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Hold a thermometer at a distance of 8 inches directly beneath
a lighted bulb for three minutes. Record the temperature,
then put the thermometer aside and let it return to room
temperature. Repeat this procedure with a sheet of paper
having been inserted between the lighted bulb and the thermometer. Feel the paper.
How might the atmosphere affect heat and light from the sun
in a similar way?
Clouds, dust, and other impurities in the air reflect and
absorb some solar energy much as the sheet of paper does.
Some of the sun's energy is turned back by the atmosphere,
some is absorbed by the atmosphere, and some goes clear
through the atmosphere and warms the earth.
I wonder if the above-mentioned impurities in the air can be-
come nuclei for the formation of raindrops? If so, maybe
that accounts for the dust spots on our cars after a short
rainfall. And, then again, maybe it does not. Better check
on it. I love it when students find out I'm mistaken!
As a supplemental or alternative activity, tape two thermo-
meters on directly opposite sides of a globe at the equator.
Hold a lamp about 8 inches from the globe in such a way that
one thermometer is in the center of the lighted half of the
globe. After three minutes, compare the two thermometer
readings. Describe the temperature differences between night
and day and relate your findings to personal experiences.
Next, hold a piece of paper between the bulb and the ther-
mometer for another three minutes, and compare the readings.
Make an analogy between your findings and temperatures on
days that are overcast, or foggy.
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