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A myth or an ancient tale can feed the imaginations and souls of humans. The vast majority of these tales are just stories people have handed down through decades. 

But a few of these tales have roots in real geological events of the past, giving warning of possible dangers and speaking to the astonishment the one holds for the might of the planet.

These stories record the observations of the people who witnessed them. This article introduces tales from different countries around the world. It introduced Indian tales, Irish tales, Greek tales as well as Chinese tales. 

Indian Tales

India is a land of great people and has a lot of great tales as well. India passed through a lot of critical events during history. Indian Mythology is full of adventure and morals. These stories are a great way to introduce Indian values and ethics to children. 

Right and Might

A deer was eating wild fruit one day.  The deer heard an owl call “Haak, Haak”, and a cricket cry. “Wat” felt surrounded and frightened so he fled. During his flight, he flew through the trees up into the mountains, and down into streams. 

In one of the streams, the deer walked upon a small fish and smashed it almost to death. Then the fish made a complaint to the court, and the deer, owl, cricket, and fish had a case. In the court appeared this evidence:

When the deer escaped, he ran into some dry grass. So, the seed dropped into the eye of a wild chicken. The pain of the seed in the eye of the chicken made it fly up against a nest of red ants. The red ants were alarmed so they rushed out to do battle. While hurrying, They bit a mongoose. 

The mongoose flew into a vine of wild fruit and shook many pieces of it on the head of a hermit. The hermit sat thinking under a tree. He asked the fruit why they fell on him. The fruit said that it is because of the mongoose. 

Then, the hermit asked the mongoose about the reason. The mongoose answered that he didn’t mean it. It was because of the red ants. So, the hermit asked the red ants why they did so. The red ants replied that it wasn’t them, it was because of the hen. 

 The hermit asked the hen why she flew against the ants’ nest. The hen answered that it was because the seed fall into the hen’s eyes. The hermit turned to seed to ask. The seed answered that it was because of the deer. 

The hermit asked the deer why he shook the seed down. The deer said that he didn’t mean to do that but the owl called, frightening him, so he ran. The hermit asked the owl why she frightened the deer.  The owl replied that because she used to call so the cricket called too.

After the judge heard the evidence, he sentenced the cricket to replace the smashed parts of the fish. This is because he is the main reason to frighten the deer and caused all of these troubles.  The cricket was smaller and weaker than the owl or the deer, thus he had to accept the punishment.

Agasthya drinks the ocean

The Devas and Asuras were cousins. They were consistently fighting. The Devas had control over Devalok, the world above Earth. The Asuras existed in the world below Earth which is called Paatal. The Asuras became more powerful after sunset. So, the Asuras always struck their cousins at night.

When the sun rose, the Devas grew more powerful. They would be prepared to attack the Asuras. But the Asuras would vanish! The Devas would look for them in heaven, earth, and, everywhere, but the Asuras weren’t there. 

Finally, the Devas noticed the Asuras’ footprints guiding them to the ocean. Indra, lord of the Devas, shouted that the Asuras were hiding in the ocean. Vayu, the Wind God, was excited to catch them.

Agni, the Fire God hissed and wondered if they could fight them underwater. He saw Sage Agasthya sitting on the beach, in a mood of meditation. Indra ran to him and asked for his help. Agasthya was a strong sage, who liked the Devas. 

He decided to help them. Agasthya prayed to the Sun, he plunged his hands into the ocean and lift out some water. The next moment, all the water from the ocean was pulled into his palms. The sage drank it all at once.

As the great sage was in seventh heaven, the Asuras stood uncovered on the dry ocean bed. The Devas attacked them. Terribly beaten, the Asuras ran from battle. The Devas roared in victory. 

Seeing his cousins flying away, Indra believed that they would not bother the Devas again. He thanked Sage Agasthya and asked him to return the water to the ocean.

Agasthya frowned at Indra and said that he already drank all the water. He can’t return it. Indra felt sinful. Without the ocean, all living things on earth would suffer. 

Agasthya continued that the only way out is to wait for Ganga to come down to earth. This was the only river that can fill the empty space in the ocean. Therefore started the long wait for Ganga.

The Rajah’s Rice

Once upon a time, there was a Rajah who ruled over many rice farmers. He demanded nearly all of their rice. In exchange, he would store it and return it in times of famine. 

One year, when the rice grew badly, there was a terrible famine. The Rajah refused to return any of the previously promised rice. He thought it was improper that a Rajah ever goes hungry. 

Many people starved to death, yet he still refused. One day an elephant carrying rice from the royal storehouse strung a leek. A young girl named Rani saw this and began to catch the grain in her skirt. She formed a plan. 

When the elephant finally stopped, Rani ran to the Royal Palace. She was led in to be personally thanked by the Rajah for saving his precious rice. He told rowdy that she can have anything she wished for. Rani at first asked for nothing but a single grain of rice.

The Rajah was very confused. He didn’t want to reward such a good deed with such a small price. After more goading, Rani finally agreed to a new reward. She asked the Rajah to first give her a single grain of rice, and every day for 30 days, he would double that amount.

As in tomorrow, she would get two. The next day, she would get four. Soon after 30 days, the amount slowly was by the sixteenth day, she received it back in Hainan 32.768 grains. It was enough for two medium-sized bags led by a goat.

There all she grew worried, perhaps it wasn’t so smaller the gift after all. But there were only 14 days left, what could happen. The 27th day soon arrived and Rani received 64 baskets of rice delivered by 32 bowels. 

The Rajah was worried but vowed to have fulfilled his promise until the end. By the 30th day, the Rajah sent out 56 elephants carrying the rice of 4 royal storehouses. The Rajah was officially out of rice. 

Rani promised to give all the rice to the hungry people. The Rajah swore you would never be so selfish again. There was never that sort of catastrophe in the land again 

The Strength of Durga

This story is based on the essence of the day why Indians celebrate Mahalaya. It is about how goddess Durga defeated the demon named Mahisha Surah.

As you know, Mahisha Surah was a demon. He was partly a buffalo and partly a demon. Since the mother of Mahisha surah was a Mahesh which is a buffalo, his name was Mahisha Surah. Mahisha means the buffalo and Asura mean the demon.

Goddess Durga is known to kill many demons. Once a demon named Mahisha Surah became very powerful. After that, he was very cruel. He started defeating various gods who were staying the heaven. Finally, he defeated Lord Indra, the king of all the gods in heaven.

Mahisha Surah took the place of lord Indra in heaven. He sat under the throne of Indra. After that, he decided that he would stay and became the lord of the gods

Goddess Durga was called upon. She has been created from the divine energies of all the gods combined there. Goddess Durga was the combined force of all the gods.

Durga took on Mahisha Surah. She defeated him and ultimately she saved the gods in heaven. Thereby, she saved the world. 

The Focus of Arjuna

The Pandavas and Kauravas were studying in the Gurukula. They were studying under the guidance of Acharya Drona. One day, Guru wanted to test students’ skills in archery. He called all the students. He asked them to gather.

Drona called upon one of the students, Yudhistra. Drona asked him to aim at the bird’s eye. Drona asked the student about what he could see. The student replied that he could see the bird. Drona asked him to move back and that he needed more practice.

Then, another student came forward and aimed at the bird’s eye as well. Drona asked him the same question. The student, called Bhima, replied that he could see the bird and its base. Again, Drona sent him back.

Another student, Duryodhana, came in. Drona asked again the same question. The student answered that he could see the bird, its base, and some clouds. Drona told him that he needed a lot more practice because his aim was bad. 

Drona called Arjuna to come in and asked him to aim at the target. Then, he asked about what he saw. He answered that he could see only an eye of a bird. Drona asked him to shoot. Drona was happy about it.

Drona explained that it was about concentration. That sort of concentration is what makes a great archer. Drona wished the student to become the best archer in the whole world.

The Loyalty of Shravana

Shravan Kumar was the only offspring of his parents. He used to serve them a lot. One day he fed the parents, when they started relaxing he started pressing their feet. 

The conversion started when he said some people were going to the shrine today. There were happy to sing hymns. They didn’t have their own presence of mind. The old father said that he wished they could go to the holy place. The mother prayed for her son to be safe and guarded. 

At the same time, Shravan Kumar decided that he would hurl them. He didn’t even tell this his wife. He was aware that she would not be happy. Shravan was married in childhood. His wife was used to serving in form of laws. 

On the second day, Shravan went to the carpenter. The carpenter was very happy to see him. He asked Shravan how to help him. Shravan said that he wanted him to make a basket. 

Shravan wanted to take his parents on to pilgrimage. The carpenter said that it would be difficult to take the paths alone. Shravan asked the carpenter how long he would take to finish the basket. Finally, the carpenter told him that he could take the basket the next day in the evening. 

Shravan went back home. He started preparing to go. In the evening, he returned home. He told his wife to go to the shrine. He would leave in the early morning. He also told his parents explaining that they wouldn’t have any problem in the way.

The next morning, he got up early. His parents sat in the basket. He carried the baskets. All the people of the whole village were blessed with blessings. Anyone who saw them, their eyes were full of tears.

Several months elapsed, and Shravan traveled with his parents all day long. He slept at night. One day he was coming out of the forest, the sound of the birds seemed good to him. 

It became night, and he put the basket down. They lay down. The father asked for water. Shravan picked up the bowel but there was no water in it. He told his father that he would go to get some water. Father refused still Shravan went. 

In a while, he saw a river. He started filling the water. An arrow came into his chest. He got a lot of shouts out of his mouth. King Dashrath came to the forest for hunting. The king heard the sound. He thought that it was an elephant coming to drink.

The king heard the man’s scream. Then, he saw a handsome young man on earth. The king put his head on his lap. The king took the arrow from Shravan’s chest. Shravan was calling his parents. 

Tears flow with the king’s eyes. The king said that he became a big sin. The king told Shravan that he thought it was an elephant so he started an arrow. The king asked Shravan to forgive him.

Shravan told the king that his parents were sitting thirsty in the forest. Shravan asked that king to go and give them water. The king heard all the story from Shravan. There was no limit to the king’s sorrow. Shravan asked the king to take the water to his parents, and then he died. 

The king went to Shravan’s parents. The father said that he was late. The king gave them the water in hand for both of them without speaking. The father wondered asked why he didn’t speak, under the impression that he was his son Shravan. 

The mother told him that they would drink after he explained what happened to him. King Dashrath had tears in his eyes; his throat was blocked. The king said that he was also their son. Finally, he told them about the death of Shravan

On hearing his news the parents screamed. The king said that he was their Shravan. He said that he would serve them but they refused. They told him that one day he would suffer for a son like them. After saying this, the parents died. 

The king was afraid after the curse of Shravan’s parents. The king performed their last rites with a very heavy heart. Even after he went back to his palace, there was no peace in his mind. His eyes didn’t sleep. 

After many years, his son Ram went into exile. The king was so sad. Yearning for the son, he remembered the curse of his parents of Shravan.

The Integrity of Ram

Lord Rama is the strongest character in Indian history. He is strong mentally, emotionally and spiritually. He doesn’t shy from taking the road less struggling. He was a living example of the popular saying “do what is right and not what is easy”. 

There are five instances of how he chose right over wrong whatever price he had to pay for it. First, he was sent to Gurukul by his father Nashira. His life was tough. He could have thrown a tranquil of being a price and treated in a different way. Yet, he acted with respect toward his guru. He followed all the tenets of the guru, a personal spiritual teacher, Shishek Parampara. 

Second, he was sent to exile by his father under the command of his stepmother. Rama had the right to refuse his father but he chose not to do so. He ended up in the forest and made the most of his state. 

Rama learned many things from many people. He learned the art of sharing from Shabri. He also learned friendship from the king of Nishadas. He came to know wisdom from Rishi Bharathwaj. He also learned protection from demons. Though he loses his crowd, he gained wisdom like no one else.

Fourth, Rama lost his wife after she got kidnapped. He waged the biggest war of all time fighting tooth and nail to get his wife back. He even injured his brother. He could have let it go since he was from a loyal family. Yet, this showed his love and dedication to his wife, Sita.

Fifth, after Ravan’s death, Rama was requested to perform the funeral rites of his brother. According to Dharma, a religious belief in India, the winner of the battle had all the rights on the asset of the defeated person, even his body.

Rama told the bishop that he didn’t have any enmity or hostility toward his brother unattended with his death. Ram explained that he killed his brother because he didn’t send his wife back to him till the very last moment. 

Ancient Irish Tales

The Irish are popular for their wonderful tales. Many of these tales have been moved passed through generations. Let’s check the best Irish stories for kids. They vary from stories inspired by myth and ancient folklore to modern tales about today’s world.

The Children of Lir – the inspiration for Swan Lake

It is a unique and poetic tale that fits right along with the rest of Celtic mythology. The tale begins with the 

Once upon a time, there was a wealthy chieftain. His name was Lir. He had 4 children. Lir loved his children more than anything in the whole world. Their names were Vanilla, A, kun and Fiacra. 

A heartbreaking thing happened. The children’s mother has passed away. King Lir and the children were very emotional that day. Lir felt very sad. The absence of his wife made him love his children even more.

His advisers said he should get married again. Lir agreed and got married to another daughter of bob Jargs called Ifa. She was a very beautiful young woman. They loved each other very much.

One day when Lir was out of the castle, Ifa asked the children if they wanted to visit their grandfather. The children squealed in delight. Even though Vanilla thought it was a bad idea and tried to get out of it. 

When they went out to the coach, she told the knights to kill the children. The knights said no. One day they were going to the castle, she asked them if they would like to go for a swim in the lake. The children jumped right. 

Ifa threw one from her cloak and turned them into swans. Ifa told the children that they would spend 300 years in lake Jerivara, 300 years in the sea of Moya, and 300 years in the sea of Varys. 

The spell would be broken when a king from the North marries a queen from the South and the bell of a new religion rings. Vanilla swam up to Ifa. Vanilla asked Ifa not to leave them like this. 

Ifa felt sorry for them, so she gave them the gift of song. That would make anyone happy. When Ifa came home, she told Lir that the children drowned and she couldn’t save them. 

Ifa thought that lir then would give her all the attention. Yet, Lir was so sad. He set off to find his children. He found 4 swans in the lake Derevara. Then, the swans started to talk to father, father. They told him that Ifa cursed them. They would be stuck swans for 900 years. Lir was so sad. When he went home he punished Ifa.

Lir stayed with the 4 swans for 300 years. When the swans had to leave, he waved goodbye to them. Tears flooded his eyes as he watched them disappear into the clouds.

After 300 years of being in lake Derevara, the 4 swans traveled to the sea of Moya for another 300 years. The sea of Moyo was not like the lake Derevara. The sea was rough and stormy. It was a sea between Ireland and Scotland. Finula sheltered her brothers under her wings in the cold and lonely nights. 

Finally, the 300 years and the cold sea were over. The swans flew over Ireland to the western ocean. In the western ocean, there was grass instead of hard rocks. It was their favorite Island.

The swans would watch the sunset over the sea and sing quietly together. People in the ships passing by them thought that they were listening to mermaids. 

One day when they were out fishing, fisher and Kun came to Vanilla. Kun said that something strange was happening. On an explorer, the 4 swans flew towards the island. Then they saw a holy man who was building a tiny hut of stones. 

The holy man sang while he was walking. When he finished, he tied something shiny to the top of the hut. It was a bell. The wind blew and the bell began to ring. 

The children had never had anything so lovely. The holy man looked up at the 4 beautiful swans flying around above him. The man asked the swans to come down and sing with him.

As soon as the poor children landed on the island, something strange happened. Their feather fell from them. Vanilla looked at her brothers, she saw three very old men. She found herself also a very old woman.

The holy man looked sadly at them, he knew from the old stories that there were the children of Lir and that they are going to die. Yet, Vanilla smiled and asked the holy man not to be sad. She continued that they are too tired, they lived for too long lives. She said that they would be happy to sleep on his island.

The holy man purified the 4 children. Then, children lay down on the soft green grass behind a little hut. All the bells of the island came to sing them to sleep 

The Harp of Dagda

It is said that there were two different kinds of people in Ireland. One set of people with long dark hair and dark eyes is called Faux Mauryans. They carried long slender spears made of gold and bronze when they fought. 

Another race of people who were golden-haired and blue-eyed, and carried short blunt heavy spheres of dull metal.

The Dagda was the supreme god of the Celts and the king of Tuatha de Danann. He was said to watch over the Celtic tribes like a father figure, together with Ogma who was sometimes said to be his brother.

Together with Lugh, Dagda formed the great trinity of gods of the Tuatha de Danann. His name Dadga means the good god. Not because he was particularly good to the people, but because he was good in everything he did. 

Dagda had a lot of skills and talents. He was also known under a lot of different names, including the great father and the fertile one. In Gaul, he was known as Sucellos. His real name was a mystery but the names he is given describe a lot of his character traits.

When picturing him, he is described as a giant of a man, always dressed in the wooden hooded cloak covering up his face. Thanks to his giant stature and his enormous appetite, his clothes were always too tight. His stomach and butt often stuck out. 

Dagda’s unshaven face was adorned by a long unruly beard and all in all he was a little bit off. But at the same time, he was said to be very good-looking, pretty, and wise beyond compare.

He is the all-father, the keeper of justice, law, and order. He is a king, a father, and a druid associated with wisdom, magic, masculinity, and also fertility. He had a lot of lovers and a lot of children. 

Some of his lovers were the goddess Danu, the goddess Boine and the goddess Morrigan. His children include the famous goddess Brigid as well as gods like Aengus, Caermit, and Aed.

While the Dagda was best known for his strength and his enormous appetite, his most famous attributes may have been the objects he possessed.

There were three magical objects in his possessions. First, the Coire ansir, the undry, a bottomless cauldron big enough for two grown men to fit into it. It was big enough to feed a whole village with an endless supply of food. 

At the same time, the hilt of the club had the power to restore health and resurrect people. So, this object might have brought the Dagda the association with the power over life and death. 

The third and probably most interesting object was the Daurdabla or the Uaithne. It is a magical golden harp made from the very first oak tree of Ireland and covered in Jewels. With this harp, the Dagda had the power of changing seasons or even the weather. 

This object, the Coire ansir, might have been given to the Dagda the association with feasts and prosperity.

The second object was the Loge Mor, a massive club. It was so big, so huge that it has to be transported on a cart. It can only be lifted by the Dagda or eight grown men. It was also said that the Dagda could kill nine men with a single stroke of this club. 

He could introduce prophetic sleep. He also could invoke the strongest emotions within beasts, men and gods alike. In fact, the harp was so powerful that it could incite man to war, cure the battle-weary men and bring joy and sorrow beyond measure.

Of course, an object as powerful as the harp, couldn’t stay unnoticed by the enemies for long. So, after the second battle of Moy Tura, which was won by the Tuatha de Danann, the Fomorians were so impressed with the harp. The Fomorian chief wanted to have it in his possession. 

The Tuatha de Danann meanwhile celebrated the victory, ate from the bottomless cauldron of the Dagda, and listened to stories of glorious victories. While listening, the Tuatha de Danann were unaware of the Fomorians who made their way into the camp.

The Fomorians stole the magical harp from right beyond their noses. Of course, the Fomorian didn’t stay and wait until the theft was noticed. They ran for their lives carrying the harp with them to a nearby abandoned fortress. 

It wasn’t until one of the Dagda’ men asked to hear some music from the harp that the theft was noticed and the Tuatha de Danann realized what had happened. The Dagda was furious, what an insult to him! He knew that the thieves wouldn’t be able to handle the magic of the harp.

Yet, without the harp, the Dagda wouldn’t be able to control seasons and weather either and people would have to suffer. So, he asked his men who would come with him to retrieve the harp. The first men to stand up and joined the Dagda in his mission were Ogma and Lugh. 

As the trio found the camp of the Fomorians after a long walk, they saw that the enemies vastly outnumbered them. Lugh and Ogma weren’t really sure how they would be able to retrieve the harp. But the Dagda didn’t even flinch. 

The Dagda called out his harp. Hearing it is his true master’s voice, the harp sprung from where it was hung and flew directly into the hands of the Dagda. On its way, it killed seven Fomorians and wounded a lot more. 

Within seconds, the Fomorians followed the harp and stormed in the direction of the trio. Ogma and Lough told the Dagda it would be time to play a tune. 

The Dagda agreed. He started to play a sad melody of grief. As it came to the ears of Fomorians, they instantly stopped and started sobbing with their heads and their hands.

Even though they were cold people, they couldn’t help but feel the pain of the worriers lost in the recent battle. They were overwhelmed with grief and misery. The tears rolled down their cheeks.

 Yet, the moment the song ended, they got themselves together again. They were even more furious than before and stormed toward the trio. Again, the Dagda started a little tune. This time, it is a joyful one. 

The Fomorians started laughing uncontrollably. Once again, tears rolled on their cheeks. But this time, they were tears of pure laughter. They laughed so hard to the extent that they even dropped their weapons. 

Yet, the moment the tune stopped, they picked up their weapons again. They started to charge at the trio. The Dagda meanwhile started the third and last song. This time the tune was the most gentle and soothing anyone had ever heard. 

Within seconds, the Fomorians just stopped their attack. They also fell into a deep slumber. None of them had the chance to resist the tune. So, when the trio was sure that everyone was asleep, they just rode home and let them sleep there.

Since that day, no one ever dared to steal the harp again or even 

touch it. 

Tir Na Nog

Tir Na Nog is an Irish legend. It is the land of eternal youth a land full of beauty and bliss. Oisin was the son of the legendary Fionn Mccumhaill, the leader of the Fianna. Oisin was known as a poet and a bard but also as a skilled worrier.

Oisin was known for his strong sense of justice. He was well respected and highly valued among the Fianna. Oisin, Fionn, and the Fianna had many adventures together. It seemed like nothing would ever change until that one faithful day.

The Fianna came from just another great battle and decided to rest at the beautiful and quiet shore of Lough Lane near Killarney in the country Kerry. Their heads were weary of the thoughts of the friends they had lost and the faces they would never see again. 

Suddenly, as the men looked toward the water, a young maiden appeared ridding swiftly above the water on a beautiful white stallion. The Fianna couldn’t believe what they saw. As the woman approached, every man turned to watch her beauty.

Her long golden hair fell softly upon her shoulders. Her eyes were blue like the ocean. Her clothes were of the finest the Fianna had ever seen. Gold and silver patterns had been woven into them. A sight that was only surpassed by the crown on her head.

But it was not just the maiden that stole the breath of the Fianna, even the majestic horse she rode, a silver crown, and her golden braidings all over her body. 

The maiden rode towards the men. As she reached them, she spoke with a voice so gentle and kind. Her accent seemed strange and very old to the Fianna. They had never had an accent like that. 

The maiden introduced herself as Niamh Cinn Oir, Niamh of the golden hair, princess of Tir Na Nog. She told the Fianna that she was indeed the daughter of Manannan Mac Lir, the king of the oceans. 

Fionn who was as captured by the woman, as his man spoke up and asked what she wanted. Niamh looked around the men for a second and responded that she had heard of the bravery and the talents of the Fianna and that she has come to seek a husband.

Bewitched by the beauty of Niamh, all men instantly tried to show off in the hope that her choice would fall on them. Some showed their strength, others their talents with the swords. 

Only Oisin took the time to get his harp and tune it. Then he started to play the most beautiful song directly from his heart. Not only did he get the attention of a Fianna, but as soon as the song came to Niamh’s ears, she started to sing from her heart.

As both tunes met and melted into one, Niamh and Oisin were meant to be together. One more Niamh spoke to Fionn. She had already heard of the pure heart, the beauty, the bravery and the skills of poetry and music that Oisin possessed. She did come to ask for his land.

Fionn’s heart was troubled for he knew Niamh was one of the Sidhe the people of the other world. But he also knew that Oisin’s mother was also one of their kind. Also, It might be Oisin’s fate to follow her to her people.

One look at Oisin told Fionn that the lad would follow this woman, no matter what he thought about it. As Oisin heard her words, he was full of joy. He ran to her and took her hands into his own.

Niamh told Oisin of the land she was from, a land where there would never be any sorrow, no death, or age. It was a land where all he could wish for would come true. It was a land where there were feasts and drinking, music and more riches than he could ever imagine.

Niamh continued it was the land where he could stay young and strong forever. Tempted by her words and the beauty, Oisin mounted the horse and was about to ride off with her. 

When Fionn called his name and said “You don’t know what waits for you in this mysterious land! No one has ever returned.” But Niamh just whispered into his ear “Come away with me Oisin. Come away to Tir Na Nog, the most beautiful land you can imagine. We have no illness, no aging, no death. But beautiful valleys and several rivers.” 

Oisin bit Fionn and the Fianna farewell and promised to return one day. A promise made by one of the Fianna must always be kept. Even though Fionn felt like this day would never come, he let him go and watched as Niamh and Oisin galloped away upon the water.

Oisin was full of joy as he and Niamh rode past many strange places, beautiful palaces, and cities, and finally, they reached Tir Na Nog. Oisin looked around. This place was all that Niamh had promised and more. 

Oisin looked at the flawless blue skies, at animals without compare, at the beautiful people who seem to be as happy as can be, and the jewels and gold that were to be found everywhere.

Niamh and Oisin married. Oisin feasted on food and wine, composed a lot of poetry, and hunted every day. So, they lived happily for a while. The happy couple had three children, a daughter, and two sons. It seemed like everything was perfect.

After a while, that felt like an eternity, Oisin felt the call back to Ireland for he desired to see his father and the Fianna again. For a while, Niamh was able to distract his thoughts through more feasts, hunts, or other entertainment. 

But after a while, he couldn’t ignore the ache in his heart anymore. After three years, he asked Niamh if he could visit Ireland once more. Niamh knew that time passed slowly in Tir Na Nog and that the land he wanted to return to, wouldn’t exist anymore. 

Niamh feared losing him, but couldn’t refuse to let him go. She called upon her white horse. She made him promise that whatever happened, he may never under no circumstances, set foot on Irish soil or he would never be able to return to her. 

Oisin didn’t quite understand why but gave her the promise to never set foot on Irish soil and to return to her and the children. Oisin rode away, while Niamh had the feeling that she may never see her fair love again.

Oisin unaware of his fate rode away with a light heart, full of joy to see his friends and family again. But as he arrived in Ireland, he couldn’t find Fionn anywhere. He was also confused about the sights he saw. 

Mighty castles he once knew now lay in ruins that had been overgrown. The forest he and Fiann loved to hunt in was cut down. The people he found seem to have grown a lot smaller and weaker than the people he remembered, not more than children in his eyes.

He came across a lot of churches that he had never seen before. The thought that something must have happened while he was away, grew stronger and stronger. 

After a while, he approached a man on the road and asked for the whereabouts of his father. But the man didn’t know who Fionn was. Oisin couldn’t believe him since everyone knew Fionn and the Fianna. He rode off.

Once again after a while, he came across another group of men. Oisin asked about the Fianna again. Those men had indeed heard of them but only in very old legends and poems. 

Only now did Oisin realize that while his time in the land of youth felt for him like three years, in Ireland really three hundred years had passed. He was devastated. His heart broke and he was already about a return to his great love Niamh and his children. 

When he came across two other men who were unable to lift the large boulder. He approached them and leaned over to lit the rock. It was a small thing for him and he lifted it without a problem. But as small as the boulder seemed to be for him, its weight was enough so that the saddle strap snapped and he fell off his horse. 

The white stallion ran off in fright, never to be seen again. Oisin as long as his skin touched the ground was called upon the years he had missed. 

The two men near him rushed to help him up but found him not being the beautiful young man he was a minute ago, but an old man near to death. 

Weeping for the family and friends he would never see again, and begging for someone to write down all the stories Oisin has to tell about the Fianna, the man brought him to the great bishop Patrick, who was known as St. Patrick. 

Patrick helped Oisin to be comfortable and listened to the stories Oisin told of Fionn and the Fianna. As Oisin ended and Patrick had everything written down, both men started to argue at length. For Partick came to Ireland to bring Christianity to the people. 

Oisin was still an advocate for the old ways. Patrick wanted to baptize Oisin and prepare him before his death and the afterlife, but Oisin denied Christianity. He stood true to the way of his people, the path of honor.

In the end, Oisin died as the last of his kind. It is said that with his last thought of all he had lost, the one thing he regretted most having lost was his wife Niamh. For if he could choose between 300 years with Fianna or one single day with his love, he would always choose Niamh.

Some say that until this day once in a while, a woman in a white horse can be seen, galloping above the water in the hope of finding her true love again. 

Ancient Tales and Folklore From Japan

Japanese folklore is the mythology of Japan. It is very affected by Shinto and Buddhism, the two most significant religions in the country. It usually has funny or strange characters and situations.

It also contains many supernatural creatures, such as kami, gods and revered spirits. It also has yōkai, monster spirits such as oni, kappa, and tengu.  Onryō is ghosts, dragons, and animals with supernatural powers like the kitsune, a fox. Tanuki is a raccoon dog, mujina that is a badger, and Bakeneko is a transforming cat.

Japanese folklore is often separated into different categories: 

  • mukashibanashi: tales of long-ago 
  • namidabanashi: sad stories
  • obakebanashi: ghost stories 
  • ongaeshibanashi: stories of kindness
  • tonchibanashi: witty stories
  • waraibanashi: funny stories; and 
  • yokubaribanashi: stories of greed

The Ogre of Rashomon

A long time ago in Kyoto in Japan, there was a band of samurai knights. They were renowned for their great might and power, Kyoto was at this time in question the capital of Japan. 

Across Japan, were various gates leading in and out of cities and areas and such. One night the band of fierce samurai knights sat around the table, nestled on the Tatami floor, drinking sake and eating a meal.

One of the samurai began to speak of a tale he had heard from an elderly woman. He mentioned that the gate to Rashomon, the word on the street had it that there is an ogre that is taking people from twilight through dusk.

One samurai named Watanabe blurted out that it could not be true as their master had led them into battles against the last of the ogres in Kyoto, upon the mountains not so far in time. 

The others looked upon him and said: “if you are so sure then you should go check out.” For a moment Watanabe grew concerned. Then his brave and gallant personality kicked him. 

Watanabe said: “I shall everyone wanted evidence, I’m willing to go alone and check.” So, each member of the band of samurai knights placed their surnames on a parchment.

Watanabe said he would nail the paper to the door, and they could all go in the next morning to see it placed upon the gate. 

Despite the fact that there was a fierce storm and the wind howled and screeched like pigs going to slaughter and the rain beat down like the pounding of her falling oak, Watanabe drew the reins of his horse and attached his Katana to his armor, and placed firmly his helmet upon his head.

For a brief second, the band of samurai thought that he would succumb to fear at the ferocity of the storm of which no normal person would dare to brace. Nonetheless, Watanabe rode into the night and the wind berated him and the horse. 

The rain was cold as ice, the night was as dark as a cavern, and the thunder and lightning roared and lit the way toward the gate. He arrived and like as he thought there was nothing there. He stapled the parchment to the gate.

Watanabe began to ride home to his fellow samurai knights and brothers when suddenly a giant hand latched onto his helmet and stopped him in his tracks. 

He felt around to find that it was a thick arm as thick as a temple pillar and had hair as coarse as a brush littered upon it. The stench was also overwhelming.

At this moment with knowledge of the battle he had thought upon the mountain with his master and samurai brothers, he became alert to the fact it most certainly was an ochre. 

Watanabe drew his sword as fast as the lightning and struck and began slashing furiously at the ogre’s arm. The ogre’s grip released and a battle ensued. 

The lightning-casting shapes of a ginormous ogre and one brave samurai fighting for their lives. Watanabe had battled ogres before but never alone.

His heart pumped with a passion to protect the folks of Kyoto and seek glory for his band of samurai and to claim the head of the ogre as proof of his battles. 

The rain struck the blade of the Katana making more bellowing whipping sounds than the wind itself. Soon, the ogre began to realize that this was no average samurai, that Watanabe had gallantry, that his swordsmanship was incredible.

So the ogre began to flee the battle. Watanabe provoked by the cowardice of the ogre, set to chase him. The ogre, the size of the gate itself had great stride and so soon surpassed him. 

Watanabe was disappointed that he had not slain the ogre. The human eating ogre returned to the gate of his loyal steed. As he approached the horse, he noticed a large object scattered on the floor in the shining light of the storm.

It was the ogre’s arm. He was elated and began to tie the rope to the back of the horse. As dawn struck, he approached the center of Kyoto dragging the ogre’s arm with his horse. 

The samurai brothers and master were astounded and so proud of his gallant effort. They prepared a feast for him with fish of all kinds cooked in all manners and even raw. 

They celebrated his efforts with saki and shochu and many assortments of entertainment. The whole of Kyoto had already known that this band of samurai knights was powerful and had a protective spirit, yet now there was a samurai who would fight ogres alone.

Watanabe became renowned. His notoriety extended across Kyoto like a bushfire. People paid to see the arm and praised his greatness. Yet in time, he became concerned that the ogre would return for the arm as ogres are very revengeful and possessive.

So Watanabe had a great box of timber and steel made to lock the arm away. Then, he placed the box in his own bedroom. He sought to never let anyone see it in fear that the ogre would snatch it.

Then, one cold and stormy night not unlike the one on which he had faced the ogre on, there came a knock at his gate. The maid came to the gate and found an old woman scratching at the door. 

The old woman said, “I’m the master Watanabe’s witness.” I nursed him since a child. I heard of his great exploits and sought to it in my final hour to congratulate my sweet child of yesterday.” The maid rushed to Watanabe and told him of her at the gate. 

Watanabe was void of all sense and concerned for the nature of her late call at night. As he was overwhelmed with nostalgia and love for his witness, she had been more like a mother than anyone else. 

He had deep feelings of love and adored her kind and gentle soul. So, the gate was opened. Luckily, there was no sign of the ogre in the tempestuous night and the gate was closed behind her. 

The old wet nurse limped into the lobby and proclaimed “my sweet child, you are a great hero of Kyoto. I heard of the exploit of this night and had to rush to congratulate you.”

This brought a serene joy and smile to Watanabe. The old woman nurse went on to say: “I so desire to see the ogre’s arm.” Watanabe replied that these eyes no one can see and that the arm is locked away. 

Then, the old woman went on to whisper: “I’m old and soon I will pass. This is as certain as the light of a new day. Please, allow me this favor. I’ve in all my days to see such an anomaly and the freak of nature such as the arm of a demonic ogre.”

Watanabe endeared by her gentle voice, agreed. As the box was unchained and unlocked, the wet nurse seem to tremble in fear. The wooden lid was removed and she nervously limped over to the box.

With every step closer she took, she was seemingly stricken with more fear. Then suddenly the old woman transformed into an ogre. It was not fear, it was eagerness. 

The ogre grabbed the arm and began swiping it furiously at Watanabe. Watanabe was emotionally overwhelmed by this meeting. For a moment petrified. Then, as he was flayed across the room, he instantly came to his senses and drew his katana as fast as he did on that night.

The ogre seeing the light of the lamp shine upon the katana was overwhelmed with fear and let through the ceiling chortling with a menacing laugh and madness as the ogre reclaimed his arm.

Watanabe was disappointed that he had trusted the ogre and not anticipated a shape-shifting power that some ogres are known to have. He sat down as the rain dripped through the ceiling and started onto the moon. 

The light of a new day came in. Watanabe remained respected for his swordsmanship, yet he always felt disappointed that his heart was so supple and susceptible. 

