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Author Topic: Home Made Aurora Borealis  (Read 14100 times)

Offline neilep

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Home Made Aurora Borealis
« on: 26/11/2005 19:52:49 »
Dearest Science Orientated Minds of Awe Inspiring Goodness,

My son (11) having just seen the northen lights on TV asked me if it's possible to create the same at home...I said, well of course it is, all you have do is get some spray paints, a flourescent light and a fan...but before I make the mess of the century I thought I'd ask some clever peeps if they have an alternative solution.

well...do ya ?...save my home from aurora borealis soup and let me know will ya ?

Men are the same as women.... just inside out !!


 

Offline Simmer

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Re: Home Made Aurora Borealis
« Reply #1 on: 27/11/2005 12:38:05 »
You could try a colour TV and some big sea-searcher magnets.  Detune the telly to cosmic background, turn the lights out and get stuck in with the magnets.

Caution:  TV not likely to work well afterwards, still cheaper than redecorating :)

Caution 2:  May not work, I've never tried it.
 

Offline neilep

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Re: Home Made Aurora Borealis
« Reply #2 on: 27/11/2005 18:31:04 »
I have seen the damage a strong magnet can do to a CRT television..it's not nice !....I have tried it but only for a second to test if some speakers were magnetically shielded...they weren't !!...thanks for your input.

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Offline DoctorBeaver

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Re: Home Made Aurora Borealis
« Reply #3 on: 27/11/2005 23:17:05 »
I once lived in a flat & my TV was against a wall the other side of which my neighbour had installed a high-powered radio trasmitter (he was a radio ham). Whenever he used it the picture on my screen would warp towards the wall. This gave a pretty fair imitation of an aurora.
I didn't realise the cause of the warping at first & thought it was just the TV playing up.
 

Offline tweener

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Re: Home Made Aurora Borealis
« Reply #4 on: 28/11/2005 00:28:52 »
Lets see, the Aurora are caused by ionized particles (mostly protons if I remember right) from the sun spiraling down the magnetic field lines into the atmosphere.  So, how to duplicate that on a small scale?

You would need a strong magnet and a source of protons.  The magnet is fairly easy, but the protons would be a little harder.  The only source I know of would come from the decay of some radioactive materials, and that would likely get you in trouble with the various non-proliferation organizations of the world.  So, I don't know.

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John - The Eternal Pessimist.
 

Offline neilep

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Re: Home Made Aurora Borealis
« Reply #5 on: 29/11/2005 16:51:01 »
John, do you know where I can get some radioactive decay on the cheap ?..I'm upset because I got pipped at the post while bidding for some on EBAY ?

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sharkeyandgeorge

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Re: Home Made Aurora Borealis
« Reply #6 on: 01/12/2005 14:30:57 »
go back on to ebay and find ceramic pots about one hundred years old in bright orange at the time the orange colour was made by grinding uranium and still can be highly radioactive i say ebay because most responsible antiques dealers wont touch them if possible get an american one youll have a higher chance of it being radioactive

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Offline neilep

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Re: Home Made Aurora Borealis
« Reply #7 on: 01/12/2005 16:31:37 »
Thanks Chris :D;)

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Offline ukmicky

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Re: Home Made Aurora Borealis
« Reply #8 on: 01/12/2005 22:05:46 »
Or for a cheaper alternative go down your local junkshop and look for some old fashion alarm clocks. The coating that they used on the numbers and hands to make them glow in the dark was made out of radioactive radium mixed with phosphorescent paint. Or you could take apart a spare smoke detector that you may have hanging around.

Also i think i'm right,but its me so maybe one of our real scientists could take a look and tell me if i am.
 
