by N.

Tornadoes

Tornadoes are a funnel shaped cloud that forms over land. If you want to protect yourself from a tornado you should go into a basement if you have one. If you don’t you should go to lower ground and stay inside your house. Go to a bathroom without windows and stay in the bathtub without water. Keep all your windows closed. Never go into your car even if it’s just a tornado watch. You never know what might happen. Do not leave your house until you hear the tornado has passed. When warm air meets cold air thunderstorms form. Then the thunderstorms join together, that is called a tornado. Tornadoes are most likely to form in the spring and the summer. Tornadoes occur more often in the late afternoon, since that’s when most thunderstorms are common. However tornadoes can form at any time of the day and any time of the year. On March 18, 1925 the biggest tornado ever recorded appeared. The tri-state tornado struck Missouri, Indiana, and Illinois. It was recorded at 1:00 pm. The damage cost about $18 million dollars (1,925 dollars). More than 200 people were injured and 689 dead. 15,000 homes were destroyed. The tri-state tornado was a quarter mile wide. No buildings survived after the monster struck. 1 hour before 4:30 it was going 73 mph (117 kilometer). At first the tri-state tornado was as small as any other tornado but when it hit ground it grew into a monster! 70 buildings were destroyed by fire. Sadly, no buildings survived. As you can see tornadoes can be really destructive sometimes.

Outer space

Outer space is an awesome place to visit! First, there are Astronauts. Did you know that engineers are trying to make a space suit that astronauts can go on Mars too? Well, they made a suit that they’re working on. Scientists still need to upgrade it, it’s called the Z-2. It’s all black and has basically a red v on the chest. Scientists are trying to make it weight 250 pounds. But now it’s weighing 350 pounds, scientists are 100 pounds off. The Z-2 is easier to put on then the other spacesuits. In Mars you also have to be able to bend your knees so on the Z-2 you can bend your knees. Mars is the fourth planet from the Sun and is the second smallest planet in the solar system. Mars has the largest volcano in the solar system – Olympus Mons. It measures some 600 kilometers across and rises nearly 27 kilometers above the surrounding terrain. It is a shield volcano built by the continuous action of flowing lava over millions and millions of years that began some 3 billion years ago. Olympus Mons is part of a complex of volcanoes that lie along a volcanic plateau called the Tarsi’s Bulge. This entire region lies over a hot spot, a place in the planet’s crust that allows magma from deep inside to flow out to the surface. While planetary scientists have not recorded a volcanic eruption on Mars in real time, there is evidence of geologically recent flows perhaps in the past few tens of millions of years. It is possible that Mars is not yet volcanically dead.
Next, there are stars. Did you know that stars seem like tiny bright dots in the sky for us, but actually they are giant balls of hot gas? No one knows how many stars exist, but the number would be staggering. Our universe likely contains more than 100 billion galaxies, and each of those galaxies may have more than 100 billion stars. But on a clear night sky our eyes only reveal about 3,000 of those stars. Stars may occur in many sizes, which are classified in a range from dwarfs to super giants. Super giants may have radii a thousand times larger than that of our own sun. Hot stars are white or blue, cooler stars appear to have orange or red hues. Some stars have always stood out from the rest. Their brightness is a factor of how much energy they put out–known as luminosity–and how far away from Earth they are. Young stars at this stage are called proto stars. As they develop, they accumulate mass from the clouds around them and grow into what are known as main sequence stars. Main sequence stars like our own sun exist in a state of nuclear fusion during which they will emit energy for billions of years by converting hydrogen to helium.
Finally, there are black holes. A black hole is a region in space where the pulling force of gravity is so strong that light is not able to escape. Some black holes are a result of dying stars. The strong gravity occurs because matter has been placed into a tiny space. Black holes come in many sizes. Because no light can escape, black holes are invisible. However, space telescopes with special instruments can help find black holes. The smallest ones are known as primordial black holes. Scientists believe this type of black hole is as small as a single atom but with the mass of a large mountain. The most common type of medium-sized black holes is called “stellar.” The mass of a stellar black hole can be up to 20 times greater than the mass of the sun and can fit inside a ball with a diameter of about 10 miles. Dozens of stellar mass black holes may exist within the Milky Way galaxy. There are different kinds of black holes. The black holes mass and size determines what kind it is. Black holes do not wander around the universe, randomly swallowing worlds. They follow the laws of gravity just like other objects in space. The orbit of a black hole would have to be very close to the solar system to affect Earth, which is not likely. The sun does not have enough mass to collapse into a black hole. In billions of years, when the sun is at the end of its life, it will become a red giant star. Then, when it has used the last of its fuel, it will throw off its outer layers and turn into a glowing ring of gas called a planetary nebula. Finally, all that will be left of the sun is a cooling white dwarf star. I think outer space is a fascinating and dangerous place to visit.

Swallowtails

Swallowtails include some of the most beautiful butterflies in the world. They are large which makes them easy to see and many of them have bright patterns on their wings. Their double tails give them their name because they remind people the tail of the swallow. On warm afternoons male black Swallowtails perch on shrubs, waiting for females. Black Swallowtails are mostly black with yellow markings, but in the far West individuals can be mostly yellow. Swallowtails are found in a variety of open areas including fields, suburbs marshes, desserts and roadsides throughout most of the eastern United States, southern Canada, and West to Colorado and southern California. Adults feed on nectar from flowers, including red clover, milkweed and thistles. Caterpillars eat leaves of plants in the parsley family, including Queen Anne`s Lace, carrot, celery, and dill, and sometimes plants in the citrus family. Black Swallowtails can be seen from April to October. Swallowtails are really beautiful and interesting to learn about.

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