He waited at the gate of Rashomon for another chance many times. The ogre fearful of Watanabe might never return. Thus, Kyoto was saved.

Urashima-Taro

Long ago in a village by the sea, there was a young man named Urashima Taro. He made his living by going out to the sea in his rowboat every day to catch fish. 

But one day when Taro went out to sea, he couldn’t catch any fish. So, he left early and went back to shore. Then, he found some village children making a commotion. 

Going closer, he saw a baby turtle tired of the children’s torment. He shouted at the kids to get out of the place. Taro took pity on the poor little turtle. He took the baby turtle home and took care of it until back to health.

The next day the baby turtle was good, so Taro sat it free back into the sea where it swam happily away and disappeared. A few days later when Taro was fishing, as usual, he heard a voice calling his name. 

Taro thought it strange to hear a voice way out of the sea, but then his name called again. The sound was coming from the water. The voice said that it is a messenger from the Dragon of the Sea. The baby turtle he saved was from the palace of the Sea Dragon.

The messenger continued that it would take him there to repay him for his kindness. The turtle asked him to get on its back. Taro did as he was asked and got onto the turtle’s back. 

Taro met someone there. She welcomed him and introduced herself as Otohime. It is the turtle he saved the other day. She continued that he wanted to see the world above, so he changed himself into a turtle. 

Taro was astounded that the turtle he rescued had become that beautiful princess. She asked him to follow her as her father wished to thank him. Her father welcomed him and thanked him for saving his daughter.

Taro was treated to a fabulous reception. Then the mysterious day was over. Each day was like a dream. Then, one day Taro was taken to a special room where he could forget about time. He could quickly spend an enjoyable year. 

Still, Otohime advised him not to use that room much as there was no way o turn the time back. Taro forgot all about the journey of time. He enjoyed himself in the room time again and again. 

Nevertheless, eventually, he remembered his other life above the sea. The next day he asked about going home. The princess told him to just live in the palace and have fun. Taro was overcome with sadness but she couldn’t stop him.

Taro’s mind was made up. The princess gave him a lid as a memento. With it, he can come back to the Palace of the Sea but he must never ever open the lid on his world.

Once again, Taro got on the turtle’s back to take him to his world above the sea. He left the Palace of the Sea Dragon. Taro went back to the village he longed for so much. The village however had changed. 

Where his house has been was now a big field with big trees and overgrown weeds. The villagers were all people he didn’t know. As taro hang around aimlessly, an old man asked him if he needed any help. Taro asked about his house.

The old man replied that there used to be a deserted old house but that was long ago. Taro was astounded. Then, he knew that what seemed like months at the Palace of the Sea Dragon had passed as decades or even countries here in the village.

Forgetting Otohime’s warning never to open the box, instantly Taro’s hair was gone and he changed into a withered old man with a bent back. NO longer having any place where he belonged, Taro just disappeared. 

Some said he turned into a crane and flew off somewhere but that is another story. 

Chinese Folk Tales

There are various myths and legends in Chinese culture. China has one of the ancient records of myths of all the countries in the world. Some of them go back over 4000 years. Chinese tales contain tales from emperors and heroes to mythical creatures like dragons.  

The Jade Stone: A Chinese Folk Tale

Long ago in China, there lived a stone carver named Chang Lu Chan. Chan Lu spent his days carving birds, deer, and water buffalo from the colored stones he found near the river.

People came from near and far to buy Chang Lu’s carvings. So, it happened that when the great emperor of all of China was given a perfect piece of green and white cape stone, one of the advisors in the celestial Palace thought of Chang Lu.

Tumble stone Carver was brought before the Great Emperor of All-China. Chang Lu bowed deeply. The emperor’s men carried the precious stone to Chang Lu’s garden. Chang Lu had never seen such a perfect piece of jade.

The great emperor commanded a dragon of wind and fire. Chang Lu wondered if that was what the stone wanted to be. Change Lu bent down and put his ear to the stone. 

From deep inside came a gentle sound. Change Lu wondered, perhaps it was the sound of a dragon’s tail splashing in the ocean. But he was not sure. That evening he thought about dragons. 

The next morning, Chang Lu went to the garden. The stone was spring water green in the morning light. Chang Lu put his ear to the green and white gate and listened. Softly, the sound came. 

But these were not mighty dragon bombers coming from the rock. They were gentle lazy playful sounds. Chang Lu’s heart grew heavy, for he had not heard the emperor’s dragon.

That evening, he tried to think again about dragons. In the middle of the night, Chang Lu awoke. He went into the moonlit garden. The stone showed silver-green in the moonlight. He would listen one last time.

He put his ear to the stone, Silence. Chang Lu ran his hands over the jade and his fingers about tiny ridges. But Chang Lu knew these small delicate ridges were not dragon scales.

His fear weighed heavy in him like a great stone as he picked up his tools and began to carve. He worked slowly and carefully for a year and a day. 

Only in the morning, before the birds were awake, Chang Lu wrapped the jade carving in a cloth and set out for the celestial palace. Chang Lu entered the great hall where the three advisors sat waiting for the Great Emperor of all China.

Chang Lu placed the jade stone on the table in the center of the room. Soon, the emperor’s advisors grew curious. They scurried to the jade stone and peeked under the cloth.

The emperor roared, his eyes dark with anger and his voice rolling like black thunder.  The emperor’s words burned into Chang Lu’s ears. But the emperor was so angry, that he couldn’t decide which punishment to choose.

Chang Lu was lifted by two palace guards. Then, he was dragged down many flights of stairs and was thrown into a black prison cell. The emperor ordered that the jade stone be removed from the celestial palace.

The carver was placed outside, near the reed of the reflecting pool. That night, the emperor dreamed of fish playfully slapping their tails in green water. In the morning, the emperor’s advisor asked about the punishment the emperor choose.

The next day, the emperor dreamed of fish gliding smoothly through the deep, clear water. In the morning, the emperor’s advisor asked if he chose a punishment.  Still, the emperor didn’t decide yet.

On the third night, the emperor groaned and tossed in his sleep but he didn’t dream. He awoke in the darkest hour of the night. A strange sound filled the room.

The emperor got out of bed and went toward the sound. Thereby the reflecting pool was the jade stone. The shining scales of the jade carp glowed in the moonlight. The fish’s slippery bodies were reflected in the pool. 

The Fish seemed ready to flick their tails and swim among the reeds. Gazing at the jade stone until his advisors found him at sunrise. The great emperor smiled an imperial smile. 

The advisors asked the emperor about the punishment he chose. The emperor asked his advisors to bring Chang Lu before him. The emperor spoke to Chang Lu and told him that he also heard the creatures in the stone.

Chang Lu was so pleased that the emperor became happy and asked the emperor to let him return to his village and carve what he hears. The emperor told him that he would return to his village in great honor being the master carver to the Great Emperor of all of China. 

The Lost Horse: A Chinese Folk Tale

It is a story about a man in a far northern kingdom in China. There lived a man who owned a horse, a beautiful horse. It was so beautiful that people from all around come to see his horse, admire its beauty, and congratulate him.

The man would shrug and say “hmm, perhaps”. But a blessing could sometimes be a curse. Sometimes later, his horse ran away and disappeared. Those very same people would come to him and say “ Oh, that’s terrible bad luck” 

People said that he should have built a fence. They say such a bit of bad luck. The man said “perhaps! You know sometimes a curse can be a blessing.” Some weeks later, his horse returned but not alone.

With it, it brought 21 wild horses, and by the law of the land, those 21 horses became the property of that man. Everybody congratulated him. They said that he was really lucky and that they are so jealous and that he must be blessed.

The man shrugged and said, “ Perhaps!. You know sometimes a blessing can be a curse.”. Sometime after his horse returned, his son and only son decided he wanted to try and ride one of the wild horses. 

But it wasn’t broken in, it threw him from its back. The man’s son broke his leg and the bone never healed right, leaving the boy laying. People looked with pity in their eyes, shook their heads, and said “You must have done something terrible in your past life, such a curse.” 

The man shrugged and said, “Perhaps but you know sometimes a curse can be a blessing.”. A few months later, a war broke out, the Emperor’s soldiers came to conscript the young men of the village but the boy with the broken leg couldn’t go.

The man’s lame son was no good as a soldier. They didn’t want him. All the young men who left the village to fight in the war none of them returned.

The people looked at the man with the horse and his lame son and said “You’re so lucky” The man shrugged and said “Perhaps” 

So in these trying times, when the road ahead seems like an uphill struggle, always remember it is sometimes the curses, the hard times in our life which turn out to be the greatest blessings. 

Tikki Tikki Tembo 

Once upon a time a long time ago, it was the custom of all the fathers and mothers in China to give the first and honored sons quite long names. But second sons were hardly given any name at all.

In a small mountain village, a mother who had two little sons lived there. Her second son she called Chang which meant ‘little’ or ‘nothing’. 

But her first and honored son, she called Tikki Tikki Tembo-no sa Rembo-Hari Kari Bushkie Perry Pem Do Hai Kai Pom Pom Nikki No Meeno Dom Barako which meant the most wonderful thing in the whole wide world. 

Every morning, the mother went to have a bath in a little stream near her home. The two boys always went playing along with her. On the bank, there was an old well. The mother warned them not to go near the well, otherwise, they would surely fall in the well. The boys didn’t always mind the mother.

One day, Chang fell when they were playing beside the well. Tikki Tikki Tembo-no sa Rembo-Hari Kari Bushkie Perry Pem Do Hai Kai Pom Pom Nikki No Meeno Dom Barako ran as fast as his little legs could carry him to his mother.

He said: “most honorable mother, Chang has fallen into the well. The mother replied: “The water roars little blossom; I can not hear you.” Then, Tikki Tikki Tembo raised his voice and cried “Chang has fallen into the well.” 

The mother asked him to go to the old man with the ladder to fetch him out. Then, Tikki Tikki Temb ran as fast as his little legs could carry him to the old man with the ladder and said “ Old man with the ladder, Chang has fallen into the well. Will you come and fetch him out?” 

The old man agreed. He went into the well. He steps over step picked up Chang. He brought him out of the well. He pumped the water out of him and pushed the air into him. Soon, Chang was just as good as ever.

For months, the boys go near the well. But after the festival of the eighth moon, they ran to the well to eat their rice cakes. They are near the well and played around the well. They walked on the well. 

Tikki Tikki Tembo fell into the well. Chan ran as fast his little legs could carry him to his mother and said “ Oh honorable mother, Tikki Tikki Tembo-no sa Rembo-Hari Kari Bushkie Perry Pem Do Hai Kai Pom Pom Nikki No Meeno Dom Barako has fallen into the well.”

The mother couldn’t hear him so the little Chang took a deep breath and repeated “ Oh mother, most honorable, Tikki Tikki Tembo-no sa Rembo-Hari Kari Bushkie Perry Pem Do Hai Kai Pom Pom Nikki No Meeno Dom Barako has fallen into the well.”

Still, the mother couldn’t hear Change and he repeated what he said but he messed up with his brother’s name. The mother asked him to say his brother’s name correctly. 

Chang was out of breath and couldn’t say that long name again. Then, he thought of his brother in the old well, he bawled his head clear to the sand and took a deep breath, slowly said his brother’s full name, and told her that Tikki Tikki Temo was at the bottom of the well.

The mother ran to the well and asked Chang to go to the old man with the ladder to fetch his brother from the well. He ran as fast as his little legs could carry him to the old man with the ladder. 

Under the tree, the old man set. Chang called him and asked him to go with him but there was no answer. With the very last bit of breath, Chang shouted again and told him that Tikki Tikki Tembo fell into the well. 

The old man with the ladder was annoyed that Chang woke him up from his dreams. Chang begged him to go and get his brother out of the cold well. The old man with the ladder ran fast as he could.

Step over step, he picked the little boy out. He pumped the water out of him. He pushed the air into him. But the little Tikki Tikki Tembo had been in the water so long because of his great long name. 

The moon rose so many times before he was quite the same again. From that day to this, the Chinese have always started wisely to give all the children little short names instead of great long names. 

Roman Tales

The Romans, as they expanded adopted various things from other cultures. They imitated all the Greek gods but they gave them different names to make them Roman and made changes to some of the stories to make the gods appear more like Romans.  

The Legend of Romulus and Remus

It is a myth about two twin brothers who went through a lot and ended up founding the city of Rome. It was written around the 3rd century BC, but the actual story takes place a little bit earlier in the 8the century BC. It takes place in a city called Alba Longa, what is now known as modern Italy.

The original king of Alba Longa had his power taken away by his evil brother Amulius. Amulius was always jealous that his brother was the king and not him. 

Ever since Amulius was a little kid he always plotted to find a way to take his brother’s power away. Since the king’s power is usually passed down from father to son, Amulius literally had no other choice but to kill every single one of Numa tour male offspring. 

Amulius took his brother’s daughter Rhea Silvia and appointed her a vestal ever to live as a virgin within the temple of Vesta and served that goddess of hearth and home that she might never get married and never bear a son having a lawful claim to the throne. 

This was no evidence against the will of the gods. For one day, Mars went down from the heavens and took to himself Rhea Silvia. She soon found that she was pregnant. Although she strove to keep this secret the penalties against a Vestal who broke her vows were severe.

Rhea Silvia couldn’t hide her stay forever and in time she gave birth to twin boys. When Amulius found out this, he fell into anger. He locked away Rhea Silvia in a prison.

Amulius ordered that the boys be put into a reed basket and set adrift in the river Tiber. The basket floated down the river. Finally coming to rest against the river bank. 

A she-wolf moving down the river to drink came across the basket. It seemed that there were two small motherless babies inside. Offered her own treats for them to suckle.

In this way, a shepherd to Amulius, a man named Faust Alice spotted the two children being cared for gently by the she-wolf. Taking pity on the children, Faust Alice had them home and handed them to his wife Lorenzo to nurse.

Under the care of Faust Alice and Lorenzo, the boys named Romulus and Remus grew up in the young in two young men, tall and strong. They assisted their foster father in his work. They hunted game in the forest. They practiced with a bow and spear. They wrestled and boxed.

Soon it became well respected in the lands of Faust Alice’s homestead for their courage and strength, for their honesty, and for the way they stood up for the weak when oppressed by the strong. 

Indeed, one of their favorite pastimes was to lay in wait for robbers to spoil them of their plunder and then share out the goods among the local shepherds. 

It was not long before Romulus and Remus had summoned about them loyal bands of young men who would willingly do anything the brothers asked of them.

One day during the celebration of the feast of Penn, when the young men ran about naked in the honor of the gun. A group of robbers made up their minds to take their revenge upon the twins.

The robbers lay in a surprise attack for the lads as they celebrated the festival. While Romulus managed to fight his way free, Remus was caught captive. He was brought before Amulius. 

Amulius was allowed to live in his state near Alba Longa. Remus, therefore, was sent to Numa Tour to command punishment. 

Although Faust had suspected for some time that Romulus and Remus were the twin son of Rhea Silvia who had been condemned to exposure by Amuluis, he said nothing to anyone about this following to protect the children from their wicked uncle. 

But seeing that Remus had been taken by the king, Faust thought to pour out his story to Romulus, telling him the whole truth of his parentage and how he came to be raised in a shepherd’s hut.

Soon after hearing the truth of his and his brother’s parentage, Romulus was frightened for the life of Remus and desired to have revenge upon his uncle for his misdeeds. 

Romulus, therefore, assembled a band of his friends and headed to the palace of Amulius where they were soon joined by Remus who had been set free by Numa Tour.

He gathered his own band of companions together. The brothers and their friends stole to the palace and there Romulus killed the king. When Numa Tour heard of the assault on the palace, he at first summoned guards to deal with what he supposed was a foreign invasion. 

But when Romulus and Remus came to him at the head of their band of powerful friends and proclaimed Numa Tour king, Numa Tour assembled a council of all the nobles of the land. He told the nobles the story of Amulius’ usurping the throne and killing all the Numa Tour heirs.

He also told the nobles how Amulius had imprisoned Rhea Silvia and condemned Romulus and Remus to exposure. He clarified that Romulus and Remus were his own grandsons. He also said that the vile Amulius had been put to death in answer for his crimes.

The nobles and the people gladly proclaimed Numa Tour their rightful king, so he took the throne of Alba Longa. Although the twin could expect to inherit  Alba Longa after the death of their grandfather, they didn’t want to wait for a city of their own to rule.

They went out from Alba Longa searching for a place closer to where they had been fostered to find a new settlement. Along the river Tiber, they discovered a place that looked good where the river ran among Seven Hills. 

Romulus thought the palatine hill by far the best place partly because it was closest to where they had been found as babies. Remus disagreed with the Aventine hill. He said had a better aspect being less steep and therefore easier to build on. 

That surely was a more serious reason than the one Romulus clung to. Also, there was the problem of who would rule the city as soon as it was built as Romulus and Remus were twins. 

Neither could demand to have more of a claim than the other because of age. The brothers debated at length over what was to be done. Yet, neither would yield to the other. Wishing still to resolve their quarrel peacefully, they went to Numa Tour to seek his advice.

Numa Tour suggested they determine which course to follow by augury since surely a sign from the god would be the best guide in such a great undertaking as to the foundation of the city.

The brothers agreed that this was a piece of wise advice and so returned with their followers to the place along the Tiber. Remus stated that Aventine hill was the place where he would search for augury while Romulus took the Palatine.

While they watched a fight of six vultures was seen above the Aventine hill which Remus took to be a sign that his cause was in the right. But soon after that Romulus reported 12 vultures above Palatine hill. 

Since they had not determined how the augury was to be interpreted beforehand, Remus claimed himself the victor because birds has been seen over his hill first. While Romulus said the prize should go to him since his hill had a greater number of birds.

This time, the quarrel did come to blows. In the fight that ensued Romulus killed his brother, thus becoming the sole ruler of the new kingdom. After confirming that Remus was properly buried, Romulus stated about building his new city.

First, he plowed a furrow some distance from where the city walls would be, to mark out the boundaries of the city. Then, he commenced the building of the walls. 

In time, Romulus instituted laws in a system of government adopting the Etruscan custom of appointing 12 lictors, counselors who attended the king and helped meet out justice.

Romulus also appointed 100 senators to help make the laws. One thing however was missing in this new state, there were not enough women among the settlers. Therefore insufficient children to keep its laws and customs when their parents were gone.

Romulus, therefore, sent emissaries to many neighboring cities asking whether any of their families or women might be willing to join this new Enterprise on the banks of the Tiber.

But nowhere did the emissaries find anyone ready to leave their homes and live in the new city which was now known as Rome, after the name of its founder. 

Romulus and his companions considered this a great insult. They decided that if they were not to be allowed brides by consent, they would have them by force. 

The Romans, therefore, stated that they would have great games at the feast of Consuela, a harvest festival sacred to Neptune. They sent invitations to all the neighboring cities and made preparations for the feasting.

When the time came, people from the districts all around responded to the invitation. Gladly coming to watch the competitions and honor the god, The Sabine people attended in particularly great numbers, bringing with them their wives and their children as did families from other neighboring tribes.

But the games and the feasting were just a ruse. At Romulus’s signal, the Romans fell upon the young women who came to the festival and dragged them back into the city. 

The families were angry and asked for the return of their daughters but the Romans refused, saying that they too had the right to marry and have children. And that it had been an unjust of their neighbors to deny this to them. 

The Romans also promised that they would treat the women well and that the families had no reason to worry about that score. This for sure did not satisfy the families. 

Families went to Titus Tatius, king of Sabines asking that he might raise an army to get their daughters back. When Titus didn’t act quickly enough, the other tribes massed their own armies and jointly attacked Rome.

But their campaign was ill-conceived and disorganized. Soon, the attacking armies were routed by Romulus and his troops and their own towns took before the Romans could despoil the towns and slay the inhabitants. 

Herselio, the wife of Romulus, begged her husband to despair the townspeople, for their captive daughters had entreated her to ask this over. 

Romulus came to an agreement but on the condition that they joined the Roman state. To this, the defeated townspeople gladly agreed. Some of the Romans moved to Rome itself while others took up farms in the defeated districts.

Both expanding Romulus rule in making peace between the old cities and the new. Although Titus Tatius had not participated in the first assault upon Rome, he had not been idle. He gathered his army and placed his plans carefully.

First, one of the Sabine generals paid off a Sabine woman to let soldiers of her own nation into the citadel of Rome. They then killed the woman. 

Soon, the citadel was in the hands of the Sabines. Romulus gathered his army and laid siege. But not before the Romans were at the very gates did the Sabines do battle.

The fight went for the Romans until their chief general was slain. Then, the Romans line buckled and the soldiers began to fly from the Sabines. Romulus himself was taken in the fight for the gates.

He prayed the Jupiter to give him the victory promising that a great temple would be built in honor of the god if he were successful. Crying out that the god Jupiter himself commanded to the Romans turn and fight.

Romulus rallied his troops and thus tuned the tide of the battle seeing that their menfolk were being put to the slaughter. The Sabine women were released forth from the citadel. 

They stood between the combatants saying that they would rather die themselves than see such conflict between their parents and husbands.

At this, the Sabines and Romans put down their weapons and agreed to a truce, placing the Sabine territories under the rule of Rome. Romulus, therefore, strengthened his authority and well established his city. 

Although there were some more wars in the years that followed, the Romans appeared victorious in all of these. Romulus ruled wisely and was respected by his own people as well as by his allies.

Under his rule, Rome had a long period of peace. Then one day as Romulus was in the Campus Martius checking his army, a storm went down with much thunder, and a cloud covered Romulus, hiding him from the sight of his men.

When the storm passed and the cloud had disappeared, Romulus was nowhere to be found. The senators who had been placed next to the king stated that Romulus had been picked up to heaven by a divine storm and that their king now ruled immortal among the gods themselves.

One senator broke with Julius and said that Romulus had later appeared to him and that it was his will that the Roman state thrives and flourish and that it became the very capital of the world itself. 

The people agreed that surely their king had been taken up into immortality and thus they strove to follow his command that Rome became the greatest state on earth.

The Mighty Hercules

Hercules was the prime of the mythological Greek heroes. He was popular for his incredible strength, courage, and intelligence. Hercules is actually his Roman name. The Greeks called him Heracles.

He was a demigod, which means that he was half god and half-human. His father was Zeus, the king of the gods, and his mother was Alcmene, a human. 

Hercules was very strong even as a baby. When Hera Zeus’s wife came to know of her husband’s illegitimate child, she wanted to kill the baby.  She sent two large snakes into the crib. 

The snakes slit towards the bed. The Viper that was outside in front stuck out his tongue and hissed. It reared its head. That was the last thing it did because the boy shut out his hand and grabbed it by the neck.

The other snake slid quickly across the floor towards him but the child caught that one too and began to shake it violently. The nurse heard the disorder and came rushing into the nursery. Yet, it was too late for the snakes. Hercules had killed them both.

Hercules grew into a fine teenager and he was, without doubt, the strongest man on earth. One day, he met the Oracle of Delphi to get some advice. The Oracle told Hercules that he must serve king Eurystheus for ten years, and do any task the king asked of him.

Hercules obeyed and met king Eurystheus. The king was jealous of Hercules and did not like him at all. So, the king gave Hercules 

 Impossible tasks to do, hoping that Hercules would fail.

Task 1:

 

Eurystheus told Hercules has got a lion that was the cause of suffering in the land of Nemea. It was attacking not only animals but people as well. 

Hercules’s first task was to hunt and kill the Nemean lion. He traveled to Nemean. The local people showed him in the direction of the lion’s cave. When Hercules reached the cave, he hid behind a boulder and waited for the lion to come out.

He waited and waited but the lion didn’t show up. When it was evening, the lion yawned and walked out of the cave. The Nemean lion had large teeth and skin so thick that it could not be pierced by arrows.

Everyone in the land of Nemea was terrified of it. A lot of hunters had tried to kill the beast but no one had succeeded. Hercules took aim and shot an arrow. It rushed towards the lion and had it in the chest. But instead of penetrating his skin, the arrow simply bounced off.

The lion looked with concern at his brave attacker, who was this fellow, no ordinary human of curse. Seeing that Hercules was as strong and fierce as himself, he decided to retreat into his cave. 

Hercules uprooted a tree and sealed the entrance so the lion may not escape. Once he was inside the cave, he saw the gleaming green eyes of the lion waiting to attack him. The lion was strong but Hercules was stronger than the lion.

He bounced on the lion. He fought and grappled with the man-eating beast and finally defeated it, killing it with his bare hands. That’s how Hercules completed his first task.

King Eurystheus was not very happy when he saw Hercules walking into his palace wearing the lion skin. Hercules had completed his second-day work by killing the Nemean lion. So, this time he decided to give Hercules a tougher task.

Hercules was given the task to fight another terrible creature known as the Lernaean Hydra. The Hydra was a big snake, a very big one, and it had nine heads.

Task 2: 

The king knew that anyone who came near the monster’s den in the swamp would be killed by the snake’s poisonous breath. Also, if anyone tried to cut off any of its heads, two more would grow in its place.

The Hydra was indeed a fierce opponent. Even Hercules didn’t think he could fight this monster on his own. He considered the help of his nephew Iolaus. 

Hercules was very clever too. When they reached the swamp, he could sense the poisonous air inside the den. They realized the danger and did not enter the den. They lured the monster out of the swamp.

Hercules did not waste any time and he jumped into action. Hercules fought the Hydra fiercely.  Each time he chopped off one of its heads, Iolaus spurned it before another set of heads sprouted out. 

Hercules and Iolaus clubbed off the monster’s nine heads. But one head refused to die. So, Hercules crushed the head and buried it deep in the ground.

He returned to Eurystheus with the news of his victory, but the king was not satisfied because he didn’t fight Hydra on his own. So, the labor did not count. 

Task 3:

Hercules’s next task was to bring the sacred deer of Artemis which had iron feet and golden horns. It was called the Ceryneian Hind.

The Ceryneian Hind was not a monster like the Nemean lion or the Hydra. It was a noble creature, depicted with iron feet and golden horns that could outrun an arrow.

The sacred Hind belonged to Artemis goddess of wilderness. Hercules went out to hunt down and catch the golden stag of Artemis. Hercules spent almost a year wandering the forest in search of the Hind.

Finally, one night while the stag was sleeping, Hercules crept out of the sleeping animal and caught it by throwing a net over the sleeping animal. At once, Artemis appeared before Hercules.

Even though Artemis was a goddess, she feared the strength of the son of Zeus. She brought Apollo, her twin brother, along for moral support. Hercules apologized for his deeds. Then, he explained how he needed to capture the deer for completing the tasks given to him.

Artemis consulted with her brother and agreed on a compromise. Hercules was allowed to take the sacred deer to the Eurystheus alive but then, he must let it go. Hercules agreed.

He returned to the city gates with the deer. He knew that if the deer didn’t return safely, Artemis would hurt him. So, thinking fast Hercules agreed to give the king the deer under one condition that the king comes outside the city gates and get the deer himself.

The king agreed and arrived at the city gates. Just as the king was about to take the Hind, Hercules let it go and the deer sprinted back to Artemis. Eurystheus was furious.

Hercules told the king that he was not fast enough and that’s why the Hind escaped. That’s how mighty Hercules completed his third task.

Task 4: 

The fourth labor of Hercules was to bring the wild boar of Erymanthus back to the castle alive. This time Eurystheus was sure that Hercules would get killed while trying to capture the boar.

It was called Eyramantheon boar because it lived on a mountain called Eyramanthus. This pig was huge, wild, and with a bad temper and tusks growing out of its mouth. 

Every day the boar would come crashing down from his lair on the mountain attacking men and children. It was easy enough for Hercules to find the boar. 

He could hear the beast’s snorting and stomping as it rooted around for something to eat. Hercules chased the boar round and round the mountain shouting as loud as he could.

The boar frightened and out of breath hid in a thicket. Hercules poked his sear into the thicket and drove the exhausted animal into a deep patch of snow. 

He ran after the boar through the snowfield where it fell down from exhaustion. He trapped it with a net, then bound its feet and prompted it over his shoulder to carry it back to Eyramanthus.

King Euyrstheus didn’t expect Hercules to complete the labor. He was completely terrified when he saw the live boar snorting and squealing wildly. He immediately fled and hid in a half-buried bronze pithos which was like a giant storage jar. 

He demanded that Hercules get rid of the boar before he dared to step out. Hercules left the place and took the boar with him. Disgruntled, He couldn’t understand why the king would ask of bringing back the boar if he was afraid of it.

King Eurystheus was ashamed now. Everyone had seen him hiding when Hercules brought the Eyramanatheon boar into the palace. He somehow had to get rid of Hercules. Now he finally came up with the next task for Hercules.

Task 5:

It was to kill the Stymphalian birds. The Stymphalian birds were just plain nasty. The people in the area spent their days and nights hiding from these frightful birds. 

The Stymphalian birds were depicted as having pointed beaks and ripping claws as well their feathers were created from razor-sharp bronze. 

At the lake which was deep in the woods, Hercules had no idea how to drive the huge gathering of birds away. Goddess Athena appeared before him and gave him a pair of bronze Crotona.

These were noise-making clappers similar to castanets. These were no ordinary castanets. This was created by Hephaestus, the god of blacksmiths. The castanets created tremendous sounds that would scare every living thing in the vicinity.

Hercules thanked Athena and Hephaestus for their gift and started climbing a hill nearby. Once he reached the top, he began to furiously shake the rattle. The loud noise shocked the birds and they ran away from the Marsh into the open air.

Hercules began to shoot as many as he could with his poisonous arrows. When the last bird knocked down,, the people hiding inside their huts and homes hurried outside and cheered. 

Hercules retrieved the birds he had slain to bring back to King Eurystheus to prove that he had successfully completed his labor. Once again, Eurystheus was not happy. 

Task 6: 

This time Eurysthesus gave Hercules the labor of traveling to Audion and cleaning the king of Aegean stables in a single day. This didn’t seem like much of a task for an immortal hero.

Although these specific stables housed thousands of cattle, sheep, goats, and horses, the stable had not been washed up in 30 years. The Aegean king was said to have more cattle than any man in Greece. 

Hercules showed up before the king of Audion and offered to clean up his stable in one day. The king walked up to him and spoke to him confidently that if he did it, he would give over to him the 10th part of all his possessions in cattle.

Hercules didn’t say anything about how he was sent by Eurystheus or about his labors of redemption. He accepted the offer and set off to work. He took the king’s son along to watch.

First, the hero cut a big opening in the wall of the cattle yard where the stables existed. Then, he tore another opening in the wall on the opposite side of the yard. 

Hercules set to work tearing a big hole in front of the stable yards. Next, Hercules cut a hole in the back wall of the stable yards. These holes were connected to the two rivers flowing nearby.

Hercules then turned the course of the rivers into the yard. The rivers rushed through the stables flushing them out and all of the mess flowed out of the hole in the wall on the other side of the yard.

That’s how Hercules accomplished the menial work without stooping to anything unworthy of an immortal. He met the king after completing the task and asked for the promised reward.

However, the king of Audion learned that Hercules’s work had been done in the service of Eurystheus, he now refused to reward Hercules saying that if Hercules didn’t agree, he could seek a settlement at the Audion courts.

So, Hercules did just that, the judge took his seat. Hercules called the son of Aegeus to testify. The boy swore that his father agreed to give him a reward. The judge declared that Hercules would have to be paid.

The king reluctantly paid Hercules. Then, he promptly banished both his son and Hercules from his kingdom. So, the boy went to the north country to live with his aunt and Hercules headed back to Mycena.

With all of the animals who housed the stables coming home that night from the fields, they saw clean beds of hay, warm buckets of oats and freshwater running. They couldn’t have been happier.

But Eurystheus said that this labor didn’t count because Hercules was paid for having done the work. 

Task 7:

 

One-day king Minos, the ruler of Crete, prayed to the sea god Poseidon for a special bull to sacrifice to Zeus, the highest Olympian god. Poseidon granted his wish and a magnificent bull emerged from the ocean. 

King Minos was dazzled by the beauty of this amazing creature. King Minos decided not to sacrifice this bull and sacrifice another one instead. 

When Poseidon came to know about this, he punished Minos for his disobedience by making Pasiphae, the king’s wife, fall in love with this animal. As a result, Pasiphae delivered the Minotaur.

The Minotaur was a monster with the head of a bull and the body of a man. Poseidon was still made at the king, so he turned the bull mad that fire was coming out of its nostrils.

To the Minoans bulls were sacred. It was religiously forbidden to kill a bull. They tried to capture it again without harming it but they failed. The bull hid during the day. At night, it caused destruction from one end of the island to the other.

To capture the bull, master it, and bring it before Eurystheus was the 7th labor of Hercules.

Hercules arrived in Crete as instructed by Eurystheus. The beast was hiding in a forest at the far end of the island. When the bull saw Hercules, it was scared. 

It didn’t fight Hercules and bowed its head down. Hercules quickly grabbed its horn and climbed on top. So thoroughly did Hercules master the animal that he drove it back to King Eurystheus.

Eurystheus saw that Hercules had succeeded in bringing back the Cretan bull, he planned to sacrifice the beast to his benefactor, the Greek goddess Hera. 

Hera hated Hercules. she didn’t wish to receive a sacrifice because of the work of her husband’s illegitimate son and refused the offer. Eurystheus has no other option than to set the bull free.

When it was no longer under the management of Hercules, the bull became wild again and wandered in the city, destroying everything in its sight. It wandered around Greece, frightening the people and ended up in Marathon, a city near Athens.

At Marathon, the bull stopped its wandering and rather caused damage to property and people like what it had done in Crete. Later, it acquired the name Marathonian bull. 

Later, Theseus, the son of the king of Athens Egeus, set forth to capture the bull. He went to Marathon and indeed successfully caught the bull. He then went back to Athens where he sacrificed it to Athena or Apollo. Theseus of course later travel to Crete where he killed the offspring of the Cretan bull. 

Task 8:

Diomedes was the mean king of Thrace. He was a mean giant who ruled the land ruthlessly. Diomedes was the son of Mars the god of war. He was considered the great worrier. 

He owned four ferocious mares who were so wild that they had to be secured with an iron chain. They were kept in a bronze manger tied to a golden post. These terrible creatures had fire coming out of their nostrils.

They sometimes ate humans too. The evil king would feed the innocent newcomers to the island with his horses. Stealing the mares of Diomedes was the 8th task of Hercules. 

King Diomedes had a huge army of Bastognian men who were a bunch of nasty barbarians. They always kept guard of the king’s mares.

Hercules took with him his young squire Abduros whom he cared for very much. They sailed with his volunteer across the Aegean and after many days of travel, they finally reached Thrice.

Once they reached the island, off they went in the middle of the night to steal the man-eating mares. They snuck up on the horses. But before he could release them, Bastongnian men saw them and attacked them.

Diomedes woke up hearing the commotion, he was not very happy when heard that Hercules was trying to steal his favorite mares. Hercules asked Abduros to take care of the mares while he went ahead and fought Diomedes.

The king was huge but Hercules was stronger and smarter. Hercules defeated the king easily and returned to Abduros. But it was too late when the mares got hungry, they ate his favorite squire. 

When Hercules saw this, he was very sad and angry. Enraged Hercules fed Diomedes to his own mares. Once the mares were done munching on their former master, they reverted to being regular calm mares.

When the Bastongnian and soldiers saw what happened to their kings, they started running away. Hercules rode the calm mares back to Macedonia and presented them before Eurystheus.