But i believe you can also make a radiation detector that gives a sort of light effect  by placing pure alcohol in sealed glass and chilling it, place the glass in the path of the suns rays or a good light source (im not sure if a household light will do) and when you place a radiation source near it the charged particles emitted from the radioactive source shoot through the glass and interact with the alcohol vapour causing a sort of light  show.  :)




Michael                                      
« Last Edit: 01/12/2005 23:17:12 by ukmicky »
 

Offline ukmicky

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Re: Home Made Aurora Borealis
« Reply #9 on: 01/12/2005 23:34:02 »
wont work wrong effect. just found this
http://www.engineering.com/content/ContentDisplay?contentId=41008003

Michael                                      
 

ROBERT

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Re: Home Made Aurora Borealis
« Reply #10 on: 09/12/2005 13:58:05 »
Hi Neilep,
the executive toy "plasma ball" is aurorae in a bottle.
There are many on Ebay, from around 20.
These devices contain very high voltages (KiloVolts),
so allowing an 11 year old unsupervised access to one may not be a good idea.

http://search.ebay.com/search/search.dll?cgiurl=http%3A%2F%2Fcgi.ebay.com%2Fws%2F&fkr=1&from=R8&satitle=plasma+ball&category0=
« Last Edit: 09/12/2005 17:24:49 by ROBERT »
 

Offline neilep

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Re: Home Made Aurora Borealis
« Reply #11 on: 10/12/2005 22:07:32 »
Thanks Robert...I've actually got one of those Plasma balls !...my word, do they really contain such a high voltage ?...I'll have to let 'er indoors' play with it !!

I did in fact wonder if it was somehow related to aurora borealis....seems like it is.....

Thanks

update: I've just enjoyed some Plasma Ball fun !..

Why does the plasma get attracted to your finger tips when you touch the glass?..in fact, when my fingers are an inch away from the glass the plasma starts to lean towards them...why is this ?

Men are the same as women.... just inside out !!
« Last Edit: 11/12/2005 01:45:03 by neilep »
 

Offline ukmicky

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Re: Home Made Aurora Borealis
« Reply #12 on: 11/12/2005 02:17:24 »
Neil.

I've heard if you microwave a cd it will give the effect that your looking for.

However, if you try it, don't do for too long or cd may melt, try ot on low power first and be careful not to breath in any gases eminating from the microwave.

And explain to your kids that they are not to try it themselves.

Lastly if you do it, you do it at your own risk. and i take no resposerbilty for any death or injury that may occur:D

Michael                                      
 

Offline neilep

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Re: Home Made Aurora Borealis
« Reply #13 on: 11/12/2005 03:25:24 »
quote:
Originally posted by ukmicky

Neil.

I've heard if you microwave a cd it will give the effect that your looking for.

However, if you try it, don't do for too long or cd may melt, try ot on low power first and be careful not to breath in any gases eminating from the microwave.

And explain to your kids that they are not to try it themselves.

Lastly if you do it, you do it at your own risk. and i take no resposerbilty for any death or injury that may occur:D

Michael                                      



Indeed, Zapping cds is a  wholesome fun family pastime that brings a smile of awe and wonder to little childs face ! ;)

I've never tried it before though wifey has a Milli Vanilli CD that would probably be improved upon if given a dose of Microwave Joy !:D

Men are the same as women.... just inside out !!
 

ROBERT

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Re: Home Made Aurora Borealis
« Reply #14 on: 12/12/2005 16:42:51 »
quote:
Originally posted by neilep

Thanks Robert...I've actually got one of those Plasma balls !...my word, do they really contain such a high voltage ?...I'll have to let 'er indoors' play with it !!


Hi Nielep,
plasma balls operate at around 2000 Volts (2KV):-
http://www.waynesthisandthat.com/plasmaballs2.htm

Apparently if you place a fluorescent tube close to the plasma ball the tube will light:-
http://www.egglescliffe.org.uk/physics/fun/plasma/plasma.html
you could use your noisy tube from "Why does this light make such a high pitch noise ?".
« Last Edit: 12/12/2005 17:43:00 by ROBERT »
 

Offline neilep

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Re: Home Made Aurora Borealis
« Reply #15 on: 12/12/2005 18:11:49 »
Hi Robert,

YAYYYYY !!..it works !!...holding the tube near the plasma ball does indeed light it up...brilliant !!..many thanks.....and thanks for the links too, and thanks for making my kiddies think daddy is Captain Power !!!!!...

...actually...as I performed my magic trick and the light began to shine I did a 'bottom burp';)...so now thay call me Captain Power Pong !!:D

Men are the same as women.... just inside out !!
« Last Edit: 12/12/2005 18:28:49 by neilep »
 

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Re: Home Made Aurora Borealis
« Reply #15 on: 12/12/2005 18:11:49 »

 

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