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Photograph provided courtesy of Steve Albers

Create Your Own Lightning

Here's a safe and easy way to make lightning. You will need a cotton or wool blanket. This experiment works best on a dry, cool night.

Turn out all the lights and let your eyes adjust to the darkness. Put the blanket behind you. Hold your fist out about six inches in front of your face. With your other hand pull the blanket slowly over your head. Make sure the blanket brushes over your hair. Don't let the blanket touch your fist, arm, or face. Keep pulling the blanket until your fist is "undercover".

If the conditions are right, purple sparks will jump from your fist


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Cool It! is the new card game from the Union of Concerned Scientists that teaches kids about the choices we have when it comes to climate change—and how policy and technology decisions made today will matter. Cool It! is available in our online store.

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Cool It! Game

Check out our online store - minerals, fossils, books, activities, jewelry, and household items!...more

Thunder and Lightning

Lightning is the most spectacular element of a thunderstorm. In fact it is how thunderstorms got their name. Wait a minute, what does thunder have to do with lightning? Well, lightning causes thunder....more

Make It Rain!

Here's a neat experiment that makes rain in a jar. Plus you get to tell your parents or teacher what to do! You will need a parent or teacher, a jar with a metal lid, 1 cup of water, a hammer, a nail,...more

Watch the Sky

Ever looked up in the sky on a lazy Sunday afternoon and just watched the clouds? Well, here's a project where you can do just that and learn something too! This project works best if you do it with a...more

Altocumulus

Altocumulus clouds are part of the Middle Cloud group (2000-7000m up). They are grayish-white with one part of the cloud darker than the other. Altocumulus clouds usually form in groups and are about...more

Altostratus

Altostratus belong to the Middle Cloud group (2000-7000m up). An altostratus cloud usually covers the whole sky and has a gray or blue-gray appearance. The sun or moon may shine through an altostratus...more

Cirrocumulus

Cirrocumulus clouds belong to the High Cloud group (5000-13000m). They are small rounded puffs that usually appear in long rows. Cirrocumulus are usually white, but sometimes appear gray. Cirrocumulus...more

Cirrostratus

Cirrostratus clouds belong to the High Cloud (5000-13000m) group. They are sheetlike thin clouds that usually cover the entire sky. The sun or moon can shine through cirrostratus clouds . Sometimes, the...more

Windows to the Universe, a project of the National Earth Science Teachers Association, is sponsored in part is sponsored in part through grants from federal agencies (NASA and NOAA), and partnerships with affiliated organizations, including the American Geophysical Union, the Howard Hughes Medical Institute, the Earth System Information Partnership, the American Meteorological Society, the National Center for Science Education, and TERC. The American Geophysical Union and the American Geosciences Institute are Windows to the Universe Founding Partners. NESTA welcomes new Institutional Affiliates in support of our ongoing programs, as well as collaborations on new projects. Contact NESTA for more information. NASA ESIP NCSE HHMI AGU AGI AMS NOAA