static electricity

Lightning in Johnson Canyon

This week we had a marvelous electrical storm to the west of our house. It was far enough away to make Junie Moon the Dog happy, but near enough for some nice photos. Since it was night, I used the same settings that I use for star photography. I put my Nikon D7000 on the tripod, with an 10-70mm lens. I set it for manual exposure, and set the shutter for a 30 second exposure, and turned on long exposure noise reduction. I hooked up my PClix, a marvelous device for taking photos at set intervals. Then I just let it click away.

Balloon Chase

This experiment is one that I played with while waiting for the time for my Electricity show to start. I started with one balloon, and then added another. Then I began experimenting with other materials, and managed to pass the time very quickly.

Electricity

This is the Watt is Electricity show that I toured the country with for over 25 years. It covers the basics, including electrostatics, volts, amps, alternating and direct current, making it a great place to start as you study electricity.

Light a Bulb with a Balloon

We are used to thinking that it takes a lot of energy to produce light. This time, we will see that even a small amount of the right kind of energy can give us some light.

This experiment will not work with the incandescent bulbs commonly used in lamps. They have a thin wire, called a filament, which has to get hot enough to glow to give you some light. That takes quite a bit of energy, and much of it is lost as heat.

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