Eurystheus ordered the horses to be taken to Olympus to be sacrificed to Zeus. But Zeus refused the sacrifice and instead he sent lions and bears to kill the wild mares.

The mares indeed had such a notorious reputation. It was said that one of the mares managed to survive and had powerful descendants. Alexander of Macedonia or Alexander the Great was believed to have ridden one of them. 

As for Hercules he greatly grieved over the loss of his friend and later founded a city in honor of Abduros naming it after him. 

Task 9:

Hippolyte was the queen of the tribe of the Amazons in Greek Mythology. She was the daughter of the god of war, Ares, who had given her a magical belt as a gift. The belt didn’t seem to be outstanding.

At first glance, the belt seemed like nothing more than any other leather belt. But this one held magical properties that were granted to Hippolyte as she wore it. It also represented the authority over her people, much in the same as that a crown signified aking’s power.

King Eurystheus wanted to present this belt to his daughter. This was the ninth labour of Hercules. 

The Amazons inhabited the region of the river Therodyne and were a race of strong women who followed the occupation of men. They were an all-female tribe of warriors who hated and distrusted men.

Hercules gathered his warrior companions into a ship and sailed through the black sea to accomplish his 9th task. They sailed for many days and Hercules kept thinking of ideas to get the belt Hippolyta.

There was no way that his small band of supporters could defeat a whole nation of dedicated warriors.

After a long journey, they have reached the land of Amazons. Hercules and the Greeks got off the boat and waited at the dock. Hippolyte was informed by her warriors that a ship had appeared on the horizon.

The amazons never had visitors to their homeland before. Both she and her people were concerned about these newcomers to their lands. When Hippolyte arrived at the dock, Hercules greeted her and asked her permission to meet her in private. 

In the candlelight, Hercules told his story. Hippolyte listened concealing her pity and feelings. She was torn because she knew what the belt symbolized to herself as well as to her people.

But she was not heartless and felt great pity, compassion, and sorrow upon hearing Hercules’s story. Finally, Hippolyte agreed to give him the belt, so he could finish his 9th task.

Hera who hated Hercules overheard this and she was not very happy. She has been trying to foil and curse Hercules at every opportunity for years. 

Hera disguised as an Amazon warrior and went up and down the army saying to each woman that the strangers who had arrived going to carry off the Queen. 

The amazons were terrified. They put on their armor and raced down the hill. They began a battle with Hercules and his crew. Hippolyte didn’t understand what had happened and tried to calm her people but they were too angry to listen.

In the great battle that ensued, Hippolyte got accidentally killed. Hercules knew that he didn’t have much time before his ship would be completely overrun.

He kissed Hippolyte lightly on the cheek and with the belt in his grasp set sail towards Mycenae. When he reached back home. He gave the belt to king Eurystheus, thus completing the 9th task.

Task 10:

Obtaining the cattle of Geryon from Eurasia was Hercules’s 10th labor. These cattle were magnificent beasts with coasts made red by the red light of the sunset.

The danger in this task though was the fact that the cattle were owned by Geryon. Geryon himself was enormous. He was depicted as having three bodies, three heads, six arms as well as six feet.

Geryon was the son of Chrysaor and Callirrhoe who was the daughter of Oceanus and Tethys, which made Geryon the grandson of the Titans. On his island, Geryon kept a herd of red cattle guarded by Cerberus’s brother, Orthus, a two-headed hound, and the fierce herdsmen Eurytion.

Hercules set off for Eurythia, encountering and promptly killing many wild beasts along the way. After a long wandering through the desert country, he came at last to a fruitful land through which great streams flowed.

Here he founded a city of vast size which he named Apollodorus, which means city of a hundred gifts. When Hercules reached the most Western point of his journey, he spilt a mountain in half and created the Strait of Gibraltar.

These mountains were later known as the Pillars of Hercules. Hercules then crossed the Libyan desert. After traveling through the desert for three days and three nights. Hercules was so hot and thirsty.

By now, he got so angry that he shot an arrow at the sun. Helios or the Sunn god was not mad at Herculesfailed attempt to kill him. Instead, Helios admired Hercules’s courage and granted him a golden cup. 

This wasn’t a cup for drinking. For you see, it was a cup that would allow the last leg of Hercules’s journey. It was a special cup that Hercules was going to sail into the island of Eurythia.

The golden pot allowed Hercules to quickly sail to Eurythia. On the island shoreline, the hero landed. Not long after he arrived, Orthus attacked Hercules. So, Hercules bashed him with his club, killing him in a single stroke.

He also killed the giant herdsmen who came to help the dog. Just as Hercules was hurrying away with the cattle, he was confronted by Geryon himself.

Hercules exhausted from his travels, took out an arrow and dipped it in the poisonous blood from the Hydra, and shot Gerron on each of his three heads, killing him instantly.

Hera, however, was not about letting the hero accomplish this labor. When Hercules reached Thrice, Hera sent a swarm of gadflies to bite the cattle. When the gadflies began biting the cattle, they got frightened and scattered all over the island.

It took Hercules a whole year to gather back all the cattle and continue his journey. Hera then caused the river Strymon to flood to make it impassable. The flood was only a minor setback.

Hercules threw rocks into the river all the way to be shallow enough for the cattle to safely cross it. Eventually, Hercules returned to the court of King Eurystheus driving the cattle of Geryon before him.

Once again Eurystheus was disappointed by the fact that Hercules had not died in the attempt of the task. Taking the cattle from the hero, Eurystheus sacrificed all of the herd to his benefactor Hera. 

Eurystheus wasted no time and he summoned Hercules to give him his next labor. 

Task 11: 

Eurystheus asked Hercules to find him three golden apples from the trees of Hesperides. As Hercules went on his journey, he met three maidens. He asked them about the way to Hesperides. They told him that he had to ask the old man of the sea.

The maidens told Hercules that when he met the old man, he would hold him tight as he could easily escape. Once he did, Hercules couldn’t be able to find him because no one knows where he live.

Hercules thanked the maidens and made his way to the seashore. There he saw the old man sleeping. He instantly jumped on him and held him tightly. Hercules asked him for the way to Hesperides.

The old man immediately tried to escape, he turned himself into a stag, then into a sea bird, and every other animal form possible to escape from Hercules. But he couldn’t.

The old man told Hercules that it was an island in the middle of the sea. He told Hercules to keep walking along the seashore until he met a giant. Then, Hercules could ask the giant to show him the way.

Hercules reached the huge and strong giant that was sleeping. Hercules woke him up but the giant was very angry and struck Hercules with the club. But Hercules was strong.

Hercules attacked the giant and threw him down. The giant attacked Hercules back and every time Hercules threw him down. Then, Hercules lifted it in the air and kept him there. This made the giant slowly lose all of its strength.

Afraid of the giant, pleaded with Hercules to put him down on the ground. Then, Hercules asked him about the way to the Hesperides. The giant told him to go and meet the Atlas.

Hercules went on his journey again. He met Atlas. He was holding the sky on his shoulders. Hercules told him that he wanted the golden apples and his labor.

Atlas told him that Hesperides was so far from there and he was the only one who could go there. Atlas told him that he could get him the apples if he could hold the sky for him. 

Hercules agreed and took the burden of the sky on his shoulders as Atlas walked away. He returned after some time with three gold apples and put them at Hercules’s feet. 

Hercules thanked him and asked him to take back the sky. Atlas told him that he held the sky for a thousand years so Hercules had to hold it for the next thousand years. 

Hercules was shocked to hear that but he calmly asked Atlas for some more help. He asked Atlas to hold the sky until he adjusted his shoulders, and then he would take it back. 

As soon as Atlas took the sky from Hercules, he picked up the three golden apples and left. Hercules made his way back to Greece and gave the apples to the king.

The king was surprised to see that Hercules succeeded but he pretended to be happy and gave him a reward. Hercules completed his 11th task. 

Task 12: 

For the final and most difficult task, king Eurystheus asked Hercules to bring him Cerberus from the underworld to prove his strength and fearlessness. To Eurystheus this seemed an impossible task. 

Cerberus was a wild beast that guarded the entrance to Hades and kept the living from entering the world of the dead. According to some legends, Cerberus was a strange mixture of creatures. 

He had three heads of wild dogs, a dragon for a tail, and heads of snakes all over its back. Hercules was not daunted. Before starting the trip to the underworld, Hercules settled that he should take some extra precautions. 

This was in any case a journey from which no mortal had ever survived. Hercules made his mind to be initiated in the Eleusinian mysteries in order to learn how to travel alive from the world of the living to the realm of the dead and vice versa. 

The ancients were confident that those who acknowledged the secrets of the mysteries would have happiness in the underworld. After the hero met a few conditions, the priests initiated Hercules into the mysteries.

Then, with the strength to meet the horrors of the underworld, Hercules traveled to the Laconian city of Tenaris which contained the opening to the underworld.

Through a deep rocky cave, Hercules made his trip down to the underworld. He faced monsters, heroes, and ghosts as he made his way through. 

The first barrier to the soul’s journey beyond the grave was the River Styx. One could cross this river only with the help of Sharon, the boatman’s ferryboat.

Sharon accepted those who were only dead and whose corps had gold coins under their tongues. Hercules met neither condition. Suddenly, goddess Hestia appeared and she helped him negotiate with Sharon. 

Sharon agreed and helped Hercules to cross the Styx. Hercules then found the entrance to the underworld. But instead of attacking Cerberus, he went straight to Hades to ask permission to take his beloved hellhound.

Hades was impressed by the respect shown by Hercules and coming to him first before going to his hound. Hades was so impressed in fact that he allowed Hercules to try his luck but only on a few occasions.

Hercules could not kill or seriously injure Cerberus. This meant no weapons could be used. He found the hound camping near the dwelling of Acheron.

Without paying any attention to the bellowing three heads which were like the echo of fearful resounding thunder, he seized the dog by the legs, put his arms around his neck, and wouldn’t let him go.

The dragon tail of the animal kept biting him on his cheek. But Hercules held the dog even stronger. Cerberus had to bow to the force of the hero. Hercules left the underworld. 

The king who thought this was a suicide mission was shocked, dismayed, and frightened when he saw Hercules with Cerberus cowering behind his throne.

He gave Hercules due credit for this final labor. Hercules then went on to return the dog to its master. Hades made an appearance in front of Eurystheus demanding to know why he would want his favorite pup as a trophy.

Eurystheus almost fainted begging Hades for forgiveness and asking that he spare him. Eurystheus revealed that he received orders for all of Hercules’s labors from Hera herself.

The tale goes that a none too happy Hades visited Hera and warned her if she ever sent Hercules on any such errand again, she would have to deal with him. 

Thus, did the labors of Hercules come to an end

Egyptian Mythology

The Ancient Egyptians believed in a variety of deities! They had gods for everything, from dangers to chores, and each had different duties and had to be worshipped for life could be kept in balance. 

The Great Myth – of Amun-Ra

When it comes to myths and legends, the most common theme in creation across cultures is the will of a creator god who separates the earth from the heavens, shapes the landscape, and creates people from clay, twigs, sweat, or even from his fleas.

In ancient Egyptian mythology, this god was Amun Ra, the divinity who brought himself into existence, and then followed the creation of every single thing in the universe.

According to the myth, Amun was the chief god throughout most of Egyptian history, the lord of the sky, and the almighty king of the Egyptian world.

He is perceived as the deity present in chaos at the creation of the cosmos, the mysterious creator god whose name meant the hidden one. 

Although Amun’s true form was said to be unknowable, he was mostly portrayed as a bearded man, as a pharaoh in the prime of life wearing a turban surrounded by two long feathers symbolic of dominance over both upper and lower Egypt.

Originally the god was painted with red-brown skin but later was shown depicted in all blue illustrating his union with the sky and appeared in a wide variety of other forms.

His origins are said to be obscure but Amun and his female counterpart were part of the group of the eight primordial deities who came to be known as Ogdoad of Hermopolis.

They were listed among the divine protectors of the kings mentioned in the pyramid texts representing the invisible power. As early as the middle kingdom, Amun has been linked to another deity to become the embodiment of males’ strength and sexual power.

From there forth, he earned epithets followed by theories rising around his birth and how he populated the world. Through the name Amun Min, he gained the nickname meaning the bull of his mother.

A figure that came from the notion that since he was the first god formed, he couldn’t have had a father and had to impregnate his mother. Amun Ra was the mysterious originator of all life and was known as the one who made himself into millions.

In the temple of Thebes, he was given a partner in the form of a royal priestess known as the god’s wife. One of her duties seems to have been to physically arouse the gods so that he would continue the ongoing work of creation by generating life.

Like the ram god ban of Judah, Amun was said to be mystically united with the queen of Egypt to sire the heir to the throne. This legend of royal birth was depicted in several Theben temples.

For instance, in the temple of Queen Hatshepsut, there is a relief of her mother being impregnated by the god. 

In the new kingdom, the cult of Amun was over time combined with those of other deities particularly that of the sun god Ra. 

Becoming Amun Ra, he was worshipped as the king of the gods and the creator of the world and its inhabitants, earning the name Nebuchad, the lord without limit. 

Another hymn tells that Amun Ra was a whole of three gods above everything in reality. Amun was the hidden one, the entity that cannot be known. Ra was set to be the visible form of the creator, especially through his features. 

However, he also had a secret name, the knowledge which could bring great power to whoever gets his hands on it. He is the god regarded as concealed but still widely spread throughout the cosmos.

Unlike the other important deities, Amun didn’t seem to have been thought of as living in some distant celestial realm. He was everywhere unseen but felt like the wind.

Based on some accounts, Amun was worshipped outside Egypt as well, primarily in Libya and Nubia where he is chiefly symbolized by a curly horned ram or as a ram-headed sphinx.

The lord of the thrones ruled as a divine pharaoh and was considered the father of each Egyptian king. Being a member of the Ogdoad, he was also shown with a snake’s head. The form in which he was revered at Thebes. 

The Egyptian deity Amun was drawn as a manifestation of the ancient sun god of Heliopolis, which effectively raised his prestige and earned him the title of the king f the gods. 

He was also worshipped at the great temple complex of Karnak and Thebes as the hidden god, becoming the local patron of that area, the paternal figure in a Theben triad of deities alongside his new consort, the goddess Maat and their son, the youthful moon god Khonsu.

In the temple of Amenhotep III at Luxor, the great hall of hypostyle is filled with wall paintings of Amun and the pharaoh which contains several processions honoring the god and allowing the Amun priesthood to turn into a powerful force in Egypt. 

But unfortunately, the pharaoh Amenhotep IV truly disliked the cult devoted to Amun and brought forth the worship of Aten, leading eventually to conflicts of beliefs between them. 

The story relates how the fanatical Pharaoh tried to establish the disk of the midday sun as the only god, both literally and symbolically. He deserted the old capital of Thebes where the god Amun Ra was worshipped and built a new city in honor of the solar disk.

He also named his son Tutankhamun, which means the living image of Aten. But with the abandonment of the pharaoh’s city and new reforms, the boy took the name from which history now knows him, the Pharoah Tutankhamun.

Amun Ra became revered as a transcendental self-created deity who maintained his secrecy and became the life force within everything in existence, including gods. 

He was considered to be unfathomable by any other being, mortal or divine. The Egyptians honored him as a supreme benefactor of mankind who bestowed the individual blessing of life and received praise from the powerful and helpless one alike.

The god Amun retained chief importance in the Egyptian pantheon throughout the new kingdom, except for the atheist Hersey under the Pharoah Amenhotep IV.

A question that is left unanswered is that is to know who genuinely the creator god between Amun and Ra. Despite being worshipped in different eras, perhaps these two entities emerged together since they are much more alike or they are just the same deity with different names.

This mystery would probably be left unknown, certainly because there is knowledge that can’t be revealed. Therefore, remaining forever secrets. 

Conclusion

Myths are the source of inspiration for humans throughout time. People used the majority of these tales to reintroduce the morals to the ages. These stories record the observations of the people who established them. This article introduces tales from different countries around the world. It introduced Indian tales, Irish tales, Greek tales as well as Chinese tales. 

Our planet Earth is full of wonders and marvels. From nature and marine life in the oceans and rivers, mountains and waterfalls to the complicated yet miraculous structure of the human body. If we look around, or inside, we will always be in awe of the stunning arrangement of the system we live in.

The great set-up in which our planet Earth operates did not come into existence overnight. Previously on Learningmole.com, we have understood how the Solar System formed 4.5 billion years ago. Everything that we have now started as small as a speck of dust then evolved.

Today, we are going to look into one of these marvels of our planet which is so indispensable for life. Well, what I want to say is that we will not actually be here without it. Today, we are learning about the atmosphere of Earth.

What is the atmosphere?

Earth’s atmosphere is known as the thick layer of gases that wrap our planet. We may also call it air. Such a layer extends from the surface of Earth to 10,000 km above. That is the distance from Cairo, Egypt in Northern Africa to Cape Town in South Africa! That is an enormous distance!

It is interesting to mention here that although we say that the atmosphere’s height is 10,000 km above sea level, actually there is no dividing line between the last level of the atmosphere and the beginning of outer space. They only just merge into one another.

The atmosphere is as heavy as 5.5 quadrillion tons! That is a really big mass! And it is puzzling as well. We can imagine air as something light, very light actually it is almost weightless! But it is not. In fact, such a very heavy weight is literally above our heads and 66.6% of it is found at a height of 11 km from Earth’s surface.

But how does the atmosphere stay in place and wrap Earth? Why does it not escape to space? Well, it is Earth’s gravity that pulls the atmosphere down. This pulling action creates a force on Earth’s surface known as the atmospheric pressure.

Why is the atmosphere incredibly important?

We literally cannot live without the atmosphere. Not only because we need oxygen to breathe, but also because the atmosphere is responsible for so many essential aspects of life. 

For example, the atmospheric pressure turns water vapor into liquid water. Such a process is called condensation. With liquid water, life on Earth is possible. That is the first reason why the atmosphere is very important to us.

Secondly, the atmosphere prevents the heat coming from the Sun from escaping back to space. This happens as the surface of Earth absorbs sunlight and radiates heat. But carbon dioxide absorbs such heat and traps it in the atmosphere. This warms the surface of Earth and makes it suitable for us to live on it. This is known as the greenhouse effect.

When the heat is locked in the atmosphere, it also keeps the night less cold which allows life on Earth. If there were no atmosphere at all, Earth would be so hot during the day and so cold during night that no living being would be able to survive.

The atmosphere also protects us from meteors. Meteors are small objects of rocks or metal that hit the Earth from outer space. They are a lot smaller than asteroids. Actually, they can be as small as a grain or as big as one meter-wide. When such meteors hit Earth, the atmosphere burns them before reaching the surface and causing any harm. When they burn, they create a ball of fire that we know as a shooting star.

📌 Yearly, an automobile size asteroid hits Earth but the atmosphere burns it before reaching the surface.

The atmosphere is also important because it protects us from the Sun’s harmful waves. These waves are called ultraviolet radiation. If anyone gets exposed to it, it will damage their skin cells and may also give them cancer. Luckily, we have the atmosphere to protect us.

In addition, the atmosphere has oxygen which we need to breathe and carbon dioxide which plants need to generate oxygen for us. That is why the atmosphere is very important for life on Earth.

Earth’s atmosphere is composed of 78% nitrogen (N), 20.95% oxygen (O2), 0.93% argon (Ar), 0.04% carbon dioxide (CO2), and little amounts of different other gases.

📌 All planets have an atmosphere, except Mercury.

Then how did the atmosphere form?

Well, let’s get a little back in time, 4.5 billion years back to be precise.

Earth’s atmosphere started once Earth settled as a big ball of rocks. Scientists believe that our atmosphere has passed by different stages to be what it is today. So let’s explore these stages one by one, from the very beginning to the present moment.

Earliest atmosphere

The very first stage of the formation of Earth’s atmosphere started 4.5 billion years ago. The atmosphere was mostly hydrogen (H) at the time with little amounts of water vapor, ammonia (NH3), and methane (CH4).

The second atmosphere

Around 3.5 billion years ago on Earth, there was an extremely intense series of volcanic eruptions that swept gases from the interior of Earth and released them into the atmosphere. 

Simultaneously, Earth was bombarded by asteroids, rocks, and particles left over from the formation of the Solar System. These rocks failed to form planets on their own so they started hitting Earth. Such an event is known as the Late Heavy Bombardment and is believed to have lasted for about 700 million years.

These two events changed the then hydrogen-rich atmosphere significantly. The new atmosphere consisted of nitrogen (N), carbon dioxide (CO2), methane (CH4), and other gases. Nitrogen made up the major part of the atmosphere.

Third atmosphere

While Earth was dealing with the crazy volcanoes we mentioned earlier around 3.5 billion years ago, the very first form of life on Earth appeared. It was a microorganism known as anaerobic bacteria. It lived in the ocean and did not require oxygen to survive. Well, this makes sense because the atmosphere had no oxygen in the first place.

Over hundreds of millions of years, some bacteria evolved until they obtained the ability to produce energy using photosynthesis, just like plants. This bacteria is called Cyanobacteria and is now found everywhere on Earth.

Cyanobacteria started absorbing carbon dioxide (CO2) from the atmosphere. With the help of water and sunlight, it could produce sugars to use for energy and released oxygen (O2) as a waste product.

This oxygen was then released into the ocean. But the anaerobic bacteria (remember them from above?) were allergic to oxygen. And with all this newly produced oxygen, the ocean was full of toxins for the poor anaerobic bacteria which killed them all.

Scientists called this event the first mass extinction in history. It is also called The Great Oxygenation event or The Oxygen Catastrophe. This is one time when oxygen played the bad guy.

Anyways, oxygen (O2) also oxidized the materials in the ocean, notably iron. So, when the ocean was full of oxygen, it started to be released into the atmosphere and accumulated. It also reacted with methane (CH4) to form carbon dioxide (CO2). As Cyanobacteria reproduced fast, it absorbed a great amount of carbon dioxide from the air and released more and more oxygen.

With Cyanobacteria absorbing carbon dioxide (CO2) from the air and oxygen (O2) reacting with methane (CH4), the amounts of these two greenhouse gases decreased significantly. Consequently, there was nothing to keep Earth warm so the temperature went down so much that Earth became very cold. Many believe that this was the beginning of the first ice age.

Though, oxygen remained active. About 600 million years ago, and as oxygen (O2) accumulated in the air, it started to absorb the ultraviolet radiation coming from the Sun. This caused the oxygen molecule (O2) to split into two atoms (O and O). Such single atoms then combined with oxygen molecules (O2) to form ozone (O3).

Ozone (O3) piled up and formed a band that shielded the entire Earth. This shield absorbed all the ultraviolet radiation and prevented it from reaching Earth’s surface. Such an act enabled life to be possible on the surface of Earth and not just exclusive to the oceans.

Since then, the levels of oxygen (O2) in the atmosphere varied until they reached a steady percentage of more than 15%, then reached its peak of 30% around 280 million year ago. Scientists do not know why oxygen levels fluctuated. But it finally reached a steady level at 21% of the atmosphere.

So now we understand how our atmosphere came to be 78% nitrogen, 20.95% oxygen, and 0.04% carbon dioxide.

Layers of the atmosphere

We mentioned before that the atmosphere extends from the surface of Earth to 10,000 km up. Despite this great distance, the atmosphere is nowhere near bulky! In fact, the atmosphere is composed of five different layers. Each layer has a different length and many many different features. Let’s explore them one by one.

(1) Troposphere

The troposphere is the first layer of the atmosphere. It extends from the surface of Earth to several kilometers up in the sky. This thickness changes based on where you are. For instance, if you are at the north or south poles, the troposphere will extend to only 6 km. But if you are at the equator, the troposphere is 18 km thick. So the average thickness of the troposphere is 13 km, from the surface of Earth up. The troposphere contains 75% of the mass of the whole atmosphere as well.

Because it starts from the surface of Earth, the troposphere contains the greatest amount of water vapor. This is because water vapor stems from oceans, seas, lakes, rivers, as well as plants. Water vapor then creates clouds which in turn drive rain and snow. That is why the weather phenomena happen in the troposphere.

The troposphere is also known for having air turbulence. The hot surface of Earth heats the air above it. But the warmer air is more buoyant than the cool air so it floats higher pushing the cool air down toward the surface. The hot surface then heats the cool air which goes up letting the air which is now cooler go down. This air movement is called turbulence.

📌 In fact, the troposphere is called troposphere because the word ‘tropo’ means rotation in Greek. It refers to the rotation of air, turbulence, which occurs in this layer.

When it comes to temperature, we find it changes just like the thickness of the troposphere. At the equator, the temperature ranges from 20°C on the surface to −75°C at the end of the troposphere. At the poles, the temperature starts from 0°C to −45°C at the end of the layer. The poles are icy, you know!

So the higher we go, the lower the temperature gets. But at some point, the temperature ceases to decrease with height. This is exactly where the troposphere ends and where the tropopause starts.

The tropopause is the boundary between the troposphere and the second layer of the atmosphere, the stratosphere. In this pause layer, air temperature does the exact opposite. It increases the higher we go (we will know why in a bit). That means the warmer air is above the cooler air. That is why the tropopause is called the inversion layer.

(2) Stratosphere

The stratosphere is the second layer of the atmosphere after the troposphere. It starts from the end of the tropopause and extends for 35 km higher. Temperature in this layer ranges from −51°C to −3°C at the end of this layer.

Wait! −51°C is colder than −15°C! That means the temperature at the beginning of the layer is colder than the end. That also means the higher we go, the warmer it gets, just like the tropopause! So why does this happen? Why does the temperature increase with height?

Well, this is due to the ozone layer, the guardian angel that protects Earth from the dangerous ultraviolet radiation coming from the Sun.

Do you remember how ozone forms? Yes, that happens when an oxygen atom (O) combines with an oxygen molecule (O2). Scientists have found that ozone is better at absorbing ultraviolet radiation. And this absorption heats up the stratosphere.

As the temperature rises the higher we go, this creates different layers of temperature along the stratosphere. That is why it was called stratosphere because strato means layer.

Because these layers have ascending temperatures, warmer air is always above the cooler air and this is exactly where they should be. So air is stable where it is; it does not move. As a result, there is no turbulence in the stratosphere.

📌 Because there is no turbulence, airplanes like to fly in this region of the atmosphere. Since there is not much air resistance, planes can fly faster and burn less fuel.

What is interesting is that some birds such as rüppell’s vulture and bar-headed geese can fly as high as in the stratosphere!

And just like the tropopause, there is the stratopause at the end of the stratosphere. It acts like a border between this layer and the next one, the mesosphere. The stratopause stretches for about 5 km.

(3) Mesosphere

Now with the third layer of the atmosphere: the mesosphere. This layer extends from the stratopause at a height of 50 km from surface level to around 80-85 km above. That means the mesosphere is around 35 km thick.

Since the mesosphere is the third layer, it is the middle one. That is why it is called meso because meso is a Greek word that means middle.

Leaving the ozone layer behind, the temperature goes back to its first behavior. It decreases with altitude. The mesosphere has an average temperature of −85 °C. At the end of the mesosphere, there is the mesopause which marks the end of this layer and the beginning of the layer after.

The mesopause extends for 15 km; from 85 km from sea level to 100 km. It is the coldest region on the planet since its temperature is −143°C. And because it is very high in the sky, sometimes it is referred to as near space.

The mesosphere is where meteors burn, resulting in meteor showers or shooting stars. When meteors and small asteroids enter the mesosphere, they collide with the air. This collision is called friction which generates fire (just like when you grind two rocks against each other fast to get fire).

So the mesosphere protects us from dangerous bodies coming from space.

Given that it is so high in the sky, planes cannot fly in the mesosphere. Satellites are not located there as well because they orbit Earth at a much higher level. And even though scientists can send rockets, they can only study the mesosphere for a few minutes.

As a result, we do not know much about the mesosphere. Unfortunately. That is why the mesosphere got its nickname: ignorosphere!

(4) Thermosphere

Thermosphere is the fourth layer of the atmosphere. It starts from the mesopause and extends for a thickness of 513 km. That is by far the thickest layer we have studied so far. It is called thermo which refers to heat.

Like the stratosphere, the thermosphere absorbs the Sun’s highly energetic radiation which creates heat within the layer. Sometimes, the temperature can reach 2000°C and even more. The temperature also increases with higher altitudes.

The International Space Station (ISS) resides in this region and orbits Earth. This station is a cooperative project between five different countries in which scientists stay in orbit and study space.

Space shuttles and satellites also orbit Earth from the thermosphere. Space shuttles are rockets that can be used multiple times to travel to and from space. They are used to deliver astronauts to the International Space Station. They can also stay in orbit for some time so scientists can study different features of space.

One of the most successful and popular space shuttles is Discovery, developed by NASA, which stayed in work for 27 years from 1984 until it retired in 2011.

Wait!

If the temperature of the thermosphere can get to as high as 2000°C, why then did the International Space Station, nor space shuttles and satellites not melt?

That is a good question! To answer it, we need to learn how heat is transferred.

For liquids and gases, heat is transferred by a process called convection. Any gas has atoms or molecules and they are free to move because the distances between them are large. When we heat a gas, the molecules take the heat energy and they start to move faster.

As molecules go crazy from here to there, they collide with other molecules and give them some of this energy. And there you go, heat is transferred.

When distances between atoms or molecules increase so much, we call the gas less dense or thin. And the air in the thermosphere is very thin.

Keeping this in mind, let’s get back to the thermosphere and look into what happens in it:

  1. Molecules absorb the ultraviolet radiation and get so energetic.
  2. The temperature of the molecules rises so much, sometimes it reaches 2000°C.
  3. Molecules move around so fast trying to collide with other molecules to give them energy but they find no one because other molecules are so far-distant.
  4. Eventually, heat stays inside the molecules and is never transferred.

In fact, if we go to the thermosphere, we would feel cold rather than hot! That is why astronauts at the International Space Station never melt.

(4.1) Ionosphere

As the ozone layer is within the stratosphere, the ionosphere is a layer within parts of the mesosphere and it takes the entire layer of thermosphere as well as some parts of the exosphere (the fifth and last layer of the atmosphere).

The ionosphere extends for a distance of 917 kilometers! It is called ionosphere because it is ionized. To understand what ‘ionized’ means, we need to go back to the very first chemistry lesson: atoms and molecules.

An atom is the smallest particle there is. A molecule is made of two or more atoms connected together. An atom has a nucleus, protons, electrons, and neutrons. Protons and neutrons are inside the nucleus while electrons orbit the nucleus.

Protons have a positive charge but neutrons, you guessed it, are neutral. It means they have no electric charges. Meanwhile, electrons have a negative charge. And they spin around the nucleus in an orbit, just like Earth orbits the Sun.

Each atom is neutral because it has an equal number of protons (+) and electrons (-). These two opposite charges cancel each other so the atom stays neutral. 

When the number of electrons and protons is unequal, the atom is called an ion. Ions are electrically charged. If the number of electrons is higher than the number of protons, ions are negatively charged and vice versa. They are positively charged if the protons are more than the electrons.

Back to our topic..

We have mentioned in the thermosphere that gases in this layer absorb the ultraviolet waves from the Sun. This tremendous energy pushes an electron or two out of their 

atom which turns it into a positive ion. These free electrons collide with other atoms and make them negative ions.

This ionization process makes the oxygen and nitrogen molecules in the thermosphere produce free electrons and light. Oxygen gives out green and red light. Nitrogen glows blue and purple. This light can be seen from Earth and we know it as aurora.

If you live anywhere in Norway, Sweden, Alaska, or Canada, you will be able to see auroras.

📌 Since the ionization process is activated by the highly energetic radiation from the Sun, the thickness of the ionosphere changes dramatically during the day and at night.

(5) Exosphere

The exosphere is the outermost layer of the atmosphere and the largest in distance as well. It extends from the thermopause, which marks the end of the thermosphere, for 9300 km! 

In this part of the atmosphere, the air is so thin. This means that there are great distances between gas molecules so they do not collide with each other. The gases in this layer are mostly hydrogen and helium.

The exosphere is hence the perfect home for satellites because they can orbit Earth without any problems of friction or disruption since the air is very thin.

Weather

We cannot mention the atmosphere without discussing the weather. Weather is a very distinctive feature of Earth’s atmosphere and it dramatically affects how we live on this planet as well as the development of humanity in general.

When we think of weather, we know we are referring to how hot or cold a day is and whether or not it is rainy or windy. Well, this is pretty correct. Weather is caused by changes in the air temperature, air pressure, and how much water vapor is in there. That is why most weather phenomena happen within the troposphere.

Why does weather happen?

To understand how changes in the air temperature, pressure, and amount of water vapor determine the weather events we are familiar with, let’s study the lifecycle of water vapor.

Humidity

We can define humidity as how much water vapor there is in the air. Heat from the Sun causes water from rivers, lakes, oceans, seas, and even dew on leaves to evaporate. Water then turns into its gas state and becomes vapor. When we feel it is too humid, this is because there is so much water vapor in the air.

Clouds

We have learned before that in the troposphere, the higher we go, the colder it gets. So when water vapor goes high in the air where it is cooler, it starts to condense on teeny-tiny particles such as dust, salt crystals, and ash, which act as surfaces to the water vapor.

So water vapor condenses and goes back to its liquid state, water. Well, it actually forms water droplets. Water droplets then accumulate and form a cloud. Sometimes, if it is too cold (temperature is usually 0°C or lower), water droplets turn into ice crystals and form an ice cloud.

So if clouds are pure liquid water or ice in the form of droplets, why do they not fall down from the clouds? How can clouds float in the air?

Well that is a good question. Let’s know how this happens.

Everything on the surface of the planet as well as the atmosphere that extends for 10,000 km above is pulled down by Earth’s gravity. And for an object to fall down, it must also have a mass. The heavier an object is, the faster it falls back to Earth. And vice versa. That is why a rock reaches the ground so fast but a balloon takes longer.

Those water or ice droplets in the clouds are so tiny. Their weight is so small that Earth’s gravity does not affect them. And because the air is dense, it pushes them up so they float in the clouds. As a result, they do not fall back to Earth.

Clouds grow at different altitudes from Earth’s surface. Based on where they are in the atmosphere, they can be classified in three different categories. Low-level Clouds form at ground level to almost 2 km up. Mid-level Clouds start at a height of 2 km and have a range of 5 km (to 7 km up). High-level Clouds start at altitudes of 5 km up to 12-13 km.

Fog

When clouds form at or near ground level, they are called fog. Usually fog forms at a height lower than 15 m. When it is higher than that, it is a cloud.

Precipitation

When water droplets in a cloud get so large and heavy that the air cannot carry them anymore, they get subjected to Earth’s gravitational pull and they fall back down to the surface of Earth. This falling water is called precipitation.

Precipitation includes different types, some of which are very familiar to us and others may sound a little bizarre:

  1. Drizzle
  2. Rain
  3. Sleet
  4. Snow
  5. Graupel
  6. Hail

Each one of those takes specific conditions to form. So let’s discuss them one by one.

Drizzle vs. Rain vs. Sleet

Precipitation includes different types which depend on either the size of the water droplets or the conditions at which they form. If the water droplets falling from the clouds have a diameter of less than 0.5 mm, they are called drizzles.

If the droplet’s size is 0.5 mm or bigger, it is called rain. Rain can be light, moderate, or heavy based on its intensity. When sunlight passes through rain droplets, light is scattered to its seven colors which we collectively call the rainbow.

