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Our Glaciers: Then and Now activity kit helps you see the changes taking place in glaciers around the world. See all our activity kits and classroom activities.

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Photograph provided courtesy of Steve Albers

How Far Away Is The Thunderstorm?

It takes 3 seconds for sound to travel 1 kilometer (5 seconds to travel 1 mile). The next time a thunderstorm comes your way, look out your bedroom window and watch for lightning. When you see a lightning flash count the number of seconds until you hear thunder. Use the above calculation to figure out how far away the thunderstorm is.

Example: You see lightning flash across the sky. 15 seconds later you hear thunder. How far away was the lightning bolt?


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The Fall 2009 issue of The Earth Scientist, which includes articles on student research into building design for earthquakes and a classroom lab on the composition of the Earth’s ancient atmosphere, is available in our online store.

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Windows to the Universe, a project of the National Earth Science Teachers Association, is sponsored in part by the National Science Foundation and NASA, our Founding Partners (the American Geophysical Union and American Geosciences Institute) as well as through Institutional, Contributing, and Affiliate Partners, individual memberships and generous donors. Thank you for your support! NASA AGU AGI NSF