“I heard something really unusual was supposed to happen with Jupiter and Saturn right before Christmas. What?”

Answered by Brian Tonks – BYU-I daho Astronomy Professor The ancients noticed that seven celestial objects move relative to the stars: the Sun, the Moon, and the five visible planets (the word “planet” comes from the Greeks meaning “wanderer”—the Greeks knew them as wandering stars). Astrologers attributed special meaning to these objects. It is clear…

Do tarantulas eat their exoskeletons after they shed? We took the exoskeleton out of the cage of our classroom tarantula. Was that bad?

Question Asked by 2nd Grade Class in Blackfoot Question answered by Jason Thomas University of Idaho Minnedoka County Extension Educator Though some reptiles will feed on their shed skin, there has been no significant evidence to suggest that tarantulas do this. The key difference is in the digestive system, while lizards like geckos can swallow…

How do you stop a desert wildfire?

Answered by Kelsey Griffee, Fire Information & Prevention, BLM-Idaho Falls District Office Wildfire is a mesmerizing natural occurrence created by the chemical reaction of oxygen, heat and fuels. Oxygen is supplied from the air all-around us and spurred by wind. Heat is sparked by lightning or human folly. Fuels come in the form of grass,…

How do boats float?

Answered by Randy Haws, Environmental Scientist, Pro2Serve Whether an object floats or not depends on several things. Solid objects, like wood or apples, float because they have lots of air in them and are lighter than the water around them. Objects like pennies or paper clips sink because the atoms in them are close together…

Why does clay become hard and waterproof when it’s heated? Why does temperature affect different clays in different ways?

Question asked by Volunteers at the Idaho Art Lab | Answered by Dr. Paul Link, ISU Department of Geosciences The purest clay is made of the mineral kaolinite, KAlSi3O8. Ceramic clays also contain quartz and feldspar minerals. During the heating (firing) process to about 1400 degrees F, the feldspars melt, along with some of the…