If the temperature where the cloud is located is 0°C or lower, droplets of drizzle or rain turn into ice as they fall. These icy balls are usually less than 0.76 cm in diameter and we call them sleet.

Snowflakes

Sometimes during the formation process of clouds and when the temperature gets very low, usually below 0°C, water vapor condenses directly to ice crystals without going through its liquid form. These ice crystals accumulate to form an ice cloud.

Then, ice crystals absorb more water vapor and freeze it. The result of this is the formation of more crystals onto one another. These crystals are called snow clusters or aggregates which then fall to the ground forming the familiar white snow blanket.

While ice crystals are fairly clear, these resultant snow clusters are white. This is because the snow clusters reflect light in all directions until it goes out of it. The reflected light includes all colors which together look white.

Typically, as the ice crystals aggregate to form clusters, they would cluster in 6-armed symmetrical or almost symmetrical hexagon shapes. These perfect shapes have confused scientists for years. Finally, we understood that they are mainly influenced by the chemistry of water.

Water (H2O) consists of two atoms of hydrogen (H) and one atom of oxygen (O2). Usually oxygen has a negative charge and the hydrogen atom has a positive charge. This is called a water molecule. When water becomes ice, these water molecules start to attract each other and stick together.

The negative charge of oxygen attracts the positive charge of hydrogen and they result in a beautiful hexagon shape. This is called a hydrogen bond.

When ice crystals absorb water vapor which freezes onto them, these crystals take the shape of the hydrogen bond in ice. That is why snowflakes have a hexagon shape.

We mentioned that snowflakes form in ice clouds. Every cloud is subject to different conditions of temperature and humidity. The difference between such conditions controls the shape of each snowflake. It is even said that every snowflake is unique, that no two snowflakes are alike.

Sometimes the conditions are so severe that they diminish the hexagon shape altogether and make snowflakes completely irregular.

When snowflakes become heavy, they fall to the ground.

Graupel vs. Hail

Sometimes, clouds get so cold, around −40°C, but water droplets in them stay in their liquid state. In this case, they are called supercooled water droplets. When snowflakes fall through one of these supercooled clouds, the supercooled water droplets stick to the surface of the snowflake and then freezes.

These frozen water droplets then accumulate on top of the snowflake until the beautiful hexagon shape of the snowflake is no longer identified. These frozen droplets are called graupel. Graupel is usually 2–5 mm in diameter.

And these supercooled clouds are called cumulus clouds.

Thunderstorms, which we will discuss in a bit, cause air to move up, pushing graupel so it does not fall to ground. So more water droplets from the supercooled clouds stick to and freeze onto the graupel causing it to grow. When the graupel gets so heavy that the air cannot hold it anymore, it falls down to the surface and is then called hail.

Thunderstorms

Clouds form in different types, shapes, and colors that are determined based on the conditions at which they form. One of them is the very common cloud type we are all familiar with. It looks puffy, fluffy, and cotton-like. These clouds are called cumulus clouds.

Cumulus clouds create a different, bigger, and taller type of cloud called cumulonimbus. Such clouds accumulate upward and they look like towers of clouds. That is why they are called the kings of clouds.

Cumulonimbus clouds form at a height of 200 to 4,000 m and they grow upward to a maximum of 12 km from the surface of Earth. Some of these clouds were even found to grow to an altitude of 21 km! That means these towering clouds exceed the troposphere itself and even grow in the stratosphere. How gigantic! 

The temperature of the cumulonimbus clouds is usually way below 0°C and can sometimes reach −30°C. Due to such low temperatures, they have ice crystals.

Wind causes these ice crystals to move up and down fast so they collide with each other. Remember the ionization process? These collisions cause electrons to be knocked off their molecules to make them positively charged. Then free electrons collide with other ice crystals and make them negatively charged.

Moving air causes the positive charges to go to the top of the cloud and the negative ones go to its bottom. It also acts as a barrier between them so they do not attract each other.

As the ionization process continues, the negative charges at the bottom of the cloud grow magnificently. Right at this moment, they get so strong that they overcome the air barrier. So they start to attract the positive charges whether those within the cloud itself or the positive charges of the ground.

These two opposite charges move toward each other. Once they touch, the negative charges from the cloud begin to move quickly towards positive ones and a sudden flash of light bursts into the air caused by this discharge of electricity. This light is actually a very strong electric current and we know it as lightning.

The tremendous amount of negative charges is called a stepped leader because it is the one that leads the whole lightning process.

Lightning bolts are also tremendously hot, reaching a temperature of 27,760°C! That is five times hotter than the surface of the Sun!

This immense heat causes the air to expand quickly. When the expanding air moves, it makes a sonic shock sound which we know as thunder.

Thunderstorms are usually accompanied by extreme rainfall, sleet, and hail.

Wind

We might define wind as the movement of air, and this is fairly correct. But how does the air move in the first place? Well, just like something as gigantic as thunderstorms was initiated by tiny water droplets, wind is existent because of air pressure.

We have understood that air is made of different gases. We have nitrogen (N), oxygen (O2), aragorn (Ar1), and little amounts of carbon dioxide (CO2), water vapor and other gases.

The molecules of these gases have weight. Since all molecules are pulled down by Earth’s gravity, their weight presses on the air or surface below them. When the number of molecules increases, this pressing force increases in return. So the pressure increases.

And vice versa, the fewer the molecules, the lower air pressure gets.

Temperature affects air pressure. Heat causes gas particles to move faster and away from one another so their number in a given area decreases and makes the pressure low. Also altitudes change air pressure. The higher we go, the fewer the air molecules. So pressure is low. 

When there are two places with high and low pressures, air would always try to equalize itself. So the air molecules of high pressure move towards the lower pressure areas to balance the pressure out. This movement is the wind.

The bigger the difference in air pressure between different places, the faster the wind blows.

Wildfires

Forest fire flame composition destructive fire that destroys trees and entire forests vector illustration

Wildfires are an extreme weather event in which fire burns plants, kills animals, pollutes the air, causes people to leave their homes, and sometimes even kills them.

Scientists could track back wildfires to 420 million years ago. They started after plants appeared on Earth. In this section, we are going to discuss how wildfires occur, how they change the atmosphere, and whether or not they have any good sides.

Wildfires happen randomly and unexpectedly. They can start from a small dwarfing spark of a leftover cigarette or by a lightning strike. Wildfires are usually initiated with the presence of three main components: heat or flame, fuel, and oxygen. And all three of these are available in the forest. 

High temperature evaporates water and makes plants, trees, grass, bush, and everything in the forest dry. Fire cannot happen if the plant has water. So dry plants are a perfect fuel for the fire. Secondly, oxygen and we already have plenty of it in the atmosphere. So what is missing? Well, we need a spark to start a fire.

The majority of wildfires are ignited by, unfortunately, people. The carelessness of people to be fair. The spark or flame which starts wildfires could be something as trivial as a cigarette leftover or when someone forgets to put out the fire they lit as they were camping in the woods.

So the tiny spark fires the poor dry plant which then reacts with oxygen in the air. As a result, fire is magnified and gases and smoke are released.

Naturally-caused wildfires

Nature itself can also cause wildfires. They occur by the extreme heat coming from the Sun, lightning strikes, volcanoes, and the wind as well.

Heat? Can heat by itself start a fire? Yes. Yes, it can. Here is how.

Every substance has a temperature called autoignition temperature. When this temperature is reached, a substance can react with oxygen (O2) and burn spontaneously without an external source of flame or spark.

Lightning strikes can also initiate wildfires because they generate very strong electric current. But if the lightning is accompanied by rain, wildfires fail to start because the rain puts out any fires. 

Volcanoes can also start wildfires using their lava. Lava is burning rocks that spread over long distances. It is extremely hot, reaching, sometimes, a temperature of 1200°C. When they reach dry grass land for instance, their tremendous heat can start a fire.

The wind also has a hand in spreading wildfires over long distances. Since it provides the fire with a bigger supply of oxygen, the wind helps the wildfire magnify and pushes it to different places. The stronger the wind blows, the faster the wildfire spreads.

📌 If the air is very humid, wildfires are less likely to happen because the water in plants will not allow the fire to happen.

But are wildfires any good?

Since wildfires started to happen ever since plants appeared on Earth, the environment, by some means, could survive through them. In other words, wildfires in and of themselves are a part of nature.

But how could nature evolve with the presence of wildfires given the destruction they leave behind? Well, that is a good question. Let’s break the answer down.

Fire clears the forest from the dead organisms that can badly affect other living organisms. When plants die or rot, they fall on the ground and build up a shield that prevents organisms in the soil from accessing their food which they get from outside such as the atmosphere. This shield also prevents small plants from growing.

So the fire burns this dead shield and gives the soil an open window to the atmosphere so it can breathe. Also when these dead plants burn, they turn into ash which is usually full of nutrients for the soil. So the soil quickly absorbs the ash to become healthy and fresh.

A healthy soil is a fertile soil. Farmers need fertile soil to grow vegetables and fruit which we need to have a healthy diet.

Another good side of wildfires is that they help some plants and insects to grow. I know this sounds strange but here is how.

When the holiday season is approaching, people start to buy or cut down trees to decorate as Christmas trees. Well, there are different types of Christmas trees, one of them is called pine trees (pineapples come from the same family by the way).

In order for new pine trees to grow, their seeds must go into the soil. But unfortunately, the seeds are stuck inside thick and stiff pitch cones and only fire can melt the pitch and allow the seed to come out.

Another benefit of wildfire is gained by a type of butterfly called karner blue (it is blue) which requires fire to come to existence. A baby butterfly is usually called a carter pillar and it has to go through a process called metamorphosis in order to grow into an adult butterfly. Yet, its food is a plant called wild lupine which does not flourish without fire.

But still, wildfires are detrimental

Despite the benefits wildfires bring to some species, they are still dangerous because they burn large areas of plants and vegetation and kill animals that live in these forests. Not only plants and animals are affected but the atmosphere and therefore us as well.

As fire burns forests, it releases large amounts of smoke, carbon dioxide (CO2), and nitrogen oxides (NO). Smoke causes air pollution in the area of wildfire as well as very distant areas because it travels so far. Smoke causes health problems to people.

Carbon dioxide (CO2) is a greenhouse gas which traps the heat inside Earth’s atmosphere and prevents it from escaping to space. This, as we will see in the next section, puts our planet in danger.

Effects of human activity on the atmosphere

As we discussed earlier, the atmosphere has been evolving since the formation of Earth. It responded to the changes our planet was subjected to until it made our life on Earth possible. But, did we return the favor? Well, not quite.

In order to understand how human activity affects the atmosphere and puts our beloved planet in danger, we need to hop into a time machine and go back to 18th-century Britain.

In the mid-18th century, Britain started using machines in factories rather than people. Machines enabled the production of incredibly large amounts of products such as textiles. For the machines to work, they needed power and their power was fossil fuels.

What are fossil fuels?

Well, when animals and plants die and get buried, their bodies decompose into smaller and smaller pieces. These pieces are then mixed with the soil and with the heat from inside Earth; they turn into fuel over time. Well, I mean over millions and millions of years. And they are called fossil fuels.

When fossil fuels burn, they give out energy so humans started to use them as an energy source for the machines.

As time went by and as more technological changes were introduced to societies, the usage, and then burning, of fossil fuels increased dramatically. And now we depend on them to provide the essential needs for life. For example, we burn fossil fuels to have electricity, heat homes, and run cars and factories.

The most common types of fossil fuels are coal, natural gas, and oil. When these fuels burn, they mainly release carbon dioxide (CO2), nitrogen oxides (NO), and methane (CH4). These gases changed the planet dramatically. They caused air pollution and global warming which may one day be responsible for the drowning of our cities. 

Besides burning fossil fuels, humans also burn waste in order to get rid of it. Fire releases smoke and chemicals that pollute the air and cause serious health problems. And let’s not forget sprays, paints, and perfumes that harm the atmosphere and magnify air pollution.

Air pollution

The gases from burning fossil fuels, smoke, and the chemicals released to the air all change the composition of the air we breathe, resulting in air pollution which causes serious health problems to humans, animals, and plants.

For example, nitrogen oxides (NO) create smog. Smog looks exactly like fog. Although fog is made of tiny water droplets and caused completely by nature, smog on the other hand is human-made fog containing harmful gases. It is called smog because it is part smoke and part fog.

On the one hand, nitrogen oxides are helpful in creating the ozone gas which we are now familiar with. Though ozone blocks the Sun’s harmful ultraviolet radiation, it is helpful only when it is in the stratosphere layer, up there. But when ozone is in the troposphere, we can breathe it.

Inhaled ozone can cause many health problems especially for kids and old people as well as those who have asthma because it causes shortness of breath, chest pain and coughing.

Global warming

Carbon dioxide (CO2) and methane (CH4) which are released from burning fossil fuels are greenhouse gases. That means they lock the heat coming from the Sun in the atmosphere, precisely in the troposphere, and prevent it from going back to space.

The more greenhouse gases there are in the atmosphere, the more heat is trapped inside. This increasing heat is one of such threats that endanger our planet and we know it as global warming.

Global warming increases the temperature which makes summers longer and winters shorter. This high temperature also causes wildfires to happen more frequently which in turn release large amounts of smoke and harmful gases as discussed above.

Another serious consequence of high temperature is that it causes water to evaporate at a higher rate. More water vapor means more and more clouds. Then, we have more heavy rains which cause floods, kill plants, damage the soil and make it unsuitable for growing plants anymore. Floods also damage people’s homes and drown them.

On the other hand, evaporation also causes drought. It sucks the water from plants making them dry, evaporating all water from Earth’s surface, making it water unavailable for the animals who live there. Animals hence leave those areas and look for other places where water is available. Sometimes during this relocation process, animals may die and disappear from Earth altogether. They go extinct.

However, the most serious outcome of the rising temperature is causing the ice in the north and south poles to melt. The resulting water then moves towards oceans and seas increasing their water level. When the water levels increase beyond certain points, it can flood our cities.

Increasing the levels of carbon dioxide (CO2) in the atmosphere is not just serious for humans, but also for fish. When oceans absorb carbon dioxide (CO2) from the atmosphere, it makes it hard for the corals to form their homes, the reef, and may cause the existing ones to dissolve in the ocean.

This also makes food for fish less available which affects their life cycle. And since millions of people depend on fish in their diet, they will be badly affected as well.

So what can we do?

Global warming imposes serious threats on our planet and we have to take action in order to minimize them and help make our planet a safer place for us and for the upcoming generations. Here are some actions which we can take every day to help save our planet.

Save energy

Since energy from fossil fuels is used to generate electricity to run our home appliances, we can help burn less fuel when we save power. Here are some steps to do that.

  1. Switching off lights when not in use.
  2. Reducing the temperature of the heating or cooling systems.
  3. Choosing energy efficient appliances.
  4. Using LED light bulbs.
  5. Pulling the plugs.
  6. Carpooling: instead of having five individuals in five cars, we can have five individuals in one car. Thus power consumption is reduced to 20%. Bingo!
  7. Walking and cycling: they are even healthier and more fun

Throw less food

When we throw food away and it goes rotten, it produces methane which is a greenhouse gas that intensifies global warming. We can minimize food waste by buying the exact amounts of food we eat and not more than that.

Buying less food also saves energy. This is because a lot of energy is used to grow, process, package, and ship the food to distant places.

Recycling

When we recycle, then we do not need to buy a lot of stuff. This in turn reduces their production and hence less fuel is burned.

Many of the devices we cannot live without anymore such as mobile phones and laptops emit carbon (C) during their manufacturing process. This carbon reacts with oxygen (O2) to produce carbon dioxide (CO2). This causes an increase in the global warming level. 

When we use these devices efficiently, unplug them when not in use, and get them repaired instead of buying new ones, we are helping save our planet.

Save water

Water requires a huge amount of energy to clean, purify, pump, and heat. So when we use less water, in turn we use less energy. 

Conclusion

Our atmosphere is one of the millions of miracles we are surrounded by. It is one thing that has started life on Earth, making me write this article to you now and making you able to read it. It has formed, changed, evolved, and transformed to be the way it is now, just like we grow from clumsy toddlers to full-grown and independent adults. 

In this long journey in our earthly atmosphere, we demonstrated how important it is and dived into the history of its formation and evolution which started 4.5 billion years ago. In this section, we have learned that the atmosphere has passed by three main stages: earliest, second, and third atmospheres which created the structure it has now.

Then we studied this structure in detail and looked into each of the five layers starting from the troposphere where we breathe and live and experience weather, the stratosphere where our guardian angel, the ozone layer, resides, the mesosphere which burns meteors, the thermosphere where the International Space Station, space shuttles, and satellites are, and finally the exosphere which extends so far up until it dissolves in outer space. 

Through this journey of the layers of the atmosphere, we introduced many different concepts such as how heat is transferred, what an atom is and what its components are, how ions form in the ionosphere, and how they create the beautiful aurora light as well.

Then we moved to study weather closely and learned how a small process such as the evaporation of water is responsible for a great deal of weather conditions such as humidity, cloud formation, rain and snow falls, and thunderstorms. And we also learned how lightning and thunder occur. 

Next, we discussed how the wind forms and where it comes from as well as wildfires, how dangerous they are, and what part humans have in starting them. 

Lastly, we moved to how we, humans, have caused the atmosphere to suffer by burning fossil fuels to run machines and how this expanded as technology developed. Burning fossil fuels creates air pollution and global warming which threaten our life. At the very end, we finished with some small actions which when carried on by every one of us, we can help preserve our beloved atmosphere and our planet as well.

So when you take a deep breath, or see a puffy fluffy cloud in the blue sky or extend your hand to feel the drizzles, remember that you are a part of this great, extremely accurate, complex, and beautiful system and that we need to preserve it in order to continue living happily and healthily, and allow our planet to continue evolving.

Clouds are an interesting topic for kids. Kids always look at the sky and think of clouds. What are they? What do they look like? What are clouds made of? How are clouds formed? Are there types of clouds? What are those types? Do they have names? How do they affect the weather?

Actually, clouds are associated with many exciting facts. Small droplets of water that gather together are called clouds. Clouds have different types. Each type has special characteristics. They look different and have different shapes.

Clouds affect the weather as well. If we look at the clouds in the sky, we can predict if it is a warm sunny day or there is a storm coming. The colour of clouds also has significance. There are 3 levels of clouds: high clouds, middle clouds, and low-level clouds.

What is the definition of Clouds?

A cloud is a white or grey bunch of fine drops of water or ice high in the earth’s atmosphere. Sometimes clouds look white and puffy. Sometimes they are dark and cover the whole sky. Different types of clouds represent different weather conditions. 

How are Clouds formed?

The air always contains water vapor. The amount of water vapor that air can hold is according to the air’s temperature. When air cools, some of the water vapor condenses or forms visible water droplets. The droplets gather around tiny particles in the air. When billions of these droplets come together they turn into a visible cloud.

White Clouds vs Grey Clouds

Clouds are white since they reflect light from the sun. When clouds are so filled with water that they don’t reflect light anymore. In this condition, they are grey clouds.  Also, when there are many other clouds around, their shadow add to the grey or multi-colored grey appearance.

What are the Types of Clouds?

Clouds are often characterized by the level or elevation where they form. There are high, middle, and low-level clouds. Scientists combine cloud characteristics and levels to categorize the ten main cloud types as follows:

  • High cloud: cirrus, cirrocumulus, cirrostratus
  • Middle cloud: altostratus, altocumulus, nimbostratus
  • Low cloud: stratus, stratocumulus
  • Vertical: cumulus, cumulonimbus

High Clouds

Cirrus Clouds

Cirrus clouds are the most common of the high clouds. They are above 18,000 feet. They are thin clouds formed of ice crystals that are made very high in the sky. They are considered the highest clouds and the temperature at such a height is about 36 degrees. 

Cirrus clouds are usually white and refer to nice weather. When you see cirrus clouds, it usually indicates that a change in the weather will happen within 24 hours. Where these clouds are made, the wind blows between 100 and 150 miles per hour.

Cirrus Clouds

Cirrocumulus Clouds

Cirrocumulus clouds are high clouds that are similar to tiny cotton balls bunched together. They look like small, rounded white puffs that come in long rows. Cirrocumulus clouds usually appear in the winter and represent fair, but cold weather. In tropical regions, they may indicate a coming hurricane.

Cirrostratus Clouds

They are thin, sheet-like high clouds that often cover the entire sky like a veil, making it appear overcast. These clouds signal that it may rain in the next day or so. They are so thin that the sun and moon can be seen through them. These clouds are most commonly seen in winter. 

Middle Clouds

Altostratus Clouds

Altostratus clouds are grey or blue-grey mid-level clouds. They are made of ice crystals and water droplets. They are composed in the middle of the sky, between 6,500 and 20,000 feet high. If there are altostratus clouds, the sun is not very visible. Generally, they are a symbol of continuous rain or snow.

Altocumulus Clouds

Altocumulus clouds are mid-level clouds that are composed of water droplets and look like grey, puffy masses. They are lower than cirrus clouds, but still generally high. They are composed of liquid water, but they don’t often cause rain. If you see altocumulus clouds on a warm, sticky morning, they usually shape in groups.

Nimbostratus Clouds

Nimbostratus clouds are dark, grey clouds that appear to fade into falling rain or snow. They are so thick that they often stop the sunlight. They often make precipitation that is usually light to moderate. They can float as low as 2,000 meters above the ground, which is pretty low for a cloud.

Low Clouds

Stratus Clouds

Stratus clouds often look like slim, white sheets covering the entire sky. Since they are so slim, they rarely cause much rain or snow. Sometimes, in the mountains or hills, these clouds look like fog. Light mist or drizzle sometimes drops out of these clouds. 

Stratocumulus Clouds

Stratocumulus clouds are patchy grey or white clouds that often appear like a dark honeycomb. They can be seen between 2,000-6,500 feet above the Earth’s surface. Most of these clouds form in rows with blue sky appearing in between them. Rain seldom happens with stratocumulus clouds. However, they can change into nimbostratus clouds.

Vertical Clouds

Cumulus Clouds

Cumulus clouds appear as fluffy, white cotton balls in the sky. They are beautiful in sunsets, and their different sizes and shapes can make them fun to see. These clouds usually form if the weather is nice and it will be a nice day to play outside. These clouds grow upward and they can turn into huge cumulonimbus clouds, which are thunderstorm clouds. 

Cumulonimbus Clouds

Cumulonimbus clouds form on hot days if warm, wet air rises very high into the sky. They are huge, tall clouds that are dark on the bottom. From far away, they appear as huge mountains or towers. They are connected to heavy rain, snow, hail, lightning and even tornadoes. 

Most clouds can be divided into 3 groups: high clouds, middle clouds, and low clouds. This is according to the height of the cloud’s base above the Earth’s surface. Other clouds are grouped according to their unique characteristics like forming alongside mountains (Lenticular clouds) or forming beneath existing clouds (Mammatus clouds).

Lenticular Clouds

They are lens-shaped orographic wave clouds that are made when the air is stable and winds blow across hills and mountains from the same or similar direction at varying heights through the troposphere. They are curved layers, such as flying saucers.

If stable moist air rises over a mountain or a range of mountains, a series of large-scale standing waves can be composed on the downwind side. Lenticular clouds are sometimes composed at the crests of these waves. On the ground, they can cause very strong gusty winds in one place, while air is only a few hundred meters away.

Kelvin-Helmholtz Clouds

They appear as breaking waves in the ocean. After the wind blows up and over a barrier, such as a mountain, the air continues flowing through the atmosphere in a wavelike pattern. These clouds are generally seen near sunrise or sunset. They also appear if the bottom of the clouds is cooler and the air above is warmer.

Complex evaporation and condensation patterns produce the capped tops and cloudless troughs of the waves. These clouds are composed if there is a variance in the wind speed or direction between two wind currents in the atmosphere.

Mammatus clouds

Mammatus clouds are low hanging bulges that fall from cumulonimbus clouds. Mammatus clouds are usually connected to severe weather. They produce very strong storms.  These clouds are usually composed during warm months and are formed by descending air in the cloud. They are sometimes described as appearing as a field of tennis balls or melons.

Contrail Clouds

Contrail clouds are a trail of condensed vapor produced when a Jet aircraft flies at high altitudes. The mixture of hot exhaust gases from the engines with cold outside air produces ice crystals to form on particles in the exhaust.

A contrail evaporates quickly if the relative humidity of the surrounding air is low. When the humidity is high, a contrail may stay seen as cirrus-like clouds for many hours.

Cloud Activities

Let’s check some activities for kids to see clouds:

In this activity, kids see clouds form if they breathe on spoons. When warm, moist breath touches the cool spoon, water vapor condenses and changes into a cloud–or water you can see.

Types of Clouds activity – Describe and give examples of the four types of clouds – cirrus, cumulus, stratus and nimbus. you need crayons and cotton balls to make each one!

Conclusion

A cloud is a huge collection of very small droplets of water or ice crystals. The droplets are so tiny and not heavy that they can float in the air. Clouds are often described according to the level or elevation where they form. They are categorized as high, middle, and low-level clouds. They have an important role in controlling Earth’s climate. 

Hurricane

Kids usually get curious about hurricanes. They usually have many questions about them. What are hurricanes? How do they form? What are the most famous hurricanes? Where can hurricanes be found? What is the biggest hurricane?

Many articles and videos introduce really useful information about hurricanes for kids. One of the most interesting ways for kids to be taught about hurricanes is through activities. When they make projects about hurricanes, they understand them better.

A hurricane is a kind of a giant storm that results in heavy rainfalls. There are some reasons why hurricanes form. Some changes happen during hurricanes. Hurricanes have damaging effects. In this article, we introduce almost all the information about hurricanes.

What is a Hurricane?

A hurricane is a huge rotating storm with strong winds at speeds of 75 to 200 mph that forms over warm waters in tropical areas. They usually form in the sea. The word hurricane goes back to “Huracan,” the name of a Mayan god. It is the god of big winds and evil spirits.

Hurricane season starts from the beginning of June till the end of November. Mid-September is considered the peak of the hurricane season. Coastal zones are most prone to the dangers of hurricanes. In addition to this, each hurricane lasts for over a week.

Hurricanes have different names according to their locations. In North America and the Caribbean, hurricanes are called hurricanes. In the Indian Ocean, hurricanes are given the name cyclones. They are given the name typhoons in Southeast Asia. 

How do Hurricanes form?

Hurricanes form over the warm ocean water of the tropics when the warm moist air over water starts to rise. The moist warm water is replaced by cooler water which in return starts to rise. This cycle results in huge storm clouds that start to rotate. These huge storm clouds, along with wind speeds, form a hurricane.

What are the Parts of Hurricanes?

There are five parts of hurricanes:

  • Eye: it is at the center of the hurricane. It is an area of descending air. There are not usually any clouds in the eye and the wind there is calm. However, the most dangerous part of the storm is at the edge of the eye which is called the eyewall.
  •  Eyewall: it is around the outside of the eye. It is a wall formed of very heavy clouds. This is considered the most fatal part of the hurricane and where the highest speed winds are. The winds at the eyewall can get to speeds of 155 miles per hour. 
  • Rainbands: hurricanes contain large spiral bands of rain called rainbands. These bands can throw down huge amounts of rainfall causing flooding when the hurricane crashes land. 
  • Diameter: hurricanes can turn into huge storms. The diameter of the hurricane is calculated from one side to the other. Hurricanes can measure a diameter of over 600 miles. 
  • Height: the storm clouds that give hurricanes power can become very tall. A powerful hurricane can go up to nine miles into the atmosphere.

What are the Stages of Hurricane?

A hurricane has 6 stages as follows:

  • Disturbance Formation
  • Tropical Disturbance
  • Tropical Depression
  • Tropical Storm
  • Hurricane
  • Dissipation

Disturbance Formation

The first stage of a hurricane starts with disturbance formation. Hurricanes are made of a mixture of many factors. A hurricane starts to form due to the evaporation that happens over tropical ocean waters. 

Once it starts to evaporate, a cloud of warm air begins to shape, heating the air around it and forming even more densely packed clouds as air rushes in. As the air still heats up, a large mass of warm rain clouds is formed over the ocean.

Tropical Disturbance

In the second stage, the tropical disturbance is made of loosely packed rain clouds creating thunderstorms. The wind circulation is light, with minimal chances to cause any amount of damage. If this storm system can maintain its structure for more than 24 hours, it is considered a tropical disturbance.

Tropical Depression

A tropical disturbance will change to a tropical depression when it has wind speeds of anywhere between 23 mph to 38 mph. Once winds turn to be more organized, they start to circulate in the center of the storm. 

A tropical depression will start to form into a more significant storm. However, at this stage, it doesn’t have the power to move on to the next step and it still lacks the true form.

Tropical Storm

Before the hurricane formation, a tropical storm is formed first as the tropical depression grows increasingly stronger. The wind speeds at this stage jump from 39 mph to around 73 mph. 

Tropical storms are similar to smaller forms of hurricanes and aren’t as threatening. But a tropical cyclone is nothing to pass over, though. Tropical storms can still result in heavy rains that can cause severe flooding wherever they make landfall.

Hurricanes

If the tropical storm is forming at wind speeds that go up to at least 74 mph, it is clearly a hurricane. It takes the real final form of a hurricane as its eye forms completely.

Hurricanes are categorized according to their wind speeds. They include:

  • Category 1 Hurricane: Wind speed ranges from 74 miles per hour to 95 miles per hour.
  • Category 2 Hurricane: Wind speed ranges from  96 miles per hour to 110 miles per hour.
  • Category 3 Hurricane: Wind speed ranges from 111 miles per hour to 129 miles per hour.
  • Category 4 Hurricane: Wind speed ranges from 130 miles per hour to 156 miles per hour.
  • Category 5 Hurricane: Wind speed ranges from over 157 miles per hour.

Dissipation

As hurricanes continue to flow over warm tropical waters, they’ll continue to gather power and speed. Once they make landfall, they stop gathering power because they no longer have warm water to depend on to power themselves. 

So during landfall, they turn to be less and less organized as wind speeds fall dramatically. Finally, the hurricane will start to be divided into thunderstorms, before breaking down completely. While the hurricane floats over land, its high-speed winds and heavy rains result in massive damage, probably levelling entire towns in the process.

What are the types of Cyclones?

A cyclone represents a weather system marked by circling winds around a low-pressure center. The wind direction around the center is counterclockwise in the Northern Hemisphere, while in the Southern Hemisphere the wind direction is clockwise.

Coming in a large variety of sizes and settings, cyclones cause some of the most dramatic and complete violent weather on the planet, including the tropical cyclones known as hurricanes and typhoons. The science behind cyclones helps you realize where and why this weather phenomenon exists.

Tropical Cyclone

A tropical cyclone is defined by The National Weather Service as “a rotating system of clouds and thunderstorms that originated over tropical or sub-tropical areas.”

The significant tropical-cyclone basins include the North Atlantic (including the Caribbean), North Indian Ocean, Southwest Indian Ocean, Eastern Pacific, Western Pacific, Southern Pacific and Australian region. 

Exactly tropical cyclones grow within 5 and 30 degrees of latitude, as they need ocean waters of around 80 degrees Fahrenheit to form. Winds funnel into a low-pressure disturbance, evaporating warm surface waters and unleashing energy as rising air condenses into clouds.

Hurricanes, Cyclone, Typhoons and Tornadoes

The terminology connected to tropical cyclones can be confusing because people call these violent storms by different names in different parts of the world. In the North Atlantic, the Caribbean, and the northeastern Pacific too, people call them “hurricanes”.

In the Northwest Pacific, “a typhoon”  is the most active tropical-cyclone basin in the world. While in the Indian Ocean and South Pacific, people call them “tropical cyclones” or “cyclones”. Tornadoes are called “cyclones,” yet they’re completely different storms.

Mesocyclones: Tornado Factories

Supercell thunderstorms are the name given to especially strong thunderstorms that display circling updrafts called mesocyclones. Rotating “wall clouds” may fall from mesocyclones and ultimately form a funnel cloud. 

If a funnel cloud touches the ground, it turns into a tornado. The United States underwent approximately 1,700 mesocyclones in a year, with about 50 percent of these turning into tornadoes.

Midlatitude or Extratropical Cyclones

Hurricanes and typhoons may be popular to laypeople, but the cyclonic storms that grow along frontal boundaries in the middle latitudes are just as significant.

These cyclones, which grow where sharp temperature gradients exist between adjoining air masses, can be much larger than hurricanes, though their winds are generally weaker. A remarkable example of a midlatitude cyclone is the “nor’easter” that often affects the U.S. East Coast, particularly in winter.

Polar Lows, aka “Arctic Hurricanes”

Hurricanes frequently form over Arctic and Antarctic seas, sparked by freezing air moving over somewhat warmer ocean waters. In the Northern Hemisphere, scientists sometimes call polar lows “Arctic hurricanes,” because both their power source as well as their circling cloud bands are somewhat similar to a tropical cyclone. Polar lows often form quickly, sometimes in less than 24 hours, and it is not easy to forecast.

How Do Scientists Forecast Hurricanes?

Scientists can guess when hurricanes may happen depending on the complicated tools available. However, it is not guaranteed that the timing is accurate. Hurricane predictions can be divided into two categories: seasonal probabilities and the track of a current hurricane.

Scientists can’t give exact dates and times for hurricanes. However, they calculate the wind speed and the past occurrences of hurricanes to forecast possible hurricanes to form. 

Scientists can track the path of a hurricane once it is formed using a lot of models. They can also forecast the intensity of the hurricane which is very important to give people chances to prepare for the hurricane. However, forecasting isn’t accurate enough.

Hurricanes in History

Hurricane Harvey

Hurricane Harvey was classified as a Category 4 storm that hit Texas on August 25, 2017. Harvey hit three times in six days and its peak was on September 1, 2017. The storm passed through the Caribbean and Mexico.

Harvey was classified as the strongest hurricane to hit Texas since Hurricane Carla in 1961. The hurricane was violent with maximum sustained winds of at least 130 mph. Let’s have a look at the damage caused by Harvey:

  • Two feet of rain dropped in the first 24 hours.
  • 39,000 people were forced out of their homes and into shelters because of flooding.
  • It resulted in damaging 204,000 homes.
  • Right after the storm, at least 3,900 homes were still without power.
  • 19 water systems were down as a result of the flood.
  •  75 of the 275 schools of Houston Independent School District were closed due to flood damage.
  • one million vehicles were ruined in the Gulf area.
  • It caused 25 per cent of oil and gas production to shut down in the region.
  • U.S. average gas prices rose to $2.49 a gallon after the hurricane.
  • Between 25 and 30 per cent of Harris County was flooded.
  • Damage from Harvey was about $125 billion.
  • The storm caused 100 people in Texas alone to death.
  • Harvey is rated as the second-most costly hurricane to hit the U.S. since 1990.

Hurricane Dorian

Hurricane Dorian was a tropical cyclone that occurred in 2019. It is considered a category 5 storm. It was one of the most violent Atlantic hurricanes to make landfall. Winds reached  220 mph and storm surges reached 23 feet. Let’s check the damages caused by hurricane Dorian:

  • More than 2 million people along the coasts of Florida, Georgia, and North and South Carolina have to leave their homes. 
  • Dorian resulted in about $3.4 billion in damage.
  • 74 people lost their lives and 245 people were still missing a year later.
  • It resulted in flooding and mass destruction on the northwest islands of Abaco and Grand Bahama.
  • 29,500 people don’t have homes or jobs.
  • The Grand Bahama International Airport, as an example for the damage of the infrastructure, was affected. 

