Water Fun Facts
More Fun Facts
Astronauts never had a good look at the moon’s south pole with their own eyes. Permanently shadowed, with temperatures that can drop to -220 degrees C, the lunar pole was not a priority destination. But when an unmanned observatory satellite crashed into a crater there in 2009, scientists were awestruck by data the unit relayed just before it was completely kaput: Water! About 220 pounds of frozen water was observed in the plume of dust that rose from the satellite’s crash site. It was not the first evidence of water on the moon, but lunar researchers are eager to learn whether further exploration may reveal more abundant ice in the same region. READ MORE
Why Your Tongue Sticks to Cold Metal
Metal has high thermal conductivity, which means it will transfer heat from higher temperature to a lower temperature. Place your tongue on a metal pole that is below 32 degrees F, and heat will instantaneously be transferred from you to the pole — freezing the saliva on your tongue’s surface and forming an icy bond between the pole and the water-rich surface of your tongue. Ice itself has some thermal conductivity, which explains why your tongue may briefly stick to an icepop as well. Perhaps the more intriguing thing to learn is why someone would want to lick a cold metal pole rather than a popsicle.
As the World Turns
Contrary to what you may have learned, water going down a drain does not form a counterclockwise vortex in the Northern Hemisphere and a clockwise vortex in the Southern Hemisphere. The direction of spinning water in your sink or bathtub is going to be influenced by the shape and balance of your bathroom fixtures more than anything else.
However, hurricanes in each hemisphere do spin in opposite directions as the result of a phenomenon called the Coriolis force. Due to the counterclockwise rotation of the Earth on its axis, winds deflect the gathering water of a hurricane to the right above the equator, and to the left below.
Mini-Volcano in the Microwave
It’s very uncommon for water heated in a microwave to erupt, but hot water has spontaneously splashed a handful of traumatized consumers. In a cup that is very clean, water heated above its 212 degrees F boiling point can form a super-heated bubble below the surface. The water doesn’t appear to be boiling but the bubble can rise to the top and burst. To reduce risk, add some foreign agent to the cup, like a microwavable spoon or a pinch of coffee or tea. LESS
Flask Image Courtesy of Christer Edvartsen
Space Image Courtesy of NASA/JPL-Caltech
Dam Image Courtesy of Oleg1975, Flickr