Thursday, April 8, 2010

MAM Day 8: Time Part II

Today is Boston Partners in Education's big Gala, so this is the downtime I've got to blog before the storm.

I was planning on discussing time zones, the passing of time beyond 24 hours, and how it still relates to math today. This was before I found this website that has lots of information and pretty pictures and animations. I'll include links from various websites because they explain things much better than I do.

I just found another website that documents the history of calendars. It's the first slideshow with information on calendar systems, just click on the pictures to continue through the rest of the history. Documenting time and the rotation of Earth around the sun has been around in many different civilizations. Mathematicians, early scientists and astronomers were able to figure out the best approximation of the Earth's rotation around the sun which is why our current calendars are based around the solar cycle. There are also calendars that are based around the lunar cycle. The Earth's rotation around the sun also causes seasonal differences.

Time zones are necessary because the entire world can't have the same time. If it is 10:30 AM here in Boston, it shouldn't be 10:30 AM in Europe also. The sun's position in relation to a geographic location is how time zones were formed. This website explains time zones pretty well, and this website has large cities and their respective time. You can use this link to convert time. From my blog's statistics, there has been one visitor from Mozambique. With a few clicks I found out that Mozambique is 6 hours ahead of Boston's time, which means that as of right now, it's almost 4:45 pm in Mozambique. I hope they check in again!

One of the things I wanted to discover through today's post was how fast we are traveling around the sun. This website helped answer my question - our rotation on Earth alone is approximately 1000 miles per hour at the equator, and our rotation on Earth around the Sun is approximately 67,000 miles per hour.

The website says we can calculate a more precise estimation of how fast we are moving around earth's axis by multiplying the cosine of Boston's latitude by the speed of rotation at the equator (1000 mph) to get our speed. Why do we have to do this? A person standing on the equator is traveling a different path around the Sun because of the tilt of the Earth.

Don't worry! I did all the math and came up with ~738.95 miles per hour. So in 24 hours, everyone in Boston has traveled ~17734.8 miles around space at over 700 miles per hour! And you didn't even have to go anywhere!

I'm not an astrophysicist so I'm sure my calculations are off. I didn't take into account that because we're rotating around Earth's axis and also around the Sun, the distance we're actually traveling is probably more, but that doesn't matter because I did some math today and I'm fairly satisfied with what I came up with :D Finally, as if my math nerdiness has no bounds, I really appreciated this online calculator.

Some cool space links. I'm always amazed at how cool space is.
Space missions diagram
Rotation of the planets in audio form
NASA's archive of awesome pictures


Also one of my Fellows at Science Club for Girls sent me this link on the positive effects of mentoring on the mentors! Mentoring leads to "measurable benefits for the volunteers, who showed improved physical activity and health compared with adults of similar age and demographics."

I've found that mentoring makes me happier, I look forward to certain days and the knowledge I will get to see my students. I laugh a lot during tutoring sessions, I get to play games and act like a student again. To top it off, after I started volunteering in the Boston area, I found a job - this job! Volunteering may not pay much (haha), but the benefits are the best!


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