Hurricane Florence

Hurricane Florence hit near Wrightsville Beach, North Carolina, on September. 14, 2018. The wind reached 90+ mph winds. It was a violent and long-lived hurricane. The following are some damages caused by Florence:

  • More than 40 people, including many children, lost their lives across three Southeastern states.
  • Nearly 2 million people had to leave their homes.
  • Thousands of people were left without power.
  • It was the ninth most destructive storm for property damage in U.S. history.
  • 15 people were killed because of flooding.
  • Florence caused house fires, electrocutions and traffic accidents.
  • Florence caused damage that was estimated at $24 billion.
  • North Carolina had the largest portion of the damage, with an estimated $22 billion in damage.
  • In South Carolina, the estimated damage was $2 billion and $200 million in Virginia.
  •  In Georgia, the damage reached $30 million.
  • The rainfall exceeded 20 inches in some regions.
  • Florence was the reason for damaging thousands of structures, like toxic animal waste containment sites. This resulted in bacteria and hazardous chemicals being sent into the water.

Hurricane Andrew

Hurricane Andrew is considered a category 5 hurricane. It affected the Bahamas and the United States of America on the 16th of August, 1992. The highest sustained winds reached 175 mph. Here are some of the damages caused by Andrew:

  • The damage caused by Andrew was estimated at $27.3 billion.
  • 65 people were killed because of the hurricane.
  • About 1.4 a million people were left without power
  • The U.S. State of Florida, in Dade County, had the largest loss of life.
  • In Florida, 25% of trees were pulled down by the storm.
  • The storm was the reason behind the killing of 182 million fish in the basin.
  • In Louisiana, the hurricane pulled down 80% of the trees.
  • In Louisiana, the storm killed 9.4 million fish.
  • In Louisiana, about 6,200 people moved to 36 shelters.

Hurricane Camille

Hurricane Camille was a category 5 hurricane that hit the Mississippi Gulf Coast region on the 17th and 18th of August 1969. The average sustained winds reached 210 mph. It is classified as the 2nd most intense hurricane to strike the continental US. Let’s check some of the damages caused by Camille:

  • 143 people were killed along with Alabama, Mississippi, and Louisiana.
  • 113 additional people were killed due to flash floods and landslides.
  •  5,662 homes were ruined and 13,915 homes experienced huge damage.
  • The total cost of damage was estimated at US$1.42 billion.
  • A huge number of cattle, deer, fish, and alligators drowned because of flooding.

Hurricane Irma

It is classified as category 5 that hit Florida on Sept. 10, 2017. The highest sustained wind reached 180 mph. It was the most violent hurricane to strike the United States since Hurricane Katrina in 2005. Let’s check some of the damages caused by the hurricane:

  • The total loss was estimated at $77.16 billion. 
  • At least 134 people were killed because of the hurricane.
  • Coastal areas were evacuated, with around 6 million Florida residents.
  • In Florida, more than 7.5 million homes became without electricity.
  • In Carolina, 100,000 homes were left without power and five died because of storm-related issues.
  • In Cuba, about 150,000 homes were ruined.

Hurricane Katrina

Hurricane Katrina was the most violent hurricane to hit the United States in August 2005. Katrina where Florida, Louisiana, Alabama and Mississippi were the most affected states by the hurricane. It is classified as a category 5 hurricane. Let’s have a look at some of the damages caused by Katrina:

  • At least 1800 people were killed because of Hurricane Katrina.
  • 80% of the city of New Orleans flooded to a maximum depth of 20 feet.
  • Around three million people were left without power because of the storm.
  • The total damage was estimated at $125 billion in 2005.
  • 40% of all the deaths in Louisiana were because of drowning.
  • Between 300,000 to 350,000 vehicles were also damaged, as well as 2,400 ships and vessels.

Hurricane Mathew

It is classified as a category 5 hurricane. Mathew hit Haiti Cube on October 4, 2016, in the evening. The highest sustained wind reached 160 mph. Let’s check some of the damages caused by Mathew:

  • 546 deaths were estimated because of the hurricane.
  • The total loss was estimated at $10 billion.
  • Matthew was the most awful disaster to hit Haiti since the 2010 earthquake.
  • The most general effects of the storm in the U.S were flooding and power outages.
  • In Haiti, damage was estimated at just over $1 billion.

Hurricane Michael

It is classified as a category 4 hurricane. It hit near Mexico Beach on Oct. 10, 2018. The wind speed was 160 mph. Scientists stated that, in recorded history,  Hurricane Michael was the first category 4 storm to make landfall in the northeast Gulf Coast. Let’s check some of the damages caused by Michael:

  • 35 people were killed because of the hurricane.
  • Initial property damage was estimated at $4.5 billion.
  • Florida’s forestland damage was estimated at $3 billion.
  • About 375,000 people were evacuated from their homes.
  • In Cuba, about 70% of the offshore went without power. 
  • Most of the city’s TV and radio stations stopped working because of the hurricane.

Hurricane Ophelia

It was one of the strongest Atlantic tropical cyclones. It hit Ireland in October 2017. It is classified as a category 3 storm. It is ranked as the tenth consecutive hurricane in the Atlantic Ocean. Let’s check some of the damages caused by Ophelia:

  • The estimated damage caused by the storm was more than $70 million USD.
  • More than 385,000 homes went without power.
  • The country was shut down for 2 days.
  • Three people in Ireland were killed because of the hurricane.
  • 43% of the people In Dublin said their property was damaged.

Hurricane Tomas

Hurricane Tomas began to hit the Caribbean islands on Friday October 29, 2010. The highest sustained winds reached 100 mph. 10 countries in the region were affected by the hurricane. Let’s check some of the damages caused by Tomas:

  • 15 people were killed on the island because of the hurricane.
  • Roads and infrastructure were destroyed.
  • Bridges and roads were completely damaged.
  • The estimate of the total loss was about $652 million.

What is the Difference between a Hurricane and a Tornado?

Both hurricanes and Tornadoes are natural phenomena. They are fatal and cause a lot of damage. They cause strong sustained winds. Let’s have a look at some of the differences between hurricanes and tornadoes:

HurricanesTornadoes
It occurs in the warm water tropicsIt occurs on land
It can be up to hundreds of miles wideIt is usually less than a quarter-mile wide
The highest sustained winds can reach 100 mphThe wind can reach 300 mph
Around 10 tropical storms can occur in a year in the Atlantic OceanFrom 800 to 1000 tornadoes in a year in the U.S.A
It can be predicted several days aheadIt can be predicted 15:30 minutes ahead
The greatest damages are caused by floodsThe greatest damages are caused by winds
It is huge but slowIt is not predictable but fast
It occurs in warm areasIt occurs anywhere
Diameter ranges from 60 to 1300 milesDiameter is about 100 meters

Some Safety Precautions during Hurricanes

  • Explain to the kids what’s expected during hurricanes.
  • Get ready with the emergency bag that includes flashlight, blanket, medical aid, and any other personal stuff.
  • Plan for the evacuation process.
  • Practice the evacuation plan.
  • In case no evacuation is needed, stay indoors.
  • Buy all the necessary outdoor objects.
  • Buy enough food and water.
  • Stay away from windows.
  • Move to a shelter if needed.
  • Be careful of flooding that can occur after hurricanes.
  • Don’t drive in flooding water.
  • Don’t drink tap water unless it is officially allowed.
  • Always be updated with the weather reports.
  • Cover any glass area and windows with boards.

Some Hurricane Survival Stories

  • Story of Carol Park: The story goes back to September of 1961 in the Gulf of Mexico when Carol was only 10. She witnessed Hurricane Carla which is a category 5 hurricane. She was playing outdoors and her family didn’t take any precautions. There were heavy rains and violent winds. She still remembers the mixed feeling of fear and excitement.
  • Story of RJ Cywinski: He was 11 years old. His family had to evacuate their home. They left for a shelter with their pets. They found a lot of people there as well. He felt terrified while they were driving to the shelter as if the storm was following them.
  • Story of Bill: Bill witnessed hurricane Sandy in November 2012 in New York. He and his family were under the impression that they got ready for the hurricane. They prepared the emergency bag and all the needed supplies. However, the hurricane was much stronger than expected. Trees bent down and the power went down as well. Roads were blocked by the falling trees so there was nowhere to go. They had to stay at home away from the windows until the hurricane passed. 
  • Story of Christina: She witnessed 3 major hurricanes in the area of Virginia in 2003, 2011, and 2018. During the first hurricane, power went off for 13 days. They didn’t have access to gas or ice. During the 2nd hurricane again power went off for 7 days. The wind was terrifying. The third experience, power went off for 5 days. Some roads were blocked.

Interesting Projects for Kids to Make a Hurricane

It is exciting for kids to design a project that represents hurricane formation. Here are two projects that kids can do by themselves.

Project One

Supplies needed:

  • A bowl of water
  • Water
  • Food colouring

Steps:

  1. Bring a bowl of water
  2. Spin the water
  3. Pour water into the bowel
  4. Add food coloring
  5. Now watch the bands spin-out from the center then lose energy

Project Two

Supplies needed:

  • A bottle of water
  • Hair conditioner
  • Glitter

Steps:

  1. Get a bottle of water
  2. Add hair conditioner to the water bottle
  3. Add the glitter
  4. Spin the bottle
  5. Now you can watch the hurricane

List of Books About Hurricanes for Kids

  • Jumbie God’s Revenge by Tracey Baptiste
  • Carrie and the Great Storm by Jessica Gunderson & illustrated by Matt Forsyth
  • The Magic School Bus Inside A Hurricane by Joanna Cole & illustrated by Bruce Degen
  • Skylark and Wallcreeper by Anne O’Brien Carelli
  • I Survived Hurricane Katrina, 2005
  • Hurricane Heroes in Texas 
  • Let’s Read and Find Out scientific series
  • Hurricane Lesson Resources and Activities
  • The Magic School Bus
  • Hurricanes! (New Edition) Written & illustrated by Gail Gibbons
  • Miss Twiggley’s Tree Written & illustrated by Dorothea Warren Fox
  • Storm Runners
  • Hurricane Child
  • Scout Storm Dog

Conclusion

To recap, hurricanes are considered natural disasters. They are divided into categories depending on how violent they are. There are 6 stages for hurricanes. They cause mass destruction. There are a lot of hurricanes that hit many countries. 

As well, many writers wrote books only about hurricanes for kids and adults too. There are many activities and projects for hurricanes that kids can do. A lot of people spoke and even wrote about their experiences during hurricanes and how they survived.

thunderstorms

Most kids love watching heavy rain. Sometimes there is lightning accompanying the heavy rain. They inquire what the thunderstorm is and how it forms. It is all related to the water cycle and the weather conditions.

There are signs to predict a thunderstorm. One of these signs is the dark appearance of the sky. Thunderstorms have some features too. One of these features is lightning. They occur almost everywhere around the world. 

Thunderstorms do not last for a long time. However, they are dangerous. People have to prepare if a thunderstorm is predicted especially in the regions where thunderstorms are violent. There are various ways to stay safe during a thunderstorm.

What is a Thunderstorm?

A thunderstorm is a storm that involves thunder and lightning. It is sometimes called an electric storm. It usually occurs between May and September in the Northern Hemisphere. In the Southern Hemisphere, it occurs between November and March. 

A thunderstorm occurs in almost every zone of the world. It’s made by a cumulonimbus cloud. It usually causes gusty winds, heavy rain and sometimes hail. It is considered ‘severe’ when it contains ¾- 1-inch hail, winds of 58 mph or higher, or even a tornado.

How Do Thunderstorms Form?

Moisture, unstable air and lift are the components of any thunderstorm. Cumulonimbus clouds are formed due to the moisture in the air. These clouds are heavy, dark, and full of rain. 

Warm, humid, unstable air quickly rises, making the clouds develop bigger and higher. The unstable air is left and rises even higher. If the three components are mixed, then there is a thunderstorm.

The Three Stages of a Thunderstorm

The life cycle of a thunderstorm occurs in three stages. The three stages are as follows: the cumulus stage, the mature cumulus stage, and the dissipating stage. Each stage has its features. Let’s check the characteristics of each one.

The cumulus stage

During the day, the sun makes the surface of the Earth warm. As a result, heated air rises upward which is called updraft. The more the sun heats the Earth’s surface, the warmer the air becomes. Since hot air is lighter than cool air, it rises.

In the existence of wet air, heated air condenses, causing a cumulus cloud to form. The non-stopping expansion of clouds will be supported as long as warm air beneath the clouds continues to rise.

Mature stage

This is a serious stage. As the cumulus cloud grows in size, its water becomes more visible and heavier. The rising air becomes too strong, and raindrops starts to fall through the cloud. 

As the rain starts to fall through into the clouds, cool, dry air starts to creep the cloud. This is called the downdraft phenomenon. The phenomenon develops if warm air is lighter than cool air, resulting in the cool air falling into the cloud. 

The downdraft pulls heavy water downwards, causing rain. This atmosphere produces a cumulonimbus cloud because of the updraft, downdraft, and rain. The cumulonimbus turns into a thunderstorm cell.

Dissipating stage

It is the final stage. Thunderstorms generally disappear after 30 minutes. Whenever downdrafts dominate the cloud’s updraft, the updraft disappears. The warm moist air can’t rise anymore.

Since the warm moist air can no longer rise because of this downdraft dominance, cloud droplets will stop forming. The storm will disappear when the cloud evaporates from top to bottom.

Thunderstorm Analysis

There are three types of thunderstorms, categorized by their structure. These types are as follows: single-cell thunderstorm, multi-cell thunderstorm and supercell thunderstorm. 

Single-cell thunderstorm

Single-cell storms are thunderstorms created by just one convection cell in the atmosphere. Most of these thunderstorms are small, lasting for about an hour. They are also called ordinary thunderstorms.

These storms are often created during the summer season and include towering cumulonimbus clouds that can develop 12 kilometres high in the atmosphere. Rain and lightning are popular. Sometimes hail drops.

Multi-cell Thunderstorms

Some thunderstorms are composed of many convection cells moving as a single unit. They are called multi-cell thunderstorms. Often the convection cells are organized as a cluster, with each cell at a different stage of the thunderstorm cycle. 

A squall line is often formed by multi-cell thunderstorms if they are along a cold or warm front. The squall line can reach up to 600 miles (1000 km) long. Strong wind gusts often blow just before the storm.

Where Do Thunderstorms Occur Most Often?

  • Thunderstorms most often form within areas located at mid-latitude where warm moist air front hits and border cool air fronts.
  • Thunderstorms are quite rare in Alaska, New England, North Dakota, Montana, and other northern states where the air is commonly cold.
  • Thunderstorms are also commonly rare along the Pacific Coast because the summertime air there is quite dry.
  • Florida‘s Gulf Coast suffers the greatest number of thunderstorms than any of the U.S. locations.
  • Thunderstorms typically occur 130 days per year in Florida.
  • Thunderstorms typically occur 60–90 days per year in the Gulf Coast.
  • Thunderstorms typically occur 50–80 days per year in the mountains of New Mexico.
  •  Thunderstorms typically occur 20 to 60 days per year in Central Europe and Asia. 

Thunderstorm Diagram

What is Lightning?

Lightning is a powerful electrical current made during a thunderstorm. The electric current is very hot and makes the air around it expand very fast, which in turn causes thunder. Sometimes it happens on the cloud level, or it goes to the ground.

Water drops and ice particles inside a cloud hold electrical charges. Some of these electrical charges are positive while others are negative. Lightning occurs usually when a lot of negative charges develop in a cloud. 

To make these negative charges balanced, positive charges form under the cloud on the ground. Since opposite charges attract, the negative charges in the cloud want to unite with the positive charges on the ground.

It is difficult for the charges to unite because electricity does not move smoothly through the air. As the cloud develops, the strength of the charges develops too. Finally, the charges dominate the air and the cloud unleashes a powerful, negatively charged electrical current.

Since the negative current moves toward the ground, a positively charged current skips from the ground to meet it. When the currents unite, a bright flash is created that moves back up toward the cloud. This is a lightning spark. This process repeats until all the negative charges in the cloud are used.

A spark can reach 5 miles long. It would take up to 80 million car batteries to match the power of one thunderbolt. A single lightning flash has enough power to light a 100-watt bulb for three months!

The speed of light is faster than that of sound. This is the reason why we usually see lightning before we hear the thunder. To know how far away the lightning storm is from you, count the seconds between the flash and the sound. Observe the flash of lightning. Time how long it is before you hear the crack of the thunder. Divide the number of seconds -the time difference- by 5. The solution is the relative number of miles away.

For example, if the thunder rumbles 20 seconds after the lightning flash, then it is about 4 miles away. Math: 20 seconds / 5 = 4 miles.

What is Thunder?

Thunder is the terrifying crack you hear after a lightning flash. The lightning flash heats the air around it so fast. As a result, the air expands very fast. Then, it makes a shock current in the air. That current is the thunder you hear.

Thunder makes a very loud noise because the amount of electrical energy that releases from the cloud to the ground is so big. Since Light travels faster than sound, you see lightning first. When the time difference between lightning and thunder is so short this means the lightning is closed to the ground.

There are different sounds for thunder, it can be like a deafening bag when you stand in a close place where the lightning hits the ground. It can also be a cracking sound when the air cools and shrinks. It can sound like a low grumble if the air keeps on shaking from the lightning bolt. 

Damages Caused by Thunderstorms

  • Rainfall from thunderstorms results in flash flooding which kills a lot of people every year.
  • Lightning is the reason for many fires around the world each year and causes huge losses.
  • Hail in big size damages cars and windows, and kills farm animals left out in the open.
  • Strong straight-line winds, about 120 mph or more, connected to thunderstorms strike down trees, power lines and landlines. 
  • Thunderstorms can result in tornadoes which are one of the most destructive forces. They can cause major damages to infrastructure and buildings

Advantages of Thunderstorms

  • Thunderstorms cause rainfalls which provide plants, humans, lakes and reservoirs with water. 
  • A thunderstorm functions as a cooling tool for the earth. Without it, the percentage of heat in the atmosphere would significantly increase, which becomes negative for the living creature.
  • Lightning releases Nitrogen which is one of the most important elements for farming. Lightning turns the nitrogen gas into nitrogen compounds which benefit the fertility of the soil.
  • Thunderstorms help in clearing a huge amount of pollution from the atmosphere. They clean the air providing us with fresh air.
  • We enjoy watching the fantastic spectacle of a rainbow after a thunderstorm.
  • Lightning caused by thunderstorms helps maintain the electrical balance between the earth and the atmosphere.

Some useful tips to Stay Safe

  • When you hear the crack of thunder, go to a safe place immediately.
  • The perfect place to go is a strong building or a car, but make sure to close all the windows in the car.
  • If there is no safe place to go to, stay away from trees.
  • If you are a group of people, stay about 15 feet from each other.
  • Stay away from water. It’s a perfect conductor of electricity.
  • Any water sport is not safe during a thunderstorm.
  • Stay away from any metal.
  • It’s better not to use a landline phone because lightning may hit exterior phone lines.
  • Do not use electric equipment like home appliances.

Some Interesting Facts about Thunderstorms

  • There are three types of thunderstorms: single-cell, multi-cell cluster, and supercell.
  • The diameter of the average thunderstorm measures around 15 miles. 
  • The average thunderstorm holds 13.2 million gallons of water vapor into the Earth’s atmosphere and unleashes a tremendous amount of energy. 
  • Thunderstorms pass by three stages: developing stage, mature stage and dissipation stage.
  • Thunderstorms need three components to form: moisture, a lift mechanism and unstable rising air.
  • Winter thunderstorm causes snow instead of rain as precipitation, but will still cause thunder and lightning.
  • There are an average of 16 million thunderstorms across the globe every year.
  • Thunderstorms don’t just happen on Earth, they’ve been noticed on other planets like Jupiter, Neptune, Saturn and Venus.
  • Some thunderstorms are violent enough to produce tornadoes.
  • Thunderstorms can cause winds as fast as 300 mph.
  • Lightning is considered the most dangerous feature of a thunderstorm.
  • Thunderstorms have some advantages like cooling the earth.
  • For safety indoors, a person has to be away from any electrical appliances and water.
  • For safety outdoors, a person has to be away from trees and water.

Thunderstorm Experiment

ٍSupplies needed:

  • Plastic containers
  • Food colouring (red and blue)
  • Ice cube tray
  • Some room-temperatured water

Steps:

1. Add water into the ice cube tray.

2. Add one drop of blue food colouring to each section.

3. Stick it in the freezer.

4. Fill in the plastic container with room temperature water.

5. Take a couple of the blue ice cubes and put them on one side of the clean container at the same time put drops of red food colouring to the other side of the container. 

6. The cold front is now represented by the blue food colouring, the warm air is represented by the red food colouring.

7. The warm air is forced to rise over the colder air which finally caused the thunderstorm.

Conclusion

Thunderstorms occur everywhere in the world when there is unstable air, moisture and a lift. They most probably happen in summer and spring. Although thunderstorms have destructive effects, they have good effects too. Lightning and thunder are some of the characteristics of thunderstorms. 

Meet the Ancient Egyptian Gods and Goddess

The Egyptians believed that the phenomena of nature were divine forces in and of themselves. These deified forces included elements, animal characteristics, or abstract forces. The Egyptians believed in a pantheon of Gods and Goddesses,

 Which were involved in all aspects of nature and human society? Their religious practices were efforts to sustain and placate these phenomena and turn them to human advantage. The system was very complex,

 Some deities were believed to exist in many manifestations and some had multiple mythological roles. Conversely, many natural forces, such as the sun, were associated with multiple deities.

The Ancient Egyptian Gods and Goddesses were very different from the gods and goddesses in other ancient civilizations. Animal heads, green bodies, false beards: in the ancient world around the Mediterranean, most civilizations had gods and goddesses that looked like people, at least sort of like people.

This was not the same in Ancient Egypt; it was fairly easy to spot gods and goddesses in drawings, hieroglyphics, statues, paintings, and other works of art. They could be recognized by the objects they carried and how they looked. Some Gods and Goddesses carried an ankh (symbol of life) and some gods and goddesses carried the scepter of power.

And for that Ancient Egyptian religion was a complex system of polytheistic beliefs and rituals that formed an integral part of Ancient Egyptian culture. Where it centered on the Egyptians’ interactions with many deities that were believed to be present in and leading, the world.

Rituals such as prayer and offerings were provided to the gods and goddesses to gain their favor. Formal religious practices were centered on the pharaohs, the rulers of Egypt, who were believed to possess divine powers by their positions.

Ancient Egyptians acted as intermediaries between their people and the Gods and Goddesses and were obligated to sustain the gods through rituals and offerings so that they could maintain Ma’at, the order of the cosmos, and repel Isfet, which was chaos.

The state dedicated enormous resources to religious rituals and the construction of temples. Where the individuals could interact with the Gods and Goddesses for their purposes, appealing for help through prayer or compelling the gods and goddesses to act through magic. These practices were distinct from but closely linked with, the formal rituals and institutions.

 Egyptian belief in the afterlife and the importance of funerary practices is evident in the great efforts made to ensure the survival of their souls after death – via the provision of tombs, grave goods, and offerings to preserve the bodies and spirits of the deceased.

The religion had its roots in Egypt’s prehistory and lasted for 3,500 years. The details of religious beliefs changed over time as the importance of particular gods and goddesses rose and others declined, and their intricate relationships shifted.

At various times, certain gods and goddesses became preeminent over the others, including the sun god Ra, the creator god, Amun, and the mother goddess, Isis. For a brief period, in the theology promulgated by the pharaoh Akhenaten, a single god, the Aten, replaced the traditional pantheon.

Ancient Egyptian religion and mythology left behind many writings and monuments, along with significant influences on ancient and modern cultures. And by the time the diverse pantheon ranged from gods and goddesses with vital roles in the universe to minor deities or “demons” with very limited or localized functions.

It could include gods and goddesses adopted from foreign cultures, deceased pharaohs believed to be divine, and occasionally, distinguished commoners such as Imhotep became deified. The gods and goddesses of Ancient Egypt were an integral part of the people’s everyday lives.

And we need to mention the goddess Qebhet, for example, who is a little-known deity who offered cool water to the souls of the dead as they awaited judgment in the afterlife, and another is Seshat who was the goddess of written words and specific measurements overshadowed by Thoth, who is the better-known god of writing and patron of scribes.

It is not surprising then that there were over 2,000 deities in the Egyptian pantheon. The more famous Gods and Goddesses became state deities while others were associated with a specific region in some cases.

The god Ra made the land. Ra was lonely, so he made a wife. He named her Nut. Ra made many gods and goddesses to keep him company. He put them all to work. His children were very busy running the world. Still, they took time out to have children, because children were glorious to have!

Soon, there were many gods and goddesses. Ra was the father or the grandfather or the great-grandfather of them all! All children are glorious, but to Ra, one child was especially important. That child was his grandson, Osiris. Osiris had a brother named Set. Ra thought Set was a good one, but his favorite by far was Osiris.

To show Osiris how much he was loved, Ra made Osiris the first Pharaoh of Egypt. Osiris married Isis, his one true love, and the king (Osiris) and queen (Isis) settled down quite happily with their son (prince) Horus.

Set was jealous. And he thoughtWhy should Osiris be named Pharaoh and not him?” In a fit of anger, Set killed his brother Osiris and chopped him into little pieces. He threw the pieces into the Nile River. Set was sure he would get away with this murder. But soon rumors spread and everyone knew what he had done. Isis soon heard what Set had done.

Isis managed to gather the pieces of her beloved Osiris. She brought these pieces to her good friend Anubis, the jackal-headed god. Anubis was very clever. He managed to put the pieces of Osiris together again.

But he did not have the power to bring him back to life so that Osiris could retake his place beside his beloved, Isis, and rule Egypt again.

When the great Ra heard about it, he was furious. He gave Osiris a new job and an even better job. He made Osiris the god of the dead, which was the most important job of all. Osiris could rule over the land of the dead after he was dead himself.

He would have to be dead to enter the land of the dead. So, things worked out very well, or so Ra believed. When the young prince Horus heard what his uncle Set had done, although he was still only a boy, he tracked down his uncle Set and murdered him.

Isis was grateful to her friend Anubis, her son Horus, and her grandfather Ra. But nothing could bring Osiris back to life. He would dwell forever in the land of the dead, and she would live forever in the land of the living.

Isis knew that she would never see her beloved husband again. In honor of the god Osiris, the kings (pharaohs) of Egypt carry a crook and a flail and the signs of Osiris. The crook especially became the sign of rulers.

The crook looked a great deal like a snake and was made from wood. They used wood because wood was scarce. That made it even more special. From then on, once each year, Isis travels to the riverbank.

Remembering, dreaming, and crying. Tears fall from her eyes. Ancient Egyptian people thought that is why the Nile River rises each year, to bring life to everyone and everything along the Nile. When Isis cries, the Nile will rise! And that is a critical thing.

Ancient Egyptians’ Gods and Goddesses

The Ancient Egyptians were fascinating people. They were clever and creative. They worked very hard but saved time to enjoy family, friends, music, parties, swimming, fishing, hunting, sailing, and especially their children, all of which were critical to the Ancient Egyptians.

Let us know more about the life of Gods and Goddesses together. – Come meet the clever, creative ancient people who loved their life in the land of the Nile River!

Five thousand (5,000) years ago, the Ancient Egyptian made their home at the mouth of the Nile River, where the Nile runs into the Mediterranean Sea. It was a wonderful place to live. The soil was rich.

The food was plentiful. They were surrounded by desert, which helped to keep them safe from intruders, while the Nile kept their world green. The Ancient Egyptians believed in over 2,000 Gods and Goddesses. They were not afraid of their gods, not most of them anyway., from

They understood they could not always get everything they prayed for. But, from their funny attitudes toward their Gods and Goddesses, when their prayers were not answered, they might give the statue of Gods and Goddesses in the temple a little whack with a reed to let the gods know they were quite disappointed.

The Ancient Egyptians believed in curses and omens and magical powers, all of which were an important part of their daily life and religion. They bought spells in the marketplace to increase their luck, change their fate, and keep themselves safe.

They tried to solve their problems using all possible methods available to them. They believed science and magic were intertwined. Furthermore, they would chant a magical spell they bought in the marketplace and swallow medicine they bought from a different vendor to solve the same problem.

The strange thing was that what they were doing often solved their daily problems, even though it might have been just medicine, magic, or other things they were resorting to using. When the Ancient Greeks and then the Romans came to Egypt, they were amazed at how advanced the Egyptians were in the sciences, especially in astronomy, mathematics, and cures.

The Ancient Egyptians also believed in an afterlife. To the extent that a popular family outing was visiting the family tomb with armloads of grave goods they had made, things they might need in their afterlife to make their eternity comfortable and fun.

The Ancient Egyptians believed that after someone died, his sole spirit flew off to enjoy endless, perfect days along the magical Nile River. At night, the sole spirit returned to its tomb, because even mummies require a good night’s sleep.

The Ancient Egyptians were fascinating people; the Ancient Egyptians were not in love with death. They were in love with life! They loved poetry and tall tales and stories. Not only that, but they shivered at curses and danced at festivals. They loved their kids.

They loved their families. Furthermore, they loved their life along their beloved Nile River, crocodiles, and all. Now, let us know more information about the Gods and Goddesses of the ancient Egyptians. We think you’ll like them.

Meet the Egyptian Gods and Goddesses!

Re

Gods and Goddesses-Re

Re, also spelled Ra or Pra, in Ancient Egyptian religion, God of the sun and creator god. Originally, most solar gods had falcon form and were assimilated to Horus.

Ra’s most commonly attributed power is that of life or creation, including the creation of Earth, Heaven, the Underworld, and all the gods in each of the three worlds. The Egyptians believed that Ra created the seasons, plants, animals, and even humankind.

Ra is the sun god of Ancient Egypt. He is one of the oldest deities in the Egyptian pantheon and was later merged with others such as Horus, becoming Ra-Horakhty (the morning sun), Amun (as noonday sun), and Atum (the evening sun) associated with primal life-giving energy.

The god of the sun, Ra was the first pharaoh of the world, back in the days, Ra’s golden sun ship would sail across the sky, and each night it would travel through the underground world of the Duat, sailing the river of darkness, and fighting off monsters.

  Sunrise, when Ra emerged victorious again and caused a new day to begin. After many centuries, Ra became old and senile, and retreated into the heavens, giving up his throne to Osiris.

Ra was often described as the father of the gods. When Osiris was murdered by his brother Set, Ra made Osiris become the God of the Underworld. Thus, the pharaoh Osiris is the son of Ra, and after his death, his son, Horus, assumed power. According to another myth, Ra ruled on earth as Pharaoh until he became old and weary.

Ra tells Horus that his weakness is the result of him not fulfilling his destiny, which Horus believes is avenging his parents’ deaths. Later on, Ra is visited by his son, Set, questioning his favoritism for Osiris and denying him the throne and children.

The Eye of Ra is not usually associated with evil, but rather with power and violence. It was used in Ancient Egyptian culture as an amulet of protection for pharaohs, they thought it helped bring harmony

Osiris

Gods and Goddesses - Osiris

Osiris is derived from the Egyptian word meaning wiser. Known as the god of fertility, agriculture, afterlife, death, resurrection, life, and vegetation in Ancient Egyptian religion.

The first son of Geb and Nut, Osiris was a wise and good pharaoh when he took over the world from Ra. Osiris taught the people everything about farming and created the first cities in Egypt.

Unfortunately, Osiris’s brother Set was jealous of him. Set tricked his brother into suggesting he should lie in a golden coffin, then sealed the coffin and cut it into pieces. Set scattered the pieces all over Egypt, and Osiris’s wife, Isis, spent years searching for them.

Eventually, Isis put her husband back together; binding him in cloth to make the first mummy, but Osiris only came partially back to life. After that, he was the god of the underworld, setting judgment over the souls of the dead. He appears as a king with blue skin and white robes.

Isis

Isis

Osiris’s wife was the goddess of magic and a clever and ambitious woman. She tricked Ra into retiring by poisoning him with a magic snake, then encouraging the old sun god to reveal his secret name, so Isis could cure him.

Once Isis knew Ra’s secret name, she could force him to do just about anything. She encouraged him to retreat into the sky, opening the throne for Osiris. Isis was the patron of magicians and loved her husband very much.

She encouraged their son Horus to take vengeance on the evil Set, who had killed Osiris. Isis is often pictured as a beautiful woman with multicolored wings.

Set

Set

Set is also known as Seth and Sutekh. He was the Egyptian god of war, chaos, and storms, brother of Osiris, and Horus the Elder, uncle to Horus the younger, and brother-husband to Nephthys, Isis.

His other consort was the goddess Tawaret, a hippo-headed deity who presided over fertility and childbirth. The goddess of the desert, storms, and evil. The two were the same thing. He was one mean god. His color was red, the color of sterile soil and the desert.

He was the strongest of the gods, and very tricky. He became pharaoh of Egypt after killing his brother but was later overthrown by his nephew Horus. After that, Set fled into the desert, where he controlled all the evil harsh lands outside the Nile Valley.

Set wasn’t all bad, however. In the old days, he sailed on Ra’s boat and helped defend the sun god from the armies of the chaos serpent Apep. Set is usually pictured with red skin and with the head of an unknown animal demon – part dog, part anteater, all ugly.

Geb

Geb

Geb was the Egyptian god of the earth and a mythological member of Heliopolis. He could also be considered a father of snakes. It was believed in Ancient Egypt that Geb’s laughter created earthquakes and that he allowed crops to grow.

The god of the earth, Geb was one of the first Gods and Goddesses to appear from the sea of chaos at the beginning of time. He appears as a man-made of earth, with rivers, forests, and hills across his entire body. Nut was Geb’s wife, the goddess of the sky. Yes, we know she appeared as a woman with skin like a starry sky, dark blue and covered in constellations.

She is often pictured stretching over Geb, as the sky stretches over the earth. Although Geb and Nut loved each other very much, Ra had a prophecy that their children would try to overthrow him someday, so Ra did his best to keep them apart. Despite this, Nut managed to have five children.

Shu

Shu

Shu (Su) was the god of light and air, and as such, he personified the wind and the earth’s atmosphere. As the god of light, he represented the illumination of the primordial darkness and marked the separation between day and night and between the world of the living and the world of the dead.

Nut’s father, the God of the air, while you may know of Ra, the sun god, or Osiris, the god of death and rebirth, Let us know more about Shu! He was a powerful god of the air, a god-pharaoh, the Likewise, he’s the protector. He helped determine the fates of souls after death.

Not only that but he was given the job of keeping Nut and Geb apart. This is why the sky is so far above the earth. The god of the wind stays between them, keeping his daughter from visiting her love, the earth. He is usually not pictured because he is invisible like the wind.

Nephthys Goddess

Nephthys Goddess

As the sister of Isis and wife of Set, she is a protective goddess who symbolizes the death experience, just as Isis represented the birth experience.

Nephthys was known in some Ancient Egyptian temple theologies and cosmologies as the “Helpful Goddess” or the “Excellent Goddess”.Even known as the river goddess.

 Nephthys didn’t like her husband very much, because he killed Osiris. Nephthys helped Isis collect Osiris’s pieces and bind them together. She was a kind and gentle goddess, and mother of Anubis, the god of funeral rites.

Horus

Horus

The God of the sky is Horus, Egyptian Hor, Har, or Heru. In Ancient Egyptian religion, is a god in the form of a falcon whose right eye was the sun or morning star, representing power and quintessence, and whose left eye was the moon or evening star, representing healing.

