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Mrs. O'Donnell's Summer Science Journal:
Entry One: My husband and I were going to the airport for Damien's graduation from boot camp and were lucky enough to view the Perseid meteor showers as we traveled (at 3:30 am) to JFK.
A meteor shower is a spike in the number of meteors or "shooting stars" that streak through the night sky.
Most meteor showers are spawned by comets. As a comet orbits the Sun it sheds an icy, dusty debris stream along its orbit. If Earth travels through this stream, we will see a meteor shower. Although the meteors can appear anywhere in the sky, if you trace their paths, the meteors in each shower appear to "rain" into the sky from the same region.
Meteor showers are named for the constellation that coincides with this region in the sky, a spot known as the radiant. For instance, the radiant for the Leonid meteor shower is in the constellation Leo. The Perseid meteor shower is so named because meteors appear to fall from a point in the constellation Perseus.
Entry 2: Damien was stationed at Great Lakes Naval Station, located on Lake Michigan, one of the Great Lakes. While we were there for his graduation, we were amazed at the weather. The sky was clear and beautiful in one direction, but to the other you could see a storm brewing. They came quickly and produced torrential rains, frequently accompanied by thunder and lightening. As quickly as they appeared, they disappeared.
Rather large severe thunderstorms covering wide areas are well known in the Great Lakes during mid-summer; these Mesoscale convective complexes or MCCs54 can cause damage to wide swaths of forest and shatter glass in city buildings. These storms mainly occur during the night, and the systems sometimes have small embedded tornadoes, but more often straight-line winds accompanied by intense lightning. These photos were taken this summer by friends of mine.
The sudden rains can also cause the formation of enormous sinkholes.
A sinkhole is an area of ground that has no natural external surface drainage--when it rains, all of the water stays inside the sinkhole and typically drains into the subsurface. Sinkholes can vary from a few feet to hundreds of acres and from less than 1 to more than 100 feet deep. Some are shaped like shallow bowls or saucers whereas others have vertical walls; some hold water and form natural ponds.
Typically, sinkholes form so slowly that little change is noticeable, but they can form suddenly when a collapse occurs. Such a collapse can have a dramatic effect if it occurs in an urban setting.
Entry 3: We are incredibly proud of Damien and his Division mates for their success at boot camp. His Division 273 won both the Captain's Cup (like a Field Day competition) and had Hall of Fame Honors Gold for achieving the highest scores in all areas of assessment (marksmenship, academics, firefighting, inspections, PT, etc.) They carried nine flags at graduation to show these achievements.
In order to finish Boot Camp and become a sailor in the US Navy, the recruits have to pass a final 12 hour exam called Battlestations. Battlestations is a series of events that they have to successfully complete in order to receive their Navy cap. The events take place in a mock ship in a building, that Disney helped to design. There are several simulations on board - a flooded control room, a flooded ammo room, fire in various spots, medical aid that needs to be given to electronic dummies that can simulate various injuries. All of this is controlled by the instructors on hand help palm shaped devices. Here is a link to a video explaining Battlestations.
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