earth's atmoshpere, it gets bounced all over the place by particles in the air. The color blue has an extremely short wavelength, so it is able to pass through the atmosphere more easily than other colors.

In reality, sunlight is made out of many different colors, which is why we see a different color sky at sunrise and at sunset. Throughout most of the day however, the main color we see is the blue, comprised of the wavelengths given off by the sun.

The Science of Nature

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How do Clouds Form?

What are those large white puffs in the sky we call clouds? Clouds are created by a combination of water droplets and ice crystals - the more water droplets, the thicker the clouds!

Clouds form when humid, warm air rises towards the sky. The higher the moisture rises, the cooler the air becomes, which allows the water droplets to mass together into what we see as clouds.

There are several different types of clouds, and they are differentiated based on their size, shape and appearance. Clouds are categorized as cumulus, cirrus, stratus, nimbus or a combination of the different types.

Cumulus clouds are lumpy, puffy clouds that heap together. Cirrus clouds are stringy and thin. Stratus clouds are clouds that form in thin layers. Nimbus clouds are the low hanging, gray rain clouds that form in the sky.

Science's 20 Most Unbelievable Truths

Do you think animals have emotions?

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Are Humans the Only Living Beings that Have Emotions?

Many people believe that animals don't have emotions, and this subject has been a heated debate for decades, if not centuries.

Scientific studies however have found that some animals do in fact have emotions.

In recent years, the scientific community has become more accepting of the idea that animals experience emotions.

Scientific research has provided insight into similarities of physiological changes between human and non-human animals when experiencing various emotions.

Spindle neurons, which control emotions in humans, have been found in the brains of a number of animals, including whales, dolphins, and elephants. Emotions created by these neurons are what enable animals to behave adaptively and flexibly in nature.

Why Do We Dream?

Dreams are involuntary thoughts that occur in succession that are typicaly experienced while we are asleep. Dreams have perplexed people for ages, making people wonder about where dreams come from and what they mean, if anything.

Scientists have concluded that dreams are just one of the ways are unconcsious self tries to communicate with our concsious self. Scientists don't agree however as to why humans dream.

While some scientists attribute dreams to significant meanings being conveyed by the unconcsious, other scientists believe that dreams have no significance, and are just a natural reaction that occur while we sleep.

How Old is the Earth?

Do you know how old the earth is? If not, don't feel badly. Most people don't know the age of the earth, and even experts have debated this topic for centuries.

In the 1700's, a highly acclaimed scientist proved that the age of the planet was approximately 75,000 years. In the 1800's another scientist proved that the earth was actually much older than that- ranging from 20 to 40 million years old.

Towards the end of the 19th century and into the early 20th century, new research using the discovery of radioactivity was able to conclude that the earth was actually between 4 and 5 billion years old.

So how old IS the earth? Based on historical research regarding the age of the planet, the truth is that we may never really know.

The Sun is NOT the Brightest Component of the Solar System

Is the Sun the Brightest Part of the Universe?

Surprisingly, the sun is not the brightest component of the universe. So what is? Black holes are actually the brightest part of the solar system.

A black hole is a region of spacetime from which gravity prevents anything, including light, from escaping. Because of this, black holes are the brightest component of the universe.

Although black holes have invisible interiors, the matter that accumulates inside of a black hole cause intense friction. These high levels of friction between massive quantities of matter are what create the brightest light in our solar system.

Black holes absorb stars, smaller black holes, and other particles in the universe. The core of the Milky Way galaxy is a supermassive black hole, formed by absorbing a high number of smaller black holes.

© 2014 Kathleen Odenthal

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    • BigBlue54 profile image

      BigBlue54 

      4 years ago from Hull, East Yorkshire

      I have seen a pink tinted rainbow. I was driving home one winters evening and it had rained earlier that afternoon. Because the sun was setting it gave a pink tint to the rainbow.

    • Jodah profile image

      John Hansen 

      4 years ago from Queensland Australia

      Great hub, full of interesting facts and answers to frequently asked questions Kathleen. Voted up.

    • bravewarrior profile image

      Shauna L Bowling 

      4 years ago from Central Florida

      Kathleen, where were you when my son was little and the Internet wasn't the go-to place for answers that it is today? LOL

      Aside from your other questions/answers, anyone who doesn't believe animals have emotions have never had their pet stay by their side when the human is sick, recovering from surgery or just plain blue!

    • Ericdierker profile image

      Eric Dierker 

      4 years ago from Spring Valley, CA. U.S.A.

      Very interesting. But why are the colors different in a rainbow?

    • dis-cover profile image

      Nikolic Predrag 

      4 years ago from Serbia, Belgrade

      I love this topic. Very interesting and very informative. Voted up as awesome! Have a nice day Kathleen.

    • The Examiner-1 profile image

      The Examiner-1 

      4 years ago

      That was interesting Kathleen. I was aware of some of those and others such as 'how old is the earth' I did not know, it was here before us. I voted it up, shared and pinned it.

      Kevin

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