 Horus possesses the conventional powers of the Egyptian Gods and Goddesses. He has superhuman strength, stamina, and resistance to harm and causes a conventional injury. He is called the Avenger. Horus was the son of Isis and Osiris.

When he grew to manhood, he challenged Set and eventually defeated him, becoming the new pharaoh of Egypt. Afterward, all mortal pharaohs considered themselves to be the descendants of Horus. Horus’s symbol was the falcon, and he was often pictured as a man with a falcon’s head, and it became a symbol of protection.

Bast

Bast

Bastet also called Bast, is an Ancient Egyptian goddess who was worshiped in the form of a lioness and later a cat. The daughter of Ra, the sun god, Bastet was an ancient deity whose ferocious nature was ameliorated.

Bastet is the Egyptian goddess of the home, domesticity, women’s secrets, cats, fertility, and childbirth. She was associated with women and children. Cats were extremely popular in Egypt because they could kill snakes, scorpions, and other nasty creatures. Bast, the goddess of cats, was just as popular.

 Bast was a protective goddess, and people would wear amulets with her likeness for good luck, especially during the bad luck Demon Days at the end of each year. In cat form, Bast is often pictured with a knife, fighting the chaos serpent Apep. She was Ra’s faithful cat.

Sobek

Sobek

Sebek, also spelled Sobek, Greek Suchos, in Ancient Egyptian religion, known as the crocodile god whose chief sanctuary was in the Fay yum province. It included a live sacred crocodile, in whom the god was believed to be incarnated.

You can find a column with a carving of the crocodile god Sebek at Ombos, Egypt. Sobek was not an evil god to the Egyptians, contrary to his nature in The Red Pyramid. He was associated with Pharaonic power, fertility, and military prowess.

He was revered in Egyptian culture and was prayed for to be protected from the crocodiles that filled the Nile. The god of crocodiles was both respected and feared. Crocodiles were strong creatures.

In Ancient Egypt, an entire city was named after them: Crocodilopolis and Sobek had a temple with a lake full of crocodiles. However, crocodiles were fearsome predators, and many Egyptians were killed each year if they got too near the river.

Sobek was pictured as a crocodile-headed man. His sweat was said to have created the rivers of the world. Yuck!

Serqet: Serket Egyptian Goddess

Serqet

Selket also spelled Selqet, or Serqet, in Egyptian mythology, was a goddess of the dead. Her symbolic animal was the scorpion. She was one of the underworld deities charged with protecting the Canopic jar in which the intestines of the deceased were stored after embalming.

Serqet was often shown as a woman with a scorpion on her head, and occasionally as a scorpion with the head of a woman, though this was rare.

Serqet was sometimes shown wearing the headdress of Hathor (a solar disk and cow horns) but it is thought that this has more to do with her association with Isis.

The goddess of scorpions was both good and bad. She could send scorpions after her enemies, and a single scorpion bite could kill you. On the other hand, you could pray to Sequent for protection from poison. She was pictured as a woman with a giant scorpion for a crown. She holds the ankh, the symbol of life, in one hand and a scepter, representing power, in the other.

Anubis: God of the dead and the process of embalming.

Anubis

Anubis, also called Anpu, the Ancient Egyptian god of the dead, is represented by a jackal or the figure of a man with the head of a jackal. In the Early Dynastic Period and the Old Kingdom, he enjoyed a preeminent (though not exclusive) position as lord of the dead, but he was later overshadowed by Osiris.

Anubis is the god of funerals. He was one of the most important gods because he helped prepare the soul for the Afterlife and escorted the dead to the hall of judgment.

The Egyptians noticed jackals hanging around their graveyards, so they decided jackals must be Anubis’s sacred animals.

Priests even wore jackal masks when they made the pharaoh’s body into a mummy. Anubis helped Isis make Osiris into the first mummy. Anubis is usually pictured as a man with a jackal’s head, leading a departed spirit through the Duet.

Egyptian priests would wear a mask of Anubis during mummification ceremonies in general. Anubis, easily recognizable as an anthropomorphized jackal or dog, was the Egyptian god of the afterlife and mummification.

He helped judge souls after their death and guided lost souls into the afterlife. Therefore, Anubis was not evil but rather one of the most important Gods and Goddesses who kept evil out of Egypt. Anubis possesses superhuman strength; he is capable of lifting about 30 tons.

He also possesses superhuman speed. Anubis is capable of running and moving at speeds much greater than even the finest human athlete.

Bes

Bes

Bes, a minor god of Ancient Egypt, is represented as a dwarf with a large head, goggle eyes, protruding tongue, bowlegs, bushy tail, and usually a crown of feathers. The name Bes is now used to designate a group of deities of similar appearance with a wide variety of ancient names.

He is the god of dwarves, protector of households, mothers, and children. One of the ugliest and most popular gods in Ancient Egypt, Bes had the power to scare off evil spirits. He often appeared on amulets and in sculpture as a hairy little man with a lion-like mane and a pug nose.

 Egyptians believed that dwarves (and other people who were born different) were inherently magical. Bes was considered wonderful luck. He watched over the common man, children, women in childbirth, and any else who needed protection from evil.

And also, he was a widely worshiped deity in Ancient Egypt and was believed to be the deity of music, merriment, and childbirth. As such, Bes was thought to be a protector of children, and depictions of him were frequently seen in the bedrooms of Ancient Egyptian households.

Khonsu

Khonsu

Khonsuis the Ancient Egyptian god of the Moon. His name means “Traveler”, and this may relate to the perceived nightly travel of the Moon across the sky. Along with Thoth, he marked the passage of time.

Khonsu, the god of the moon, loved to gamble. He once lost five days of moonlight to the sky goddess Nut to give birth to her five children. Sometimes, Khonsu is depicted as a hawk-headed god, but more often he looks like a young man with a side-lock of hair, like an Egyptian youth. His favorite color is silver.

He was a god of the moon and time. His cult center was at Thebes, where he was part of a triad with Amun and Mut. He was one of the companions of Thoth (who was also associated with the moon and the measurement of time).

Nekhbet

Nekhbet

 Nekhbet is an early predynastic local goddess in Egyptian mythology, who was the patron of the city of Nekheb. Ultimately, she became the patron of Upper.

She is considered the goddess of vultures. One of the oldest goddesses of Egypt, Nekhbet was a patron of the pharaoh and is often pictured with her wings spread over the king. Her shrine was in Nekhbet, the city of the dead where she oversaw the oldest oracle in Egypt.

Like all vultures, she preyed on the dead and died. If you see Nekhbet hovering over you, start dancing! Let her know you’re still alive! Nekhbet, in Egyptian religion, was the vulture goddess who was the protector of Upper Egypt and especially its rulers.

She had several abilities. She can fly. Furthermore, she can cast magic that weakens the spirit of a person, so they slowly start to weaken and eventually die, although a powerful will, can shake off this effect. When hosting her, Percy Jackson was able to make a combat avatar, and she could shield him from Stene’s powers.

Babi

Babi

Babi, also known as Baba, in Ancient Egyptian religion, was the deification of the hamadryas baboon. It was one of the animals presented. Since Ancient Egypt. His name is usually translated as” bull of the baboons”, roughly Tawaret meaning “chief of the baboons”

Unlike the wise baboons of Thoth, Babi was the god of wild baboons, especially alpha males. He was aggressive and bloodthirsty and was given the job of eating the wicked dead in the underworld. He especially loved entrails. Yum! Babi is not a primate you want to fight.

The baboon is probably most well-known as a manifestation of the moon god, Thoth. In this role, Thoth took on the position of ‘God of the scribes’ (as we will mention), being associated with various subjects such as writing, science, judgment, knowledge, and the afterlife.

Since baboons were considered, to be the dead, Babi was viewed as a deity of the underworld. Since this judging of righteousness was an important part of the underworld, Babi was said to be the firstborn son of Osiris. He was the god of the dead in the same regions in which people believed in Babi.

Tawaret

Tawaret

In Ancient Egyptian religion, Taweret (also spelled Tart, Tuat, Tuart, Ta-were) is the protective Ancient Egyptian goddess of childbirth and fertility. Tawaret is the God of fertility. Taweret, after all, was a god of fertility, of life.

For a time, there were even several overlapping hippo deities in Ancient Egypt. It, Reset, and Hedjet all played essentially the same role as Taweret, and may even have been different aspects of the same deity.

Tawaret is the goddess of hippos. While the Egyptians feared male hippos, they saw the female hippo goddess Tawaret as a gentle protector. She looked after pregnant women, especially, and is often depicted with a swollen belly. Like Bes, she could scare off evil spirits.

The Ancient Egyptian goddess Taweret, ‘the Great One’, is depicted by scholars and in Ancient Egypt as being the protective goddess of mother and child during pregnancy and childbirth. As with many Ancient Egyptian deities, she goes by many names throughout.

Sekhmet: Goddess of war

Sekhmet

Sekhmet, also spelled Sakhmet, in Egyptian religion was a goddess of war. She destroyed Sekhmet, the enemy of the sun god, Ra. Sekhmet was associated both with disease and with healing and medicine.

Battle prowess: Sekhmet had enormous strength and destructive power. As the Eye of Ra, she was responsible for protecting the Sun god and destroying all his enemies. Sekhmet means ‘the powerful one’! She is sometimes called the daughter of the sun god Ra. she is celebrated at the end of battles.

She was worshiped evenly with her husband, Ptah, and her son, Nefertem. Her main cult center was in Memphis. Many priests recited complicated prayers, used to avert the rage of Sekhmet. A well-known prayer was called “the last day of the year”, and it was chanted while wearing a piece of cloth around one’s head.

Thoth

Thoth

Thoth was the God of writing and knowledge. That could also appear as a baboon. It was believed that Thoth gave the Egyptians the gift of hieroglyphs. In Egyptian religion, he is a god of the moon, reckoning, learning, and writing. He was held to be the inventor of writing, the creator of languages, the scribe, interpreter, and adviser of the gods, and the representative of the Sun Ra.

Thoth was the judge of the dead, who had overseen three epic battles between Good and Evil. He was also an engineer, associated with science and knowledge, and, as the scribe of the gods, he was the creator of the language.

He was held to be the inventor of writing, the creator of languages, the scribe, interpreter, and adviser of the gods, and the representative of the sun god, Ra. his responsibility for writing was shared with the goddess Seshat. Nephthys or Nebet-Het Ancient Egyptian is Thoth’s sister; she was a goddess in Ancient Egyptian religion.

Heka

Heka

Heka is the god of magic and medicine in Ancient Egyptians, strength, and is also the personification of magic itself. He is probably the most important god in Egyptian mythology but is often overlooked because his presence was so pervasive as to make him almost invisible to the Egyptologists.

Heka, also spelled hike, in Ancient Egyptian religion, was the personification of one of the attributes of the creator god Re-Atum; the term is usually translated as “magic,” or “magical power,” though its exact meaning pertains to cult practice as well.

Heka occasionally appears as a falcon-headed man wearing a sun disc, or a man holding two entwined serpents. In the latter case, he is connected with the “caduceus” (a winged staff with two serpents wrapped around it) which is now a symbol associated with medicine.

Heka was regarded as a deity in its own right. Most regularly he is depicted as an upright male with an emblem, the hieroglyphic sign for strength, on his head.

Hathor

Hathor

Hathor was a solar deity, a feminine counterpart to sun gods such as Horus and Ra. She was a member of the divine entourage that accompanied Ra as he sailed. Hathor, in Ancient Egyptian religion, goddess of the sky, women, fertility, and love.

Hathor was closely connected with the sun god Re of Heliopolis, whose “eye” or daughter she was said to be. In her cult center at Dandarah in Upper Egypt, she was worshiped with Horus.

And the cow goddess may shed some light on more than one famous story in the Bible. For the Egyptians, the goddess Hathor was a cow goddess who represented all that they saw as good in the female identity.

She represented fertility and motherhood, of course, but also love, joy, music, dance, and all that was beautiful. Hathor was one of the most important Gods and Goddesses, and complex goddesses of Ancient Egypt.

A mother goddess who created and maintained all life on earth, Hathor was also worshiped as a goddess. She was one of the forty-two state gods and goddesses of Egypt, and one of the most popular and powerful.

She was a goddess of many things: love, beauty, music, dancing, fertility, and pleasure. Not only that, but she was the protector of women, though men also worshiped her. Not only that, but she had priests as well as priestesses in her temples. Esky, and as the symbolic mother of the pharaoh, or ruler.

For all Ancient people, the world was filled with mystery. Much of what they experienced in the world around them was unknowable and frightening. The Ancient Egyptian gods and goddesses represented aspects of the Egyptians’ natural and “supernatural” surroundings and helped them understand its many aspects.

This was all about the Gods and Goddesses of Ancient Egyptians. We hope you enjoyed it. To practice even more on Ancient Egyptian Gods and Goddesses and learn about other interesting subjects, keep visiting Learning Mole.

The universe around us

The universe is very old and tremendously gigantic. It extends in all directions for long distances measured by big units called light-years. A light-year is defined as how far light travels in one year. Since the speed of light is 300,000 km/sec, one light year is 9.5 trillion km (that is a very very long distance!)

This enormous space is full of galaxies. Galaxies are full of millions and millions of stars. Each star is a big ball of fire with a powerful gravitational force. This force pulls other space bodies and makes them orbit the star.

We happened to live on top of one of these objects called Earth which orbits a star called the Sun. Many other objects orbit the Sun as well. Scientists then categorized all these objects in one group called the Solar System (sol means sun in Latin).

planets of the solar system

The Sun is the most gigantic object in our Solar System. It comprises 98% of the Solar System’s mass. The remaining 2% of the mass is occupied by all the planets, dwarf planets, moons, asteroids, and comets spinning around the Sun.

Some of these objects, like planets, orbit the Sun directly in almost circular or elliptical orbits. Other objects orbit the Sun indirectly like natural satellites, also known as moons. These moons orbit planets or comets which in turn orbit the Sun.

But how did the Solar System form?

How did planets form?

Well, that is a really interesting story so read closely.

In space, the matter and radiation between star systems are called interstellar medium. A thick region of the interstellar medium that accumulates gas, plasma, and dust is called an interstellar cloud. There are different types of interstellar clouds. One of them is called a molecular cloud.

About 4.6 billion years ago, a giant molecular cloud of hydrogen and helium collapsed. This collapse caused all the mass, which was too hot, to be collected in the center forming the Sun.

In addition, this collapse produced so much dense gas and dust that formed a disc around the Sun. These gassy and dusty particles started to be attracted to one another by gravitational power to form bigger bodies.

Such bigger bodies were later categorized as planets, dwarf planets, asteroids, comets, and moons. There are eight planets in our Solar System. Scientists further classified these eight as inner system planets and outer system planets.

Inner system planets VS outer system planets

The inner system planets are the four closest planets to the Sun. They are also referred to as terrestrial or rocky planets. These planets are Mercury, Venus, Earth (hello!), and Mars. All of them are composed of silicate rocks or metal.

The outer system planets are also four but gigantic and mostly composed of gas and ice. The largest of the four are Jupiter and Saturn. They are called gas giants because they are composed of hydrogen and helium.

The second-largest ones are Uranus and Neptune. They are so far from the Sun that they are unusually cold. They are composed of ice, not only water ice but also ice of ammonia and methane. And just like the sky makes the ocean look blue, methane also makes those two distant planets blue.

Since it was discovered in 1930 until the early 21st century, Pluto was considered a planet. It was the ninth planet of the Solar System after Neptune. Yet, scientists discovered many other objects. They were either the same size as or bigger than Pluto. So in 2006, the International Astronomical Unit reclassified Pluto as a minor or a dwarf planet.

The inner system planets are the four closest planets to the Sun. They are also referred to as terrestrial or rocky planets. These planets are Mercury, Venus, Earth (hello!), and Mars. All of them are composed of silicate rocks or metal.

The outer system planets are also four but gigantic and mostly composed of gas and ice. The largest of the four are Jupiter and Saturn. They are called gas giants because they are composed of hydrogen and helium.

The second-largest ones are Uranus and Neptune. They are so far from the Sun that they are unusually cold. They are composed of ice, not only water ice but also ice of ammonia and methane. And just like the sky makes the ocean look blue, methane also makes those two distant planets blue.

Since it was discovered in 1930 until the early 21st century, Pluto was considered a planet. It was the ninth planet of the Solar System after Neptune. Yet, scientists discovered many other objects. They were either the same size as or bigger than Pluto. So in 2006, the International Astronomical Unit reclassified Pluto as a minor or a dwarf planet.

And then what?

In fact, there are many other bodies in the Solar System. They might not be as large as planets but definitely as marvelous. For example, asteroids.

Asteroids

Besides the eight known planets, there are many, so many that we cannot even count them, other smaller rocky bodies called asteroids. They are not round but they have irregular shapes.

Asteroids can be very large or very small. For example, the diameter of the largest asteroid ever found, Vesta, is 525 km. That is almost the distance between London and Belfast! However, the smallest asteroid scientists discovered is about 10 meters across.

The largest collection of asteroids in our Solar System, about 1.1 to 1.9 million, is found in the space between Mars and Jupiter. This collection is defined as the asteroid belt. These millions of asteroids orbit the Sun too.

Just like the asteroid belt, there is the Kuiper belt right behind the orbit of Neptune. This Kuiper belt is different from the asteroid belt. Its objects are mostly composed of ice because they are very very far from the Sun. Pluto in fact lives in the Kuiper belt along with many similar brothers of objects.

Besides the eight known planets, there are many, so many that we cannot even count them, other smaller rocky bodies called asteroids. They are not round but they have irregular shapes.

Asteroids can be very large or very small. For example, the diameter of the largest asteroid ever found, Vesta, is 525 km. That is almost the distance between London and Belfast! However, the smallest asteroid scientists discovered is about 10 meters across.

The largest collection of asteroids in our Solar System, about 1.1 to 1.9 million, is found in the space between Mars and Jupiter. This collection is defined as the asteroid belt. These millions of asteroids orbit the Sun too.

Just like the asteroid belt, there is the Kuiper belt right behind the orbit of Neptune. This Kuiper belt is different from the asteroid belt. Its objects are mostly composed of ice because they are very very far from the Sun. Pluto in fact lives in the Kuiper belt along with many similar brothers of objects.

So, what did our ancestors think about the Solar System?

Since the beginning of life on Earth, humans have been interested in exploring space. Ancient civilizations like Egypt and Babylon studied the stars and planets. They took measurements to determine festivals and the hours of the night.

However, people throughout history always believed that Earth was the center of the universe. They imagined it floating motionless while other planets and stars spun around it.

Perhaps one of the earliest true assumptions ever made about the Solar System was that by the ancient Greek mathematician and astronomer Aristarchus of Samos (born in 310 BC). He presented a model that placed the Sun in the middle while Earth and other space objects revolved around it.

Unfortunately, Aristarchus was not believed much. This is because other great philosophers such as Aristotle thought he was wrong. And since the public extremely trusted Aristotle, they did not believe Aristarchus as well.

Starting the 15th century, many astronomers and mathematicians from different regions across Europe began to explore the sky, planets, and stars. They developed different theories that later proved Aristarchus right.

It is so interesting to mention here that all these incredibly intelligent astronomers made their assumptions about the Solar System mostly by using mathematics. They barely looked at the sky. Well, even if they did, they would only see teeny-tiny twinkling bulbs and nothing more.

And this is when telescopes came into existence.

The story of telescopes

In 1608, a Dutch eyeglass maker invented an instrument that could magnify objects three times. A year later, an Italian astronomer—who would become very known after that—heard about this invention. So he made one for himself that could magnify objects 20 times.

This Italian astronomer was Galileo Galilei. Because he was so interested in space, Galileo started pointing his 20-time magnifying optical instrument towards the sky. Later on, this instrument took the name of the telescope.

Using his telescope, Galileo could make different observations of objects in the sky. For example, he observed Earth’s moon and the transits of Venus. He also discovered that Jupiter, the biggest planet in our Solar System, had four moons.

Galileo then used these observations to claim that the Sun was the center of the Solar System, not Earth and that all other planets orbited it.

But once again, Galileo was not believed; this time by the Catholic Church as well as thousands of people. Those people only accepted the model in which Earth was at the center of the sky. So, the Church considered Galileo’s model against religion.

Sadly, Galileo was arrested and kept in his house as a prisoner. Nine years after his arrest, he died.

Luckily, Galileo’s observations did not die with him. Many astronomers followed in Galileo’s footsteps. They could prove mathematically and telescopically that the Sun is in the middle and that other planets and sky bodies orbit it. This fact was later given the name we are all familiar with: the Solar System.

How were planets discovered?

So far, we have learned about the Solar System as a whole. We understood what our ancestors thought about it. We also found out how the great astronomers of the past proved the Sun is in the middle of the sky.

Now let’s learn about how each planet was discovered.

Mercury and Venus are two planets that can be spotted in the sky with the naked eye. Ancient people knew about and mentioned them in their rocky journals. But Galileo (remember him from above?) was the first person to observe both Mercury and Venus through a telescope. That was in the early 17th century.

During the next two centuries, many other astronomers could observe both planets using more accurate telescopes. Such observations enabled them to study Mercury’s surface features and Venus’s phases and atmosphere. Astronomers could also calculate Mercury and Venus’s day and year lengths.

Mars, Jupiter, and Saturn were also known in prehistoric times. Galileo (yes, again) could observe Mars with his telescope in 1610. In the same year, Galileo observed the four largest moons of Jupiter. These moons, as a group, were named after him: Galilean moons.

Yet, Galileo’s simple telescope could not observe Saturn accurately. But in 1655, a Dutch astronomer called Christiaan Huygens using a more advanced telescope saw Saturn’s rings and one of its moons.

So far, we have learned about the Solar System as a whole. We understood what our ancestors thought about it. We also found out how the great astronomers of the past proved the Sun is in the middle of the sky.

Now let’s learn about how each planet was discovered.

Mercury and Venus are two planets that can be spotted in the sky with the naked eye. Ancient people knew about and mentioned them in their rocky journals. But Galileo (remember him from above?) was the first person to observe both Mercury and Venus through a telescope. That was in the early 17th century.

During the next two centuries, many other astronomers could observe both planets using more accurate telescopes. Such observations enabled them to study Mercury’s surface features and Venus’s phases and atmosphere. Astronomers could also calculate Mercury and Venus’s day and year lengths.

Mars, Jupiter, and Saturn were also known in prehistoric times. Galileo (yes, again) could observe Mars with his telescope in 1610. In the same year, Galileo observed the four largest moons of Jupiter. These moons, as a group, were named after him: Galilean moons.

Yet, Galileo’s simple telescope could not observe Saturn accurately. But in 1655, a Dutch astronomer called Christiaan Huygens using a more advanced telescope saw Saturn’s rings and one of its moons.

What about Uranus?

Just like his planetary neighbors, Uranus was observed in prehistoric times but it was mistaken for a star. Then in the late 17th century and the mid 18th century, multiple astronomers observed Uranus at least 18 times.

One day in March 1781, British astronomer Sir William Herschel was observing the sky from his garden. Using his telescope, he spotted an object. At first, he thought this object was either a Nebulous star or a comet. But he later defined it as a comet. Then again, Herschel thought that the object he discovered was either a comet or a planet.

Later, Finnish-Swedish astronomer Anders Johan Lexell discovered that the new object had a nearly circular orbit, like planets. But comets have an overly elliptical orbit. So the new object was internationally identified as a planet.

Just like his planetary neighbors, Uranus was observed in prehistoric times but it was mistaken for a star. Then in the late 17th century and the mid 18th century, multiple astronomers observed Uranus at least 18 times.

One day in March 1781, British astronomer Sir William Herschel was observing the sky from his garden. Using his telescope, he spotted an object. At first, he thought this object was either a Nebulous star or a comet. But he later defined it as a comet. Then again, Herschel thought that the object he discovered was either a comet or a planet.

Later, Finnish-Swedish astronomer, Anders Johan Lexell discovered that the new object had a nearly circular orbit, like planets. But comets have an overly elliptical orbit. So the new object was internationally identified as a planet.

And Neptune?

We learned that Galileo observed Mercury, Venus, Mars, and Jupiter. He also spotted Neptune with his telescope. Galileo observed Neptune twice on 28 December 1612 and on 27 January 1613. However, he did not think it was a planet. He thought it was a stationary star.

One day in 1821, the French astronomer Alexis Bouvard published astronomical tables about Uranus’s orbit. Such tables contained data that facilitated the calculation of Uranus’s position and its planetary calendar.

However, when Bouvard observed Uranus with a telescope, he saw something strange. Uranus’s orbit experienced some changes. These changes caused the orbit to deviate from the perfect circle shape. That meant Bouvard’s data and the real data from the orbit were unmatching.

So Bouvard assumed that Uranus was subject to gravitational force from a mysterious planet. More than 20 years later, two other astronomers called John Couch Adams and Urbain Le Verrier used Bouvard’s observations to predict, with mathematical calculations, the position of that mysterious planet.

In September 1846, German astronomer Johann Gottfried Galle was able to observe Neptune using an advanced telescope. His observation almost matched the calculations made by Urbain Le Verrier.

It is interesting to mention here that Galileo recorded his observations as drawings. In them, there were some plotted points in a position. When Galle later discovered Neptune, he found out that those dots in Galileo’s drawing were in the same position as that of Neptune.

Galileo was the first to observe Neptune but he never knew that.

How did planets get their names?

Now we are quite familiar with the concept of the Solar System and its second most popular inhabitant, the planets. We learned about how and by whom they were discovered. Now let’s discuss how each planet got its name. There are some interesting stories so let’s take them one by one.

Mercury

Before Mercury became the name of the closest planet to the Sun, it was the name of a Roman god which people worshiped many many centuries ago. The god Mercury was actually a messenger. He could travel very quickly delivering messages from here to there among other gods.

On the other hand, Mercury, the planet, is the fastest in the Solar System. Being very close to the Sun means the planet is subject to a huge gravitational pull. This pull in return causes the planet to orbit the Sun very fast. In fact, Mercury travels around the Sun in only 88 days. That is even shorter than winter in Ireland!

So, the fastest planet was named after the fastest Roman god, Mercury. Makes sense.

Before Mercury became the name of the closest planet to the Sun, it was the name of a Roman god which people worshiped many many centuries ago. The god Mercury was actually a messenger. He could travel very quickly delivering messages from here to there among other gods.

On the other hand, Mercury, the planet, is the fastest in the Solar System. Being very close to the Sun means the planet is subject to a huge gravitational pull. This pull-in return causes the planet to orbit the Sun very fast. In fact, Mercury travels around the Sun in only 88 days. That is even shorter than winter in Ireland!

So, the fastest planet was named after the fastest Roman god, Mercury. Makes sense.

Venus

With Venus, things start to get a little different (and interesting.)

Although Mercury is closer to the Sun, Venus is much hotter. In fact, Venus is hotter than any other planet in the Solar System. This is because Venus is covered in clouds and its very thick atmosphere is full of carbon dioxide. This gas creates the well-known greenhouse effect. Such an effect keeps the heat inside and prevents it from escaping to space.

In addition, these clouds reflect the light coming from the Sun. That is why Venus always looks as bright as the Moon. But Venus looks tinier than the Moon of course because it is further from Earth.

As Venus is so beautifully bright, well the brightest of all planets, it was given the name of the Roman goddess of beauty and love. Interestingly, Venus can be seen with the naked eye to the east before sunrise or in the west during the evening.

Earth

Earth, also known as home.

When it comes to naming Earth, we do not really seem to know a lot about it. All we know is that the word earth came from English/German origins which means the ground.

Maybe because it is the only planet suitable for life?

Mars

Way before Mars referred to a 51g-nougat-caramel-almondless chocolate bar, it was the name of the Roman god of war.

Meanwhile, planet Mars was found to be red. Scientists attributed its red color to the fact that Mars’s surface is full of iron oxide. Iron oxide is a red chemical composed of iron and oxygen. It gives Mars the red color. It is also the same chemical that gives blood and rust their reddish color.

Since blood is associated with war, the fourth planet from the Sun was then named after the Roman god of war, Mars.

Jupiter

Jupiter is the giant of the giants and the second biggest body in the Solar System. It is so big that it is 11 times wider than the earth. To easily get that, imagine a coin is Earth then place 11 such coins beside one another. They would make the diameter of a much bigger circle. This bigger circle is Jupiter.

Naming Jupiter was no big deal at all. The gigantic planet got its name from the Roman king of gods, Jupiter, who was in charge of all aspects of life in Roman religion.

Saturn

Known for its incredibly beautiful rings, Saturn is the second biggest planet after Jupiter. It is also the third biggest body in the Solar System. Saturn got its name from Roman mythology. It was named after the Roman god of wealth, agriculture, and harvest.

Uranus

We learned that Sir William Herschel was the astronomer who discovered Uranus. And just like we get to name a kitten we adopted, Herschel was asked to name the planet he discovered. So he named it after King George III who ruled Britain back at the time.

Yet, such a name was only popular in Britain and not in the rest of the world. So many other names were then proposed. But seventy years later, the seventh planet in the Solar System was finally given the name of Uranus. Uranus was the Greek god of the sky.

Neptune

Neptune is often described as Uranus’s near-twin. It is the eighth planet in the Solar System. Neptune is also the bluest, densest, and furthest planet from the Sun.

Naming Neptune is an interesting story to know. At first, it was called the planet exterior to Uranus or Le Verrier’s planet. Then astronomers began suggesting different names such as Janus and Oceanus. These were Roman and Greek gods’ names.

Neptune was known to be the god of the sea in Roman religion. Astronomers wanted to keep with the previously named planets in the Solar System. That is why they called the eighth planet Neptune.

How many orders can we put planets in?

We are now familiar with the planets in our Solar System. We learned about how planets were discovered and how they got their names. We also learned some interesting facts about planets such as Venus’s brightness.

By default, planets are classified according to their distance from the Sun. This order goes like this: Mercury, Venus, Earth, Mars, Jupiter, Saturn, Uranus, and Neptune. Yet, we can also arrange planets in order of heat, size and mass, orbital speed, and day length. Let’s explore them one by one.

Planets in order of heat

It is very rational to think that the closer a planet is to the Sun, the hotter it is. But this does not apply to two of the planets in our Solar System: Venus and Uranus.

As we previously explained, Venus’s atmosphere is full of carbon dioxide. This gas keeps the heat inside and prevents it from escaping to space. This makes Venus hotter than any other planet in the Solar System.

Similarly, we would think that Neptune is colder because it is further from the Sun than Uranus. In fact, it is the other way around. The coldest temperature ever found on Uranus was -223.8 °C which beats Neptune’s coldest temperature -210 °C. Here is how this happens.

Every planet has an axis. Scientists found that each planet also tilts a certain degree. While Earth’s tilt is 23 degrees, Uranus’s tilt is 98 degrees! This makes Uranus look like it has been knocked over and is rotating on its side.

This tilted rotation is believed to cause Uranus to never retain the heat coming from its core. It escapes perpetually to space. This causes Uranus to be very cold, even colder than its brother Neptune.

So when we put planets in order of heat, they go like this: Venus, Mercury, Earth, Mars, Jupiter, Saturn, Neptune, and Uranus.

Planets in order of size

This is another order when planets take different positions than that of the distance from the Sun.

Mercury happens to be the smallest planet in the Solar System with a radius of 2.4 km.

The second smallest planet is Mars with a radius of 3,389.5 km. Scientists believe that Mars has become so small because of the gravitational pull of Jupiter, its giant neighbor. Jupiter’s gravity caused Mars’s small size while it was forming billions of years ago.

Some planets are very close in size like Venus with a diameter of 6,051.8 km and Earth with a diameter of 6,371 km. It is the same case with Uranus, 25,362 km in radius, and Neptune, 24,622 km in radius. Each pair of these planets is called near-twins.

Now, putting planets in order of their size would come up this way: Mercury, Mars, Venus, Earth, Neptune, Uranus, Saturn, and Jupiter. This is also the same planet arrangement in order of mass.

Planets in order of orbital speed

Orbital speed is how fast a planet orbits the Sun. Every object in the Solar System is attracted to the Sun by its gravitational pull. That means, the closer an object is to the Sun, the stronger the Sun’s gravitational pull. This also means that the stronger the gravitational pull on a planet, the faster the planet revolves around the Sun.

Such orbital speed also determines how long a planet takes to complete one orbit around the Sun. This is called the solar year. So when a planet is fast, it takes a short time to orbit the Sun. So, fast planets have short solar years, and vice versa.

That is why Mercury is the fastest planet with an orbital speed of 47.36 km/s. Mercury also has the shortest solar year of 88 earth days. Likewise, Neptune is the slowest planet. It goes around the Sun at a speed of 5.43 km/s. That is why Neptune’s solar year is the longest. It is equal to 60225 earth days (Earth’s solar year as you know is 365.25 days)

So, planets in order of their orbital speed are: Mercury, Venus, Earth, Mars, Jupiter, Saturn, Uranus, and Neptune. This is also the same planet arrangement when put in order of their distance from the Sun.

Planets in order of day length

Three paragraphs ago, we defined a solar year as the period taken by one planet to complete one revolution around the Sun. A planet takes one whole day to complete one rotation around its axis.

And this is where the fun begins! When it comes to putting planets in order of their day length, things get a little jumbled. For example, Jupiter completes one rotation around its axis in only 10 hours. Then comes Saturn with 10 hours and 42 minutes, Neptune with 16 hours and 6 minutes, and Uranus with 17 hours and 14 minutes.

We know that Earth’s day lasts 24 hours. That means the giant planets of the Solar System have shorter days than that of Earth. In sixth place, we have Mars with 24 hours and 37 minutes. After that is Mercury whose day equals 58 earth days, 15 hours, and 30 minutes.

In eighth place, we have Venus whose day equals 243 earth days! This is quite insane, you know why? Because Venus’s year is 224 earth days! Venus’s year is shorter than its day! And this is because Venus travels around the Sun faster than it rotates around itself.

So planets’ arrangement in order of their day length comes like this: Jupiter, Saturn, Neptune, Uranus, Earth, Mars, Mercury, and Venus.

All in all

After we have learned about the different orders in which we can put the eight planets of our Solar System, here’s a table vision of them all.

Distance from
the Sun
(closest to furthest)
Heat
(hottest to coldest)
Size, diameter,
and mass
(smallest to biggest)
Orbital speed (fastest to slowest)Year length (shortest to longest)Day length (shortest to longest)
MercuryVenusMercuryMercuryMercuryJupiter
VenusMercuryMarsVenusVenusSaturn
EarthEarthVenusEarthEarthNeptune
MarsMarsEarthMarsMarsUranus
JupiterJupiterNeptuneJupiterJupiterEarth
SaturnSaturnUranusSaturnSaturnMars
UranusNeptuneSaturnUranusUranusMercury
NeptuneUranusJupiterNeptuneNeptuneVenus

Did you notice how many orders are the same?

Conclusion

In this article, we discussed how the Solar System formed. We learned about the different space bodies that orbit the Sun. We also studied planets in a bit of detail.

After that, we learned the astounding story of the planets’ discovery. Italian astronomer Galileo made great contributions in discovering Mercury, Venus, Mars, Jupiter, and Neptune. We also understood where each planet got its name and how those names are related to the features of the planets.

Lastly, we demonstrated five different orders to arrange the planets. These orders gave us multiple interesting information about the planets. For example, Neptune has the longest year and Venus has the longest day.

The Solar System is as mysterious as it is enchanting. Humans have always looked at the sky and wondered what those teeny-tiny sparkles were. This curiosity has inspired astronomers to work hard and explore the Solar System.

So every time you see the Moon in the night sky or use your school telescope to spot Jupiter, or go to a stargazing spot during a meteor shower in summer, remember all those great astronomers who devoted their lives to exploring the Solar System and tell us about the enchanting universe we are floating in.

If we talk about the weather, we should talk about the sky and the air outside how they look. We see and feel the weather around us every day. When you ask about the weather, you can get various answers depending on what time it is and which season we are in.

The Weather Around Us
The Weather Around Us

Weather is the state of the air and atmosphere at a particular place and time. Weather can change from place to place, from season to season, from day tonight. The weather is something that we experience and feel every day, so it is very important to understand it at an early age. 

Explaining the weather for kids can be a fun and dynamic experience. You can find a variety of content everywhere to explain what weather is for all ages. The weather includes sun, rain, snow, and wind. Weather occurs as the Earth is heated unevenly by the sun. That means these temperature changes that occur winds to form, which blow hot or cold air. The wind is also responsible for causing the formation of clouds through precipitation and storms.

There are Four Types of Weather

Sunny

When the weather is sunny, that means that the sky is full of sun. The sun’s energy affects the air pressure and the temperature. Sun gives us the power to do our activities. 

Sunny

The plants need sunlight to grow. Plants make their food by sunlight, this process is “called photosynthesis”. When the sun is up and shining, most of the animals and reptiles come out to raise their body temperatures and become active. Sunny days are not always hot. Sometimes, they can be cool depending on which season we are in.

Cloudy

Cloudy

Clouds are a huge mass of water vapor. Clouds make a barrier between the sun and us. When there are clouds in the sky, the sun isn’t able to shine and keep the environment warm. It can be warm on a cloudy day when the clouds trap heat near the surface. Clouds are often connected with rain, when we see the sky full of clouds we think of rain. 

Windy

The wind is the air that moves from one place where there is high pressure to another place where there is low pressure, which means when air is under pressure, it starts to move.

Windy

What is the Meaning of “Under Pressure”?

Imagine you are blowing up a balloon, as you blow the air inside the balloon, the balloon blows but when the pressure increases it can pop.

The wind blows when air is pushed into smaller spaces of areas. When the weather is stormy, there is a strong wind and heavy rain.

Rainy

Rain is water droplets that fall from the cloud. When the water droplets from the clouds became too heavy, they fall to the ground. When it’s raining the streets become wet and we find fresh air around us. When the air temperature gets near freezing or below, the snowfalls. All things around you become white. It might be hail, hail is formed when the water freezes. That time you can find ice balls around you. 

Rainy

The Four Seasons

The weather changes from season to season. We have four seasons in the year: Spring, Summer, Winter, and Autumn. Let’s see what is the difference between the four seasons: 

Spring

Spring is famous for its warm weather. Spring sits between Winter and Summer. Spring is celebrated with festivals in many cultures. In Spring plants, trees, and flowers grow, bud and bloom. Trees start to sprout new leaves. Animals are also affected too, they come out of their winter hibernation and begin their nesting and reproducing activities.

Summer

Summer is the hottest of the four seasons, coming after spring and before Autumn. High humidity during the Summer is called a heatwave. There are many things to do in Summer like going to the beach, exercising, eating ice cream. Most people love to do activities in Summer. The night is shorter in Summer.

Autumn

Autumn, is also known as Fall. Its temperature transitions between Summer heat and Winter cold. Autumn sits between Summer and Winter. The leaves fall from the trees at that time, so it is also called fall. 

Do you know that animals collect their food in Autumn in preparation for the coming Winter??? 

In Winter day and night are equals.

Winter

Winter is the coldest season of the year. Winter is the season, which comes between Autumn and Spring. The word Winter comes from an old Germanic word that means the time of water. The weather is very cold and sometimes it rains and snows. The animals start hibernation. Trees and plants stop growing. Nights are longer in winter.

Tsunamis

What’s a Tsunami? 

A tsunami is an enormous wave, which is caused by an underwater earthquake and/or a volcanic explosion. Sometimes the waves reach heights of over 100 feet (30.5 meters). Most tsunamis about 80 percent happen in the Pacific Ocean. Because of such large waves, some people can’t compare tsunamis to tidal waves.

Tsunami

When we hear about Tsunami, we are in a great panic. It is important to know the signs of a Tsunami as it is considered a natural disaster. This is a common mistake due to the large nature of the wave itself, but there are nuanced differences that separate the two from each other. 

For example, Tidal waves are occurs by the moon, sun, or planet tides. This occurs the wind moves over the water with typical waves. The major difference is the water flow. As waves of tsunamis flow straight, they became more damaging and worrying.

Do you know that the word tsunami originates from a Japanese word, which means “A great harbor wave? 

Earthquakes

What are Earthquakes?

Earthquakes are sudden shakes of the ground caused by the crossing of seismic waves through Earth’s rocks. When some form of energy is stored in Earth’s crust, seismic waves are suddenly released. About 50,000 earthquakes occur annually in different countries. The size of the earthquake indicates the damage that will happen. 

Earthquake

The Size of Earthquakes

  • When the earthquake magnitudes start from 2.5 to 5.4, you often feel it and it only causes little damage.
  • When the earthquake magnitudes start from 5.5 to 6.0, it causes slight damage to buildings and other structures.
  • When the earthquake magnitudes start from 6.1 to 6.9, it causes a lot of damage in very populated areas.
  • When the earthquake magnitudes start from 7.0 to 7.9, it causes serious damage.

How do we Measure Earthquakes?

The instruments, which we are used to calculate earthquakes are known as seismographs. 

What are Seismographs’ Jobs?

Seismograph

Seismographs are used to monitor the seismic waves, which travel through the Earth after an earthquake begin.

Do you know how Seismographs calculate information about earthquakes? 

Modern seismometers have three elements to determine simultaneous movement. They are settled in a very solid position. Each direction of movement gives accurate information about the earthquake. 

The Three Directions are: 

1-Up-down. 

2-North-south. 

3-East-west. 

The instrument is made up of:

1- A-weighted pin.

2- Spring.

When earthquakes begin, these tools can record the vibrations from the earthquake. They make lines from the pen onto paper creating a record of the earthquake. This record is known as a seismogram.  

It is considered an effective way of discovering the size of the earthquake. So If the earthquake is small, the pen will make a short, wiggly line. And if it’s a big earthquake, it will be a long wiggly line. From here we know the accuracy magnitude of earthquakes.

Thunder and Lightning

What are Thunder and Lightning?

Thunder is a loud rumbling noise heard, it’s the sound that comes from lighting. Lightning is a discharge of electricity. A single shot of lightning can heat the air around it to 30,000°C. The lightning quickly heated the air.

Thunder and Lightning

Intense heating causes the hot air, the hot air quickly expands into cooler air around it, which makes a shock wave so we hear thunder. Lightning does not always create thunder. Lightning is the most effective element of a thunderstorm.

Weather is an interesting topic for kids. From early childhood, they are exposed to simple information about weather. They also feel the change in the weather in different seasons. Winter is one of the four seasons, and we witness a lot of changes happen during it.

Kids can notice the changes in winter weather. There are some interesting facts about winter for kids. For example, trees stop growing in winter. There are many questions as well in kids’ minds about winter. For example, What is the least temperature recorded in winter?

In this article, kids can find almost all the information they are curious to know about winter in a simple way that matches their age levels. For instance, what are some winter sports? How do some certain animals live in winter? 

When Does Winter Begin?

Winter begins on the winter solstice, the point in the sky occupied by the sun on or about December 22nd when winter begins in the northern hemisphere. This is the day with the fewest hours of daylight. On the other hand, it is the 21st or 22nd of June in the Southern hemisphere.

What is the Weather Like in Winter?

Winter is the coldest weather in the four seasons of the year. Daytime is shorter than nighttime during winter. In some countries, snowfalls in winter. Blizzards blow in winter too. Winter storms happen as well in winter when freezing rain, ice, and snow happen over a few hours.

Snowflakes can be seen in winter. The size of snowflakes varies from smaller than a penny to a giant crystal. Sleet is one of the weather features in winter. Sleet is frozen rain and it freezes when the air is cold.

Changes in weather happen according to the distance between the region and the equator. Regions at the equator have warm temperatures and stable weather conditions.

On the other hand, the temperature in the South and North poles is always cold because they are the farthest points from the equator. The North and South poles are always dark even in the daytime in winter.

Some Interesting Facts about Winter

  • Winter storms receive power when two air masses of different temperatures and moisture levels crash. 
  • Winter storms result in many feet of snow.
  • A blizzard is an extended snowstorm with very strong winds and intense snowfall.
  • The Sun seems bigger in winter than in summer.
  • Trees don’t grow in winter and they lose their leaves.
  • Nights are definitely longer in winter than in summer.
  • Some animals fully hibernate in winter, others just became inactive.
  • Some birds hibernate in winter, others migrate to warmer regions
  • During winter the North Pole reaches -40 degrees Fahrenheit.
  • Snowflakes have 6 sides regardless of the designs.
  • Snow is colourless, it reflects the light that falls on it. 
  • Aomori, in Japan, received the biggest number of snowfalls in the world.
  • Canada hosts an International Hair Freezing competition every February. 
  • Dry snow, moist snow, wet snow, very wet snow, and slush or snow are the 5 types of snow.
  • The Mississippi River entirely froze in1899.

Animal Hibernating in Winter

Some animals hibernate during winter due to the weather conditions. This happens mainly when there is not enough food supply and the temperature becomes colder. So, animals prefer to stay inactive or sleep for long periods until it gets warmer and they can wander about. 

Let’s have a look at some examples of these animals!

Chipmunks

A Chipmunk

Chipmunks are tiny creatures belonging to the squirrel family. They eat nuts, insects and berries. They live in different habitats and are good tree climbers. They can live in mountains, deserts, and forests. There are 25 species of chipmunks. 
In winter, chipmunks hibernate in their dens. The dens are small holes, 3-feet under the ground. They can collect food fast and store it in order not to go out of their dens in the cold weather. It is hard for them to arouse from a deep sleep. Their body temperature drops in winter as well.

Bears

In winter, bears hibernate in their dens. They dig their dens under the bushes of trees, in caves, in hillsides or even hollow trees. They hibernate when there is not enough food. They change their dens every winter, meaning that they don’t hibernate in the same place every winter. 

Bears sleep heavily during winter. They don’t get up again before spring. When they are up again, they feed on the dead animals that couldn’t survive in winter. 

Bats

Bats become weird when they fly low during daylight because they don’t see well during the day. They have small eyes and they see better when they fly at night. They look like black rats with wings. The wings resemble the rubber.

Some bats hibernate in winter when there is not enough food. They can hibernate in any warm place, like hollow trees, barns or caves. Their temperature can drop down near-freezing temperatures. 

They drop their temperature to lower the amount of energy they spend. So, they live on the fat stored in their bodies. They don’t come out until mid-day. 

Box Turtles

Box turtles can be found in North America. They mainly live in Mesic woodlands. They warm their bodies from the air, water, or ground surrounding them. They need to stay warm so they can go and get their food.

They have a top domed-shaped shell and a bottom flat shell. They have no teeth. They are of different sizes. They feed on worms, snails and other insects, vegetables, and fungi. 

In winter, Box turtles hibernate in their unique way. They crawl inside their shell. They spend almost 3 to 4 months inside their shell. They stop eating 14 days before they hibernate. They come out only to drink water, then they go back into their shells.

Bumblebees

Bumblebees live in large groups. They are similar to honey bees, but they are somehow larger in size and fuzzy with short wings. Bumblebees travel in groups of 50 to 500 bumblebees at one time. Up to 400 bumblebees live in the same nest.

Before winter, all bumblebees die. It is only the queen bumblebee that hibernates until the spring. The queen doesn’t eat during hibernation because it has enough fat to go to sleep and stay healthy.

Garter Snake

Garter snakes are one of the less dangerous types of snakes. They are of different colours and some have yellowish or greenish stripes down the front. They are small in size. 

In winter, Garter snakes use woodlands, grassy areas, and meadows as homes to hibernate. More than 8000 snakes can be found in the same den. They usually hibernate from late October to March or early April.

Hedgehog

Hedgehogs are nocturnal creatures because they sleep during the day and get up during the night. They feed on worms, insects, snails, frogs and snakes. They are called hedgehogs because they build their nests in hedges and bushes and they make a snorting sound.

Some kinds of hedgehogs hibernate in winter because there is not enough food and the weather gets cold. Their body temperature drops down to cope with the temperature of the surrounding environment.

 Land Snail

Snails vary in colour, shape, and size. They have a soft slimy body that is protected with a hard shell. Snails have heads, necks, visceral humps, tails, and feet. When snails feel threatened they hide inside the shell.

Snails hibernate in winter because food becomes scarce. They dig their dens under rocks, in leaves, or corners of buildings. Sometimes they hibernate in groups. They can hibernate from 4 to 5 months.

Fat-Tailed Dwarf Lemurs

Fat-Tailed Dwarf Lemurs live in the dry forest areas of western and southern Madagascar. They have tiny noses, big eyes, and human-like hands. They are called fat-tailed because they store the food they eat in their tails.

Fat-Tailed Dwarf Lemurs hibernate in winter for almost 7 months. They build their nests in tree holes. During hibernation, their body temperature matches the temperature of the surrounding environment. Their heartbeat also drops. 

Wood Frogs

Wood frogs live in the forests. They can be found in Alaska and above the Arctic Circle. They feed on whatever is available in the forests. They have a tan, rust, or brown colour body with a dark eye mask. 

Wood frogs hibernate during the winter strangely because they can freeze but not die. They also bury themselves anywhere under the ground where they live. They stop breathing completely and their heartbeat also stops.

Common Poorwill

Common Poorwills are somehow similar to the owl in the appearance of its face. They can use camouflage to protect themselves because their colours are mixed with black, grey, and brown. They can be found from British Columbia and southeastern Alberta, through the western United States to northern Mexico.

Common Poorwills are the only kind of birds that hibernate in winter. They hide in piles of rocks at the foothills. They hibernate from weeks that can be extended to months. Their breathing, body temperature and heart rate drop down during hibernating. 

Skunks

Skunks are white and black fluffy tailed creatures that spray a horrible smell when they are afraid. They like to feed on plants and animal matter. Their habitats are usually hollow trees and logs. 

Skunks don’t fully hibernate in winter. However, they become less active. They prefer to dig holes in a warm, dark home including under a deck, porch or shed, in a hollow log, or tree stump. They sometimes stay in groups to keep each other warm.

Deer Mice

Deer mice are small in size. They have big beady black eyes and little pointed noses. They feed on seeds, small fruits and berries, beetles, caterpillars, grasshoppers, leafhoppers, and underground fungus. They live in hollow tree logs or piles of garbage.

Deer mice don’t fully hibernate. They seek warm places to hide and find heat, food, and water. They become a bit inactive in winter. They usually store food in their nests in order not to come out in the cold weather. They tend to hibernate between October and February.

Prairie Dogs

Prairie dogs are not real dogs. They are rather small rodents. They live in homes and villages underground. However, they leave a space for light to come in so they can watch the prey. They feed on flowering plants, seeds, grass, roots, and insects.

Prairie dogs don’t fully hibernate. They usually come out searching for food. They tend to become inactive during the night especially when the weather is cold. The colder it gets, the deeper they hibernate.

Ground Squirrel

Ground Squirrels are tiny rodents. They are brown with tints of grey and off-white spots on their back. They are similar to squirrels; they have long bushy tails and sharp claws. They make use of their sharp claws to dig and climb. They use whistling as a way of communication with each other.

Ground squirrels hibernate in winter. They are used to hibernating in their underground homes during the winter months. They don’t fully hibernate. Instead, they become less active. Their body temperatures and heart rate drop while hibernating. 

Raccoons

Raccoons belong to the mammal family. They can be found in multiple places around the world. They have front paws, facial ‘masks’, and striped tails. They live in empty buildings and garages. They feed on fruits, seeds, nuts, birds’ eggs and plants.

In Winter, raccoons don’t actually hibernate, instead, they grow thick coats to keep them warm and sleep for extended periods. They store fats in their bodies in the fall to provide them with the required energy in winter.

Fun Facts about Birds in Winter

There are many different species of birds all over the world. They also differ in size, shape and colour. Some of the common features of birds are that they are warm-blooded, lay eggs, have feathers, and have wings. Here are some facts about birds in winter:

  • Birds usually migrate to warmer places in winter. 
  • They migrate in flocks. A flock is a large group of birds.
  • Some species of birds grow more feathers to feel warm in winter. This technique is called ‘more down’
  • Some birds become less active in winter to save energy. This technique is called ‘slow down.’
  • Some birds prefer to gather at night to keep each other warm. This technique is called ‘gather around.’
  • Birds need fresh water in winter. Although some birds can eat snow and change it to water, they still need a lot of energy to do that.
  • Some birds store food, like nuts and seeds for winter. Sometimes they feed on bugs and insects that can be found around.
  • Some Birds keep eating during nice weather to avoid coming out of their nests in winter.
  • Some other species of birds shiver in order to bring on the heat.
  • Some birds direct the blood in their bodies to the most important organs like the heart and lungs. 
  • Some birds can lower their body temperature to match the surrounding environment. 
  • Some birds don’t fully hibernate, but they go into a deep sleep at night.

Interesting Facts about Plants in Winter

  • The Chinese plum blossom blooms in cold weather. It is considered the national flower of the Republic of China.
  • Deciduous trees lose their leaves in winter to save much-needed water.
  • Trees can incredibly sense changes in weather.
  • Trees also stop the cells from freezing by moving water from inside the cell to tiny spaces outside of the cells.
  • Trees lose their leaves where water evaporates from plants.
  • Conifers reduce the loss of water from their surface through their leaves that resemble needles with thick, waxy coatings.
  • Valves and other evergreen trees close the freezing cells tightly in order not to affect the nearby cells. 

Interesting Facts about Winter Olympics

France hosted the first Winter Olympics in 1924. They are held in winter. They contain sports that are played on ice, like skating and ice hockey. The first international sports event to be held in winter was called Nordic Games. Here’s a list of sports in the Winter Olympics:

  • Alpine skiing
  • Biathlon
  • Bobs eigh
  • Cross country
  • Curling
  • Figure skating
  • Freestyle skiing
  • Ice Hockey
  • Luge
  • Nordic combine
  • Short track
  • Skeleton
  • Ski jumping
  • Snowboard
  • Speed skating

Let’s mention some interesting facts about Winter Olympics:

  • Winter Olympics are held every 4 years, the same as Summer Olympics.
  • Around 250 athletes participated in the first Winter Olympics from 16 countries. 
  • Cross-country skiing, ski jumping, and ice hockey were among the other 16 events held at the festival.
  • Women were only allowed to compete in figure skating in the first Winter Olympics. Later in 1948, skiing became one of the sports available for women in the Winter Olympics.
  • The Americas, Europe, and Asia are the only continents that hosted the Winter Olympics.
  • Beijing will host the Winter Olympics in 2020.
  • First placed athletes win gold medals. Second place athletes win silver medals. Third place winners win bronze medals. 
  • Norway collected the biggest number of medals in the Winter Olympics in South Korea in 2018.

What are the Winter Sports?

Winter sports refer to any sport that can be practiced in winter mainly on ice or snow. Nowadays, winter sports have a large popularity among people especially in the countries that have the appropriate weather. Some resorts tend to offer winter sports to attract people’s attention.

Let’s talk about some of these sports!

Ice Skating

Ice skating is a kind of sport practiced in winter on snow or ice. People who practice ice skating have to wear special shoes called ice skates. Ice skates developed through time from a skate made from a shank or rib of bones of some animals like oxen and reindeers to today’s skate that is made from narrow pieces of metal on the bottom of the shoes.

There are two forms of ice skating: figure skating and speed skating. Figure skating is concerned with the performance of different jumps, spins, and dance movements. Speed skating is mainly concerned with racing on ice skates.

Skiing

Skiing was first discovered in Russia between 8000 and 7000 bc. People who practice skiing use skis to glide on snow weather as a means of transportation or a kind of winter sport. Skis are a pair of narrow strips of wood, metal, or plastic and are used with special boots connected to them with a binding.

There are two types of skiing: downhill skiing and cross country skiing. Downhill skiing is the most popular type. Skiers ski down a run on the side of a mountain or hill. Runs are marked with signs to represent the difficulty of the run. Green refers to the easiest run, blue refers to a more difficult run, finally black represents the most difficult run.

Snowboarding

Snowboarding is somehow similar to skiing. The rider stands on a snowboard attached to his/her feet and descends a mountain covered with snow. Riders have to wear protective clothes against the cold weather, like ski goggles and helmets. 

There are different styles of snowboarding. Freeride, freestyle, and free carve/race are the most popular styles of snowboarding nowadays. Each style has its technique and tools. There are also two possible positions to stand on the board, the regular one and the ‘goofy one’. The rider has to put his left foot at the back in the goofy position.

Sledding Sport

Sledding is also called sledge or sleigh. It is a type of vehicle that slides over ice or snow. Some sleds move on smooth and narrow runners. Some have iron or wooden bottoms. Others are drawn by reindeer or dogs. 
There are different types of sleds, Tobogganing, Bobsledding, Luging, Skeleton Sledding, and Dogsled Racing. Some designs are used for different purposes, like transporting passengers or goods. Sleds are also used as fun activities.

Bobsledding

The first Bobsledding competition was held in Switzerland in 1898. It is one of the sports available in the Winter Olympic Games. It is a team sport consisting of 2 or 4 teams. Riders use ice tracks with sleds.

Modern Bobsleigh tracks are made of concrete and coated with ice. The tracks are a minimum of 1500 meters long and must have a maximum of 15 curves. Heavier sleighs are faster. Women were allowed to participate in the bobsleigh in 2002.

Ice Hockey

It is a team sport that is played on ice. It is considered one of the winter sports. The players wear ice skates on their feet and hold hockey sticks to shoot around the ice. They skate at a very high speed. Each team consists of more than 20 players, but only 5 players play at once. 

Ice hockey is popular in the Unites States, Canada, Russia, Sweden, and Finland. Players usually have skates and sticks. They wear protective pieces of cloth like a helmet, shoulder pads, elbow pads, mouth guard, protective gloves, heavily padded pants, and leg guards.

Bandy

Bandy is a winter sport. It is a team sport played on ice. Players use a ball, unlike ice hockey where they use a puck. The team consists of 11 players. The game is divided into 2 halves, each half is 45 minutes. 

The Federation of International Bandy sets the rules for the game. Bandy World Championship for men started in 1957. The Federation International Bandy includes 32 countries. 

Curling

Curling is one of the winter sports. It consists of 2 teams. Each team has 4 players. They play on an ice field. They slide curling stones on the ice towards the house which is the target. Each team slides 8 stones and the winning team is the one with the stones close to the center of the house. 

The player can control the speed of the stone. Two other players of the team sweep the ice with brooms to make the stone stop at the right place. Curling stones are heavy because they are made of granite. The player controls the stone by the handle on the top of the stone.

Snowmobile

A snowmobile is also called a snow machine, motor sled, or skimobile. It is a motorized vehicle that works on snow or ice to travel in winter or as a fun activity. People usually drive on an open area or on a track.

Snowmobile became a popular sport. It is now considered a fun outdoor winter activity. Old snowmobiles were designed to take 2 people while the recent ones have a space for only one person. 

Conclusion

Winter, which begins on the winter solstice, is the coldest season throughout the year. All living things, including plants, birds and animals, prepare for winter. Hibernating is one of the adaptations methods for animals and birds.

Humans enjoy the winter season by joining different fun activities, like skating and snowboarding. Winter Olympics became popular with all its winter sports and people compete from different countries all over the world. Although winter is chilly, there is still a lot of fun sliding on the snow and ice.

History of Lightning

Lightning is considered one of the oldest observed natural phenomena on earth. Ancient people mostly always believed in nature gods. Some ancient people believed that God was responsible for lightning, others believed that angry gods threw lightning bolts from the heavens. 

Do you know that the Early Greeks believed that lightning was a weapon of Zeus? So in the past, no one knew the fact of lightning. By the 1700s scientists proved that lightning is a bright flash of electricity produced by a thunderstorm.

Lightning For Kids
Lightning

Lightning

is a huge, bright flash of electricity in the atmosphere that happens between the clouds, the air, or the ground. Ice particles and water droplets, which are inside a cloud carry electrical charges, some are positive and others are negative. Air is considered as a barrier between the positive and negative charges in the cloud and between the cloud and the ground.

Lighting usually happens when the opposite charges build up enough in the clouds. To equalize these opposite charges, the positive charges form under the cloud on the ground. The sparkle flash of lightning very fast equalizes the negative and positive charges in the atmosphere until the opposite charges are set up again.

When the electricity from the lightning heats the gases in the air, the gases expand and make a loud noise. The loud noise, which follows lightning is called thunder.

All lightning that is produced from thunderstorms is very dangerous. So if you hear the booming sound of thunder, then you may be in danger. Not all lightning is dangerous. 

Do you know that….!!!
  • Lightning hits the ground 25 million times a year which means about 50 to 100 lightning bolts may strike the Earth every second. 
  • A lightning flash has enough energy to light a 100-watt bulb for about 3 months. 
  • Lightning is approximately six times hotter than the surface of the sun!

Lightning Color

Lightning is always bright in white color, but often it’s tinged with another color around the edges. Lightning may come in different colors of the rainbow “Red, Yellow, Green, Cyan, Blue, and Violet”. Lighting color depends on conditions in the clouds and in the air.

The color of a lightning stroke depends on how hot it is and what is in the clouds and in the air. Lightning color starts with red and ends with violet, which is considered the hottest. Let’s see:

  • Yellow or Orange lightning: point out that there is a large concentration of dust in the air.
  • Blue lightning: inside a cloud, points out the presence of hail.
  • Red lightning: inside a cloud, points out the presence of rain.
  • White lightning: indicates that the air has a little amount of moisture “humidity”.

What are Cloud Flashes?

Cloud flashes are lightning that occurs inside the cloud which travels from one part of a cloud to another, or from the cloud to the air.

Thunder

is mainly caused by lightning. When a lightning blot travels from the cloud to the ground it makes a little hole in the air called a channel. At the moment when the light is gone, the air breaks down again and occurs a booming sound of thunder.

Do you know why we see lightning before we hear thunder??????

That’s because light travels faster than sound.

Lightning Blot

What is a “stepped leader”?

A stepped leader is negatively charged particles that come from the cloud, it moves in many directions trying to find the path of least resistance. Stepped leader speed reached two hundred thousand “200,000” miles per hour.

There are several types of lightning. You can identify the type by what is at the flash channel start and end. Here are some of the lightning types:
Cloud-to-Ground Lightning (CG) 

All of you kids think that Cloud-to-ground lightning comes from the sky, but in fact, it comes from the ground up. It is a channel of a negative charge that is called a stepped leader. It takes the zigzag or forked pattern, so it is sometimes called forked lightning. The stepped leader is not easy to see by eye, it is so fast and travels to the ground in a millisecond. 

When the negative charge of the stepped leader became near the ground it attracts a channel of positive charge “steamer”. It starts moving upward from the ground tries to find tall objects such as a tree, house, or telephone pole. When the charges of leader and streamer connect, a powerful electrical current begins to flow.

Cloud-to-Air Lightning (CA)

Cloud to air lightning occurs when negatively charged air particles are attracted to positive charges inside the cloud. Cloud-to-Ground lightning contains Cloud-to-Air lightning through the branches, which reach the main channel into the mid-air. 

The flashes of Clouds sometimes have visible channels which reached out into the air around the storm but do not strike the ground.

Ground-to-Cloud Lightning (GC) 

It is an invisible channel of electrically charged air moving from the cloud directly to the ground. Its strikes sometimes called upward-moving lightning, they are common on tall structures such as towers and skyscrapers.

How does the Visible Lightning Strike produce?

When a separate channel closes an object on the ground, a powerful wave of electricity from the ground moves upward to the clouds and produces that visible lightning strike.

Do you know that the ground is mainly made up of positively charged particles, and storm clouds have negatively charged particles? Negatively charged in Ground-to-Cloud Lightning follow positively charged particles.

The polarity of the Ground-to-Cloud Lightning can be either positive or negative. Ground to cloud lightning and cloud to ground lightning are nearly the same. The name depends on the flash itself.

Cloud-to-Cloud Lightning (CC) or Intercloud Lightning

Cloud to cloud (CC) or intercloud lightning happens between two clouds, one carries a positive and the other carries a negative charge. These obviously do not strike the ground so they just travel from cloud to cloud.

Intracloud Lightning (IC)

Intracloud lightning is often called “sheet lightning that’s because of the appearance of its discharge lighting, which lights up the sky like a sheet of light. It is the most common type of cloud that mainly occurs inside a cloud and jumps between different charge areas in the cloud.

FRANKLIN’S LIGHTNING ROD

Have you heard about lightning rods one day? Do you know who Benjamin Franklin is?

Who was Benjamin Franklin?

Benjamin Franklin was an American inventor and politician. He had many inventions such as Urinary Catheter, American Celebrity, Swim Fins, The Odometer, American Political, Cartooning, Glass Armonica, Reaching Device, Franklin Stove, Bifocal, Eyeglasses, and the Lightning Rod. Benjamin Franklin was fond of storms and loved to study them. Lightning Rod was one of his great inventions. 

What is the Lightning Rod?

A lightning rod is an external terminal set up in a building or structure. The main purpose of a lightning rod is to attract the lightning to prevent it from striking a building, structure, or people. You can find many types of lighting rods with different characteristics. 

How does the Lightning Rod work?

By the 1700s Benjamin Franklin invented a gorgeous invention called the “ lightning rod”. Before that invention, the houses were burned out from lightning strikes. One day in May 1752 a thunderstorm passed over the village of Marly-la-Ville “Philadelphia” and destroyed many buildings.

Benjamin Franklin was ready for this storm and waited for it. He prepared the tools for his experiment. Here are the tools he used in his invention:

  1. Kite made of silk cord.
  2. Hemp string.
  3. Silk string. 
  4. House key. 
  5. Wire. 

First, Franklin built a simple kite and connected a wire to the top of it. At the bottom of the kite, he tied a hemp string, and silk string. After that Franklin attached the key to the hemp string. Then they waited. Franklin’s son helped him to fly the kite in the air through the thunderstorm.

Franklin noticed that the free threads of the hemp string were upstanding, just as they suspended on a common conductor. Also when he moved his finger close to the key, he felt a spark because the electricity reached the key. The negative charges in the metal piece attracted the positive charges in his hand, so he felt 09othis spark.

From this point, Franklin proved some points:
  • The metal key was electrostatically charged.
  • The clouds were electrically charged.
  • The lightning strikes were large electrostatic discharges.
The portion of lightning rod designed by Benjamin Franklin

As a result of this discovery, in 1753 Franklin invented the lightning rod and it became a great invention at that time. Lightning rods saved many houses and structures from destroying and burning.

What is Fulgurite?

Fulgurite is a glassy formation that happed by a lightning strike on sandy soil. The lightning heats the soil and mixes the soil particles, which surround the path of the channel and cause a hollow tube-lined formation shaped like the lightning strike that formed it.

What is the difference between Thunder and Lightning?

Lightning Thunder
MeansThe flashing of light that is produced by a discharge ”positive and negative charge” of atmospheric electricity.The sound that follows lightning because of a sudden expansion of the air in the way of the electrical discharge.
EnergyElectrical energy.Sound energy.
MovementLight travels faster than sound. You can see the lightning first. Lightning is fast and too hot. It is more destructive than thunder.Thunder is slower than lightning. You can see thunder after lightning. Thunder causes heavy rain and strong winds. It is not dangerous as lightning.

Formation
Lightning is formed when water and ice particles hit with warm air and build up static energy. Thunder is formed by the quick expansion of gases in the electrical charge of lightning.

What is Volcanic Lightning?

Volcanic lightning is known as “Dirty Thunderstorms”. It is able to produce some of the most powerful lightning storms on Earth.  

Volcanic eruptions don’t always produce lightning. Just a single eruption can produce multiple or separate lightning storms.  

Scientists discovered that lightning seems to be explosions throughout the eruption, however, not all explosions occur lightning. They also observed that most of the strong lightning happens at the beginning of the eruption and after that lightning progressively less in intensity as the eruption continued, it may take weeks to stop.

Facts about Lightning and Thunder

  • Thunderstorms are always a result of lightning, so you can’t see and hear a thunderstorm without lightning. On the other hand, you can see lightning without a thunderstorm. 
  • Thunder is sometimes called “heat lightning” because it always happens in the summer.
  • Lightning can have 100 million to 1 billion volts and contains billions of watts.
  • Positive lightning is stronger than negative lightning because of its electrical field. And due to its long flash duration and its great peak charge, positive lightning is considered more dangerous than negative lightning.
  • Lightning happens more in the summer due to the humidity in the atmosphere. The land surface is warm in summer, so warm air keeps more water vapor. The water vapor condenses into liquid water cloud drops, the latent heat is released to occur thunderstorm.  Moist and warm air near the surface can cause deep convection that may produce lightning.
  • Thunderstorms are less common in the winter, and sometimes lightning can happen during snowstorms. 
  • Lightning hit the same spot more than one time.
  • Lightning hit taller objects more than shorter objects to produce the upward channel.

What is the 30-30 Rule for Lightning?

It is considered an easy way to determine the lightning in our area. First, if you see lightning start, begin counting to 30. Then, count the seconds between seeing lightning and hearing thunder.

If this second is less than 30 seconds so this lightning is so harmful. At this time you should quickly search for a safe place to hide in.

Lightning Tips for Kids

Here are some tips, which help you to protect yourself from harmful Lightning: 
  • You can protect yourself from harmful lightning by staying indoors during the storm. Indoors means a safe place such as homes, enclosed shelters, offices, and shopping centers.
  • Always follow up the weather forecast to know what’s the news about the weather.
  • During thunderstorms, you should delay any activity outdoors.
  • Don’t forget the 30-30 rule. 
  • If you are stuck in an open area, try hard to find a safe place to stay in. you can get low, sit down, or crunch that may help you to stay safe but not remove you from danger.
  •  If you are stuck outside and there is no safe place to hide, the following actions may remove the danger from you:
  1. If you are in elevated areas such as hills, or peaks, you should leave it instantly.
  2. Don’t lie flat on the ground just crouch down, tuck your head, and put your hands over your ears. 
  3. Don’t stay under a tree.
  4. Don’t stay on a cliff or rocky overhang.
  5. If you are swimming in a pond, sea, or pool, instantly get off the water. 
  6. Don’t stand near objects that conduct electricity such as light poles, barbed wire fences, and power lines that is because lightning can travel through any metal.
  •  Staying at home never indoors protects you from lightning. So f you are indoors “homes”, you should follow these instructions, which keep you safe and reduce your risk of being struck by lightning:
  • Stop using water during a thunderstorm such as a shower, wash dishes or any other activity with water. Lightning can travel through plumbing.
  • Turn off all electronic equipment, lightning can travel through electrical systems such as televisions, iron, air conditions.
  • During thunderstorms do not lie on concrete floors or stand on walls, lightning can travel through metal wires in concrete flooring or walls.

