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Here Comes the Sun

November 21, 2012 at 12:00 pm PST

When I was a kid, one of my neighbors had a solar radiometer.  It’s a glass bulb about the size of a baseball, with diamond-shaped panels connected to a spindle.   The panels, black on one side and silver on the other, would turn on the spindle when exposed to light.

I enjoyed experimenting with the gizmo, edging it in and out of the sunbeam that shone through a window and onto their kitchen table.  How close to the light did the radiometer need to be for the panels to move? What if I shaded it with a piece of cardboard?  How fast would the spindle turn if I put the radiometer fully in the light? Read More »

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