Let’s Do Simple Experiments

1- How to make Lightning at home?
Materials:
  • A low-watt light bulb and a ballon.
Process:
  • Make the room dark by closing the curtains and turning off the lights. 
  • Blowing up the balloon and rub it on your head.
  • The friction builds up an electrical charge just like the inside of the cloud during the storm.
  • Move the balloon closer to the end of the light bulb.
Conclusion: 
  • The light-up is similar to lightning, the negative charge from the ballon leaps across the air and is connected to positive charges inside of the light bulb, that what happened during the thunderstorm from a cloud to another cloud, or from a cloud to the ground.
2- How to Make a Spark?
Materials:
  • Pencil with an eraser.
  • Aluminum tray.
  • Your hair.
  • Styrofoam plate.
  • Thumbtack.
Process:
  • Attach the pencil with an eraser in the center of the aluminum tray by using pushpins.
  • The function of the pencil is to make like a handle “ to lift the aluminum tray”. 
  • Rub the styrofoam with your hair, you should rub it roundly, fast, and so hard for about 3 minutes.
Conclusion:
  • Hold up the aluminum tray by using the pencil handle and putting it on the Styrofoam plate.
  • You will see the spark very clearly as what you see during lightning…Try it yourself…
Common Questions about Lightning

1- What is the speed of lightning?

The flashes of lightning that we see travel at the speed of light “670,000,000 mph”. 

2- Is lightning a fire or air?

Lightning is a brilliant electric spark “fire” discharge in the atmosphere, which occurs during a thundercloud.

3- Is lightning faster than sound?

No, doubt that lightning and thunder occur at the same time. But in fact, we see lightning before hearing thunder because light travels a million times faster than sound. On the other hand, sound takes about five seconds to travel one mile.

4- Is lightning as fast as the speed of light?

No, lightning is not as fast as the speed of light. The speed of light is 299,792,458 meters per second.

5- Is lightning faster than a bullet?

Yes, if we compare lightning speed with bullet speed we will find that lightning is faster than a bullet.

6- Is lightning hotter than the sun?

Yes,  lightning is hotter than the sun, which is 5 times hotter than the surface of the sun. In fact, lightning strikes fall on a tree, it can blow off.

7- Is anything faster than light?

No, there is no object else that can travel faster than lightning.

The Chinese language is spoken by over a billion people every day. It is considered one of the world’s most functional languages. China became the largest economy in the world, so the Chinese language is one of the most useful languages you can learn. It is considered one of the earliest and oldest languages in the world.

You may face some obstacles when you start learning the Chinese alphabet, especially when you know that the Chinese language is syllabic. The Chinese language doesn’t have an alphabet like other languages, which means each character written represents a syllable in a word. 

The Chinese use thousands of symbols. They should know about 4000-5000 to master reading a newspaper. There are a lot of Chinese words that only contain one syllable.

Chinese Alphabet

What is the Chinese Language called?

The Chinese language is called Pinyin romanization “Roman Alphabet”, and also called Chinese Phonetic Alphabet. “Pinyin” is a system of romanization for the Chinese written language based on the pronunciation of the Beijing dialect of Mandarin Chinese. However, Pinyin is not Chinese.

There are two main systems of writing the Chinese alphabet: the Pinyin system by Mandarin Chinese, and the Zhuyin system used by Taiwan. The Pinyin system employs the same ABCs that English speakers use, and the Zhuyin system employs its own symbols. The pinyin system is more common in use.

There are 26 letters in the Chinese Alphabet similar to the ones we use in the English Alphabet. Sure there are many similarities between the Pinyin and English phonetic systems, but there are many differences as well.

The Chinese Alphabet and its meaning in English 

Chinese Alphabet

A 月 (yuè) moon

B 官 (guān)Official

C 匹 (pǐ)Match

D 刀 (dāo)Knife

E 三 (sān)Three

F 下 (xià)Under

G 巨 (jù)Huge

H 升 (shēng)Rise

I 工 (gōng)Work

J 丁 (dīng)Men

K 水 (shuǐ)Water

L 心 (xīn)Heart

M 冊 (cè)Book

N 內 (nèi)Within

O 口 (kǒu)Mouth

P 戶 (hù)Household

Q 已 (yǐ)Already

R 尺 (chǐ)Ruler

S 弓 (gōng)Bow

T 七 (qī)Seven

U 臼 (jiù)Molar

V 人 (rén)People

W 山 (shān)Mountain

X 父 (fù)Father

Y 了 (liǎo)To Know

Z 乙 (yǐ)Second

The Chinese alphabet split into initials, and finals. Initials start the word, and the finals end the word. Initials are consonants and finals are either vowels or start with a vowel.

If you want to speak Chinese well, you should know the English Personal Pronouns and Possessive Pronouns. In English personal pronouns are “I, you, he, she, it, we, you, they”… But in Chinese??? Let’s have a look:

Personal Pronouns and Possessive Pronouns

——- I

——- you

——  he

—— she

—— it

我们 —— we

你们 —— you 

他们 —— they

In English the Possessive Pronouns are “me, you, him, her, it, us, you, them”, Let’s see them in the Chinese Language:

Let’s Learn

我的——-my or mine

你的——-your or yours

他的——- his

她的——- her

它的——- its

我们的—— ours

你们的—— yours

他们的—— theirs

Let’s Learn Chinese Numbers

Numbers
No.CharacterPinyin
0líng
1
2èr
3sān
4
5
6liù
7
8
9jiǔ
10shí
11十一shí yī
12十二shí èr
13十三shí sān
14十四shí sì
15十五shí wǔ
16十六shí liù
17十七shí qī
18十八shí bā
19十九shí jiǔ
20二十èr shí

Let’s Learn some of Chinese Language:

Animals in Chinese Language

Animals in Chinese Language
AnimalPinyinCharacters 
RatShǔ
DragonLóng
OxNiú
Tiger
RabbitTù zǐ兔子
SnakeShé
SheepYáng
Horse
MonkeyHóu
RoosterGōng jī公鸡
DogGǒu
PigZhū

Let’s Learn Colors in Chinese Language

Colors in Chinese Language
ColorPinyinCharacter
Colorsyán sè颜色
Whitebái sè白色
Greyhuī sè灰色
Blackhēi sè黑色
Bluelán sè蓝色
Greenlǜ sè绿色
Yellowhuáng sè黄色
Redhóng sè红色
Brownzōng sè棕色
Orangechéng sè橙色
Purplezǐ sè紫色

Days of the Week in Chinese

Days of the Week in Chinese Language
DayPinyinCharacter
Daysxīng qī星期
Sundayxīng qī rì星期日
Saturdayxīng qī liù星期六
Fridayxīng qī wǔ星期五 
Thursdayxīng qī sì星期四
Wednesdayxīng qī sān星期三
Tuesdayxīng qī èr星期二 
Mondayxīng qī yī星期一 

Body Parts in the Chinese Language

Body Parts in Chinese Language
Body PartsPinyinCharacter
headtóu
faceliǎn
hairtóu fā头发
eyeyǎn
earěr duǒ耳朵
nosebí zi鼻子
mouthkǒu
handshǒu
toothyá chǐ牙齿
heartxīn zàng心脏
stomachwèi
armgē bì胳臂
footjiǎo脚 
legtuǐ

Weather and Seasons in the Chinese Language

Weather and Seasons in Chinese Language
Weather PinyinCharacter
weathertiān qì天气
windyyǒu fēng有风
cloudyduō yún多云
rainingxià yǔ下雨
sunnyqíng lǎng晴朗
snowingxià xuě下雪
coldlěng
hot
Seasons
Autumnqiū jì秋季
Winterdōng tiān冬天
Springchūn tiān春天
Summerxià tiān夏天  

The Top 10 Chinese Movies for Kids

  • Little Door Gods 小门神 (Xiǎo Mén Shén)
  • The Magic Brush 神笔马良 (shén bǐ mǎ liáng)
  • Kung Food 美食大冒险之英雄烩 (měi shí dà mào xiǎn zhī yīng xióng huì)
  • Kung Fu Boys 龙拳小子 ( Lóng Quán Xiǎo Zi)
  • Lunar New Year’s Day 元日 (Yuǎn Rì)
  • On Happiness Road 幸福路上 (Xìng fú lù shàng)
  • Kung Fu Panda 功夫熊貓 (Gōng fū xióng māo)
  • Big Fish & Begonia 大鱼海棠 (Dà yú hǎi táng)
  • Flavors of Youth 肆式青春 (Sì shì qīng chūn
  • Yi Yi: A One and a Two 一一 (Yī yī)
  • Little Door Gods 小门神 Xiǎo mén shén
  • Lunar New Year’s Day 元日 (Yuǎn rì)

Let’s Sing Songs in English Language For you Kids ( Songs are translated in Chinese)

Twinkle Twinkle Little Star in Chinese

一闪一闪亮晶晶

yī shǎn yī shǎn liàng jīng jīng

满天都是小星星

mǎn tiān dū shì xiǎo xīng xīng

挂在天边放光明

guà zài tiān biān fàng guāng míng

好像许多小眼睛

hǎo xiàng xǔ duō xiǎo yǎn jīng

一闪一闪亮晶晶

yī shǎn yī shǎn liàng jīng jīng

满天都是小星星

mǎn tiān dū shì xiǎo xīng xīng

Twinkle, twinkle, little star

How I wonder what you are

Up above the world so high,

like a diamond in the sky

Twinkle, twinkle, little star

How I wonder what you are

Itsy Bitsy Spider in the Chinese Language

一只两只蜘蛛爬呀爬出来,

yī zhī liǎng zhī zhī zhū pá ya pá chū lái

雨水落下来帮它洗洗澡,

yǔ shuǐ luò xià lái bāng tā xǐ xǐ zǎo

太阳出来了照着它身体呀

tài yáng chū lái le zhào zhé tā shēn tǐ ya

一只两只蜘蛛爬呀爬出来

yī zhī liǎng zhī zhī zhū pá ya pá chū lái

Itsy Bitsy spider climbing up the spout

Down came the rain and washed the spider out

Out came the sun and dried up all the rain

Now Itsy Bitsy spider went up the spout again!

Have you ever wondered what stands beyond our blue sky? Our planet Earth is part of the solar system that is home to the Sun -a star-, eight planets, more than 200 moons, countless comets and asteroids, and dwarf planets like Pluto.

Our Solar System
Objects in our Solar System

Our system is called the ‘solar’ system because our star, the Sun, is called ‘Sol’ in Latin. The Sun is the center of our solar system, and its great gravity pulls all the planets, comets, and asteroids towards it. But rest assured, these do not ‘fall’ into the sun, they simply orbit it, thanks to gravity.

Quick fact! Our Sun is just one of the millions and millions of stars that wander within our cosmic galaxy!

The solar system itself is just a tiny part of our galaxy that is called the Milky Way galaxy. Our solar system orbits the center of our galaxy once every 225 years. Our galaxy gets its name from how it looks. If you look at the Milky Way in a very unpolluted night sky, you can see that it’s shaped like spilled milk. The name ‘Milky Way’ is taken from the Romans, who used to call it ‘via lacteal,’ which means ‘milky way/road.’

The Sun

The Sun rises every day, and it provides us with light and warmth. But how long has the Sun been doing that? Our Sun has been up in the sky for about 4.5 billion years. Pretty old, right? Scientifically speaking, this is an average age for stars. Our Sun is a relatively young star, compared to our galaxy, which is 13.5 billion years old! 

Our Sun is an enormous ball of hot helium and hydrogen. It is basically a boiling hot ball of gases. The Sun’s core, which is the hottest part of it, has a temperature of 27 million degrees Fahrenheit (about 15 million degrees Celsius)! Though the Sun is the closest star to our home, the Earth, we are not too close to it. In fact, the Sun is approximately 93 million miles away from Earth! So, it is close enough to provide us with the necessary warmth and solar energy. And this is why our Sun is so vital for us and all living creatures on Earth. 

Our Sun’s gravity holds the solar system together. It keeps the planets, dwarf planets, moons, comets, asteroids, and more in orbit around it. When the Earth completes one cycle orbiting around the Sun, it completes one year.

The Earth also rotates and spins around itself. Our Earth takes 24 hours to spin around its axis, and this is what we call a ‘day’! That is why there are times when you see the Sun in the sky, which we call daytime, and there are other times when the sky is dark and you can see the moon, which we call nighttime. The length of daytime and nighttime changes over the year. This is why, in summer, the daytime is longer, and, in winter, it is shorter. It depends on where you live. So, let’s say that you’re starting your day where you live. In another country, it would mean nighttime for them. Pretty amazing, right?!    

Like all stars, our Sun will eventually die. A star dies when it uses all its fuel, which is hydrogen. When it starts to die, the star will expand into a red star. When our Sun expands into a red giant star, it will become so big that it would swallow up Mercury and Venus, and probably Earth. It will then become a crystal white dwarf. But no worries! Our scientists say that our Sun is a little less than halfway through its lifetime and will last another 5 billion years before it becomes a white dwarf. 

The Planets

Now that we have talked about our Sun, let us explore the unique 8 planets that orbit it! 

Mercury

Did you know that Mercury is the smallest planet in our whole solar system? It is also the closest of our planets to our Sun. If you look at our Sun while you’re on Mercury, it will appear three times bigger than how it looks from our Earth! You might think that, since Mercury is the closest to our Sun, it must be the hottest. But that’s not true! The hottest planet in our solar system is Venus, and we will talk about it more in the next section. 

Because it is so close to the Sun, it takes Mercury 88 days to complete its cycle around the Sun. So, a year on Mercury would last for only 88 days. However, the day on Mercury is much longer than our Earth day. Mercury takes 59 Earth days to complete one orbit around its axis.

Because it is so close to the Sun, it takes Mercury 88 days to complete its cycle around the Sun. So, a year on Mercury would last for only 88 days. However, the day on Mercury is much longer than our Earth day. It takes Mercury 59 Earth days to rotate around its axis.

Mercury is one of the terrestrial planets. A terrestrial planet is a rocky planet that has a hard surface and a metal core. Earth, Mercury, Venus, and Mars are all considered terrestrial planets. 

Mercury doesn’t have any moons. It also doesn’t have any rings around it. And it looks so much like our own moon. It has a greyish-brown color and bright streaks on its surface called ‘crater rays.’ Crater rays are formed when comets or asteroids hit the surface of a planet or a moon.

As Mercury is the fastest planet to orbit the Sun, its name has an interesting story behind it. ‘Mercury’ was the name of one of the Roman gods. He was a messenger and known as the god of travelers. Because of his winged hat and sandals, he could fly and was the fastest among the other gods.

Venus

Venus is the second closest planet to the Sun, and it is our Earth’s neighbor. Venus is a terrestrial planet as well. Although Venus is more distant from the Sun than tiny Mercury, it is the hottest planet. Venus is hotter than Mercury because of its dense atmosphere. Venus’ atmosphere is toxic and is filled with carbon dioxide. It is also covered with yellow clouds of sulfuric acid that trap heat and make an enormous greenhouse effect. Surface temperatures on Venus are about 900 degrees Fahrenheit (475 degrees Celsius), which is enough to melt lead. Venus is also believed to have volcanoes. And this is why scientists believe that it would be most unlikely to be able to live on Venus. 

Due to the similarity in size and mass with the Earth, Venus is often called the Earth’s twin. However, in reality, they are so different from each other. One of the reasons why Venus is very different from Earth is because of its high temperature. Another difference is that Venus rotates backward. And a day on Venus would not equal a day on our Earth. A day on Venus lasts for 243 Earth days. Whereas a year on Venus would be only 225 Earth days. This means that a day on Venus is longer than a whole year on it! 

Even though it is called the Earth’s twin, Venus does not have any moons. One interesting fact about Venus is that scientists cannot determine what color it is. To the human eye, Venus appears to be white and yellow, with a reddish and brown surface. We see yellow strips because of the sulfur in Venus’ atmosphere. And because Venus rotates backward, if you are to be on it, the Sun would rise in the west and set in the east, opposite of what we see on our Earth. 

Because ancient Romans could easily see the seven brightest objects in the sky, they named the objects after their most important gods. Like Mercury, Mars, Jupiter, and Saturn, Venus is named after one of the goddesses of Roman mythology, the goddess of love and beauty, Venus.

Earth

The Living Planet
Our Earth

Now, let’s talk about our home planet, the Earth!

Earth is the third planet from the Sun, the fifth largest planet in our solar system, and the only planet we know of that humans can live on. Earth is the third and biggest terrestrial planet. Earth is considered the only planet to have liquid water on its surface. Around 71% of the Earth is covered by water and only 29% by land. 97% of Earth’s water is salted water, which makes up our oceans. Only 3% of the water is freshwater that we can use to drink. This freshwater comes from rivers, lakes, and groundwater. With this much water on its surface, the Earth has earned its nickname ‘the Blue Planet.’

Earth has a more unique atmosphere than any other planet. The atmosphere consists of 78% nitrogen, 21% oxygen, and 1% other gases, such as carbon dioxide and argon. The amount of oxygen might seem so little for all of us to breathe, but it is just the right amount. Earth’s atmosphere also plays an important part to protect and shield us from the harmful radiation coming from the Sun. It also protects us from coming meteoroids. When a meteoroid burns up in our atmosphere, it is displayed as a ‘shooting star’ that we all see in the night sky. This is called a meteor. If a meteoroid survives and does not burn up, it hits the ground and is called a meteorite.

It takes Earth 24 hours to spin around its axis. We call this a ‘day.’ When Earth completes one cycle of orbiting the Sun, we finish one year. One year on Earth lasts exactly 365.25 days. 

Fun fact! The extra quarter of the day means that every four years, we add one day to our calendar. When this happens, we call this day a ‘leap day’ and the year it is added to is called a ‘leap year.’ And this is why we sometimes see on our calendar that February has 29 days instead of 28!

Since Earth is one of the terrestrial planets, we know that it has a metal core. Earth’s core is made up of mostly iron and nickel. It is so hot at the Earth’s core that these metals are all in liquid form. 

Earth is the only planet to have one single moon. Our moon is our only natural satellite. A satellite is an object that orbits a planet or a star. We have many superficial satellites, but our moon is the only one that is naturally lovely. 

Our moon is the brightest object we see in our night sky. Its light guides us in the night and makes our night sky more beautiful. However, the moon is not naturally bright. The reason our moon is so bright is that it reflects the light that is coming from the Sun.

The name ‘Earth’ is a 1,000-year-old name. Our Earth is the only planet that is not named after Greek and Roman gods and goddesses. The word ‘Earth’ comes from the Germanic word ‘erde’ and the old English word ‘ertha,’ and they both mean ‘ground.’ 

You would think that since we are living on Earth, we would know everything about it. That is not true. There are so many mysteries about our home planet that we are yet to discover! 

Mars

Now we move on to the next planet! The famous ‘Red Planet!’ Mars is called the Red Planet because of rusting (which is also called oxidation) of the iron minerals that are found in Mars’s soil, making the surface look red. Mars is probably the easiest to spot in a clear night sky –it is a bright red dot! Mars has a thin atmosphere and is one of the four terrestrial planets. This means that it is rocky. Mars is the second smallest planet. It is actually half the size of Earth.  

The Red Planet, Mars

The name ‘Mars’ also has a little bit of reddish story to it. As mentioned before, the ancient Romans could easily spot the brightest objects in the sky, and Mars was one of them. Its reddish color reminded them of the blood that was shed in wars. So, they named Mars after their war god.

The day on Mars is 24.6 hours long, which is a little longer than Earth’s day. Because of its similarity with the day on Earth, Martian days are called ‘sol days,’ short for ‘solar days.’ A year on Mars lasts 669.6 sols, which equals 687 Earth days. 

Mars has a thin atmosphere made up mainly of carbon dioxide, nitrogen, and argon gases. Unlike the Earth’s sky, Mars’ sky would look reddish, and that is because of the particles of suspended dust. Mars’ atmosphere also differs from Earth’s in one more characteristic. Mars’ atmosphere does not offer protection from comets, asteroids, and meteorites. 

You might wonder about the weather on Mars. It appears that Mars is much colder than Earth. Because Mars’ atmosphere is too thin, the heat coming from the sun easily escapes this planet. The temperature on Mars can get as high as 70 degrees Fahrenheit (20 degrees Celsius). And it can drop as low as -225 degrees Fahrenheit (-153 degrees Celsius). 

The wind on Mars is not very pleasant. It can get strong enough to create dust storms that cover the whole planet. It can take months before all the dust can settle. 

One of the most interesting findings on Mars is Olympus Mons. Olympus Mons is the tallest and largest volcano/mountain in the solar system. It is three times taller than our Mt. Everest! Gigantically large, right?!

There has been evidence that Mars once had water. It is geologically known that where there is water, there would be traces left on the landscape. Flowing water carves out riverbeds, and this is exactly what a NASA rover has found when sent on a mission to explore any traces of water on Mars.

Now let’s move on to moons. Mars has two small moons named Phobos and Deimos. These moons are named after the sons of the Greek war god, Ares (Mars to the Romans). The two moons look like potatoes!

The moon Phobos is heavily cratered. This means that it is impacted by a lot of hitting comets, asteroids, and meteorites. According to NASA, Phobos is moving towards Mars slowly. It will eventually crash into Mars or break apart in about 50 million years.

Like Phobos, Deimos is a heavily cratered moon. It is about half the size of its brother, Phobos. Although you would think that Deimos would look like it has deep craters, it actually looks very smooth. This is due to the loose dirt that fills up the craters. It is unlikely that Deimos would crash into Mars, like Phobos, because it orbits farther away from the planet.

You might be wondering: “how do we know all this stuff about Mars?!” Mars is actually the most explored object in our solar system. It is the only planet that we have sent rovers to explore. NASA currently has two rovers on Mars. One is named ‘Curiosity’ and the other is named ‘Perseverance.’ Perseverance’s mission is to look for signs that could tell us if Mars had any form of life. UAE and China have also sent robotic machines to explore the alien planet. NASA believes that it might be possible to launch a man-led mission to Mars by the 2030s.

Jupiter

Next, we have the biggest planet in our solar system, Jupiter! Jupiter is so big that it is twice as massive as all the other planets combined. Jupiter is one of the Jovian planets, along with Saturn, Uranus, and Neptune. A Jovian planet is composed entirely of gases, mostly hydrogen and helium. Jovian planets do not have solid surfaces like terrestrial ones. But scientists think that Jupiter’s core may be solid and is about the size of the Earth. 

When the solar system was formed 4.5 billion years ago, Jupiter took most of the mass that was left from forming the Sun, making it twice as massive as all the other planets combined. Although Jupiter has the same materials found in a star (helium and hydrogen), it didn’t become a star. It was not big enough to ignite as a star.

The stripes you see on the surface of Jupiter are clouds of ammonia and water. The big red spot that we see when we look at pictures of Jupiter is a violent storm that has been going on for hundreds of years. Jupiter also has rings, like other Jovian planets, but they are too faint to see. They are like rings made of dust!

Jupiter is so big that its name has a significant meaning behind it. Because Jupiter is the biggest planet in our solar system, it was named after the king of the ancient Roman gods. In Greek, Jupiter is called ‘Zeus,’ who is the father of all Greek gods. 

Jupiter has the shortest day in our solar system. It takes Jupiter only 10 hours to spin around its axis. While it has the shortest day, Jupiter has one of the longest years in our solar system. It takes Jupiter 12 Earth years to orbit the Sun. 

One of the interesting facts is that Jupiter has the largest ocean in our solar system. However, it is not an ocean made of water. It is an ocean made of liquid hydrogen. Due to its thick atmosphere, the temperature and pressure are huge, and they turn the hydrogen gas into a liquid.

Unlike Earth and Mars, Jupiter has many moons. The moons are so many that it is often said that Jupiter forms its own solar system. Jupiter has 53 confirmed moons and 26 moons that are still awaiting confirmation. Jupiter has four large moons -they are the largest-. Each moon is unique on its own and we will explore them in the Moons section here. These four moons are named: Io, Europa, Ganymede, and Callisto. 

Spacecraft, probes, and orbiters observed the giant planet such as Pioneer 10 and 11, New Horizons, Cassini, and Juno. Juno is the latest spacecraft that landed on Jupiter to study Jupiter’s chemistry and atmosphere. So, there are still many things to know about Jupiter in the future!

Saturn

We will now begin talking about the most unique planet in our solar system! Saturn is the second-largest planet in our solar system, and it is the most unique-looking one. Saturn is not the only planet to have rings, but it has the most beautiful ones. Like its neighbor, Jupiter, Saturn is mostly made up of hydrogen and helium. 

The Beautiful Planet Saturn

Saturn is one of the brightest objects in the night sky that could be seen easily by the ancients without a telescope. It is named after the god of agriculture and wealth in Roman mythology. This Roman god is the father of Jupiter. 

Like Jupiter, a day on Saturn is pretty short. A day on Saturn lasts for only 10.7 hours. This is the time that it takes Saturn to spin around its axis. However, it takes Saturn 29.4 Earth years to orbit the Sun completely. 

Saturn has 82 moons. There are 53 confirmed moons and 29 awaiting confirmation. This makes Saturn the planet that has the most moons in our solar system. We will know about Saturn’s most famous moons in the Moon section below. 

When you look at Saturn’s pictures, the first thing you notice is the rings around it. They are lovely and unique, and more complex than they look. The rings around Saturn are made of billions of ice and rocks that are coated with dust. Scientists think that these small objects are pieces of comets, asteroids, and shattered moons that got torn apart by Saturn’s powerful gravity. The most interesting thing about them is the different speeds that each ring orbits Saturn at. 

Uranus

The Cold Planet, Uranus

We have nearly arrived at the end of our planet journey. This planet is the coldest one in our solar system. Uranus is one of the two ice giants in our solar system (the other one is Neptune). That is because Uranus is made of a hot dense fluid of icy materials, such as water, ammonia, and methane. All of these materials are above a small hot core that heats up to 9,000 degrees Fahrenheit (4,982 degrees Celsius). Uranus does not have a solid surface. Uranus’ atmosphere is made of hydrogen, helium, and methane. The methane in Uranus’ atmosphere absorbs the red portion of the light that is coming from the Sun and reflects it as blue. And this is how Uranus gets its beautiful blue color. Uranus also has a set of 13 rings that are faint in color. The outer rings are the only ones that are bright and can be seen vividly. 

Scientists think that when our solar system started to form, Uranus and Neptune were much closer to the Sun. But 4 billion years ago, they both were moved to the outer part of the solar system. 

It was not possible for people in ancient times to see Uranus with the human eye. So, Uranus was named after they developed telescopes. Like the rest of the planets, scientists decided to use Greek and Roman gods’ names as well. In Greek mythology, Uranus was the sky god, father of Saturn, and grandfather of Jupiter. 

One day on Uranus has about 17 hours, and this is how many hours it takes Uranus to rotate. It takes Uranus 84 Earth years to make a complete orbit around the sun. Uranus is also one of the two planets that rotate backward (the other planet is Venus). This means that the Sun rises in the west and sets in the east. 

The weather on Uranus is very extreme. This ice giant has the coldest temperature ever recorded in our solar system, which is -371.56 degrees Fahrenheit (-224.2 degrees Celsius). Uranus is not the coldest planet because it is way farther away from the Sun. Uranus is the coldest because it rotates on its side. Billions of years ago, a giant object crashed into Uranus causing it to turn on its side.

Quick fact! Did you know that Uranus is the only planet that rotates on its side?

Another interesting thing about Uranus is its moons. We know that most of the natural satellites of other planets take their names from Greek and Roman mythology, right? Uranus’ moons are different. There are 27 moons in total orbiting Uranus, and they all have unique names. Each moon is named after a character from the literary works of Shakespeare and Alexander Pope.

Neptune

We have finally reached the last planet! Neptune is the most distant planet from the Sun. It is dark, cold, and has the most violent winds. It is an ice giant, just like its neighbor Uranus. It is mostly made of a hot dense fluid of water, methane, and ammonia. All of these materials exist above a small hot core. Like Uranus, Neptune does not have a solid surface. Its atmosphere is so big that it merges with water and icy materials. Neptune’s atmosphere is mostly made of hydrogen, helium, and methane. Again, like Uranus, the methane in Neptune’s atmosphere absorbs the red portion of the light that is coming from the Sun and reflects it as blue. 

When you look at space photos taken of Neptune, its blue color reminds you of the blueness of the sea, right? Its beautiful blue color is the reason behind its unique name. Neptune was the sea god in Roman mythology. Because of the similarity between Neptune’s color and the blue color of the sea, scientists picked ‘Neptune.’ And it is truly the perfect name for it!

The time it takes Neptune to rotate once is 16 hours. That means that a day on Neptune lasts only 16 hours. However, a year on Neptune is so long. Neptune makes a complete orbit around the Sun every 165 Earth years. That’s a lot of time to wait for your birthday! 

Fun fact! In 2011, Neptune completed its first orbit around the Sun -165 Earth years- since the planet was discovered in 1846. 

Neptune has 14 moons. They are all named after minor Greek gods and nymphs. One of these moons is called Triton and it is the largest moon that orbits Neptune. We will know more about the moon Triton in our Moon section below.

Moons

The next objects we are moving on to are moons! Although Mercury and Venus do not have moons, we are going to explore other planets’ moons, starting from Earth to Neptune. 

But first, let’s talk about how moons were formed. A moon, also called a natural satellite, orbits planets in our solar system. Some moons are big, and some are so small. Moons are mostly formed from the gas and dust that were around the planets when the solar system was beginning to be formed. However, it is believed that some of these moons are ‘captured’ objects that were formed elsewhere and fell to orbit the planets. 

Earth’s Moon

First on the list is our lovely Moon! The Moon is the only place beyond Earth that humans set foot on. In fact, there are 12 humans who have visited the Moon. It is so easy to spot in the night sky! It illuminates our nights and makes a great companion for us in the night. 

Our Moon is our only natural satellite. It is the fifth-biggest moon in our solar system. Scientists believe that the Moon was formed after Earth and Mars crashed into one another millions of years ago. This resulted in the tearing of a piece of Earth’s molten rock. This molten rock cooled down until it formed the Moon that we see in our night sky.

Phases of the Moon

The Moon takes 27.3 days to make an orbit around Earth while also completing one orbit around its axis. Because of this, we only see the same side of the Moon. You might think that the Moon has its natural light because it appears so bright in our night sky. However, this is not true. The Sun reflects its sunlight upon the surface of our Moon, making it bright and dazzling. People have mistakenly called the other side of the Moon that we can’t see ‘the dark side.’ This is not true. The sunlight is reflected on every side of the Moon, but we only see the same side because the Moon orbits its axis at the same time it orbits the Earth. 

On some days, we see the Moon shrinking and on other days we see it getting bigger until it reaches the full bright moon that we see. The Moon is actually the same size as always, we just view it differently. Depending on how much sunlight the Moon gets, it goes through phases. When we cannot see the Moon, it means that it is in its New Moon phase. If people in the countries of the Northern Hemisphere see a thin crescent of light on the right side of the Moon, it means that it is in its Waxing Crescent phase. When we see a half-moon, it means that it is the First Quarter phase. When we see that the Moon is between a half-moon and a full moon, this is called the Waxing Gibbous phase. Waxing means that the Moon is getting bigger (that is what appears to us). When we can see the Moon fully bright in our night sky, we call it the Full Moon phase. When the Moon is in its Waning Gibbous phase, we see that it is between a half-moon and a full moon. Waning means that the Moon is getting smaller in our eyes. In the Third Quarter phase, we see a half-moon, but it is the opposite half as compared to the half shown in the First Quarter phase. When people in the countries of the Northern Hemisphere see a thin crescent of light on the left side of the Moon, it means that it is the Waning Crescent phase. 

Our Moon is responsible for tides! Tides are the change in the water level in the oceans. Because of gravity, the Moon and the Sun pull on Earth. And this causes tides. The Moon has got the bigger responsibility because it is closer to our Earth. 

Mars’ Moons

Mars has two small moons called Phobos and Deimos. They look like asteroids and many people think that they were once in the asteroid belt and were pulled by Mars’ great gravity. 

Phobos orbits so close to Mars that it orbits the Red Planet three times a day! Scientists believe that Phobos will eventually crash into Mars when it dies.

When we look at pictures of Phobos, it really looks like a potato. It has many craters and that is because of the many hitting asteroids, comets, and meteorites. 

Deimos looks like another potato! But its surface appears much smoother than that of Phobos because of the dust that is filling its craters. It is smaller than Phobos and orbits farther away from Mars. 

Jupiter’s Moons

Jupiter is one of two planets (the other one is Saturn) that have the most moons in our solar system. Jupiter has 79 moons in total. It has 53 named moons and 26 awaiting their names. We will be talking about the four largest moons that orbit Jupiter, the Galilean Moons. They are called the Galilean Moons after the Italian astronomer Galileo Galilei, who first observed them in 1610. These moons are bigger than our Moon and are named Io, Europa, Ganymede, and Callisto. 

Io is known to be the only object that has many active volcanoes in the solar system. Io is one of the most colorful celestial bodies in our solar system. This is due to the sulfur and sulfur compounds on its surface. It has no water on it, unlike the other Galilean moons. Io is named after a maiden who was loved by the Greek god Zeus and was turned into a cow during a dispute between Zeus and his jealous wife Hera. 

The next moon on the list is called Europa. Europa is one of the most interesting worlds to explore because scientists found suitable environments for some form of life on it. From observations, scientists found that Europa’s surface looks like a sea of crushed ice. Scientists believe that beneath this layer there might exist an ocean that may contain twice as much water as all of our oceans combined. Europa was named after a princess who was abducted by Zeus (Jupiter, in Roman mythology) to be his lover. 

Our next moon is called Ganymede. It is the biggest moon in our solar system. Exploring Ganymede is important to scientists because NASA’s Hubble Telescope found evidence of an underground saltwater ocean on it. Scientists think that this ocean will have more water than the water on Earth’s surface. Not only this, but scientists have found that Ganymede’s thin atmosphere contains small amounts of oxygen. This moon is named after a young boy who was carried to Olympus by Zeus and made the cupbearer of all the gods.

Our last big moon is Callisto. Callisto is Jupiter’s second-biggest moon and the third biggest one in our solar system. It was once thought ‘dead.’ However, in the 1990s, it was discovered that it may have a salty ocean beneath its surface. This made Callisto on the list of the worlds that may have some sort of life on it. Callisto is named after a woman who was Zeus’ lover. When Hera found out about their relationship, she turned Callisto into a bear.

Saturn’s Moons

Now, we are going to explore the moons of our beautiful Saturn. Saturn has 82 moons, making it the possessor of the largest number of moons in our solar system. We will explore two of Saturn’s most famous moons!

The first moon is called Titan. It is the second-largest moon in our solar system. It is the only moon in our solar system that has clouds and an atmosphere like our planets. Its atmosphere is made mostly of nitrogen, like our atmosphere. Titan’s surface is made of water ice as hard as a rock. However, scientists believe that beneath its surface there is an ocean of liquid water. Titan takes its name from Greek mythology. A titan was a member of a family of giants that used to rule the world before the Olympian gods.

The next moon is called Enceladus. Enceladus has the whitest and loveliest surface in our solar system. Wouldn’t it be incredible if we could live on such a beautiful planet? In fact, scientists think so! Enceladus makes it easy for us to examine it. It has an icy ocean, and it sprays icy particles in space. One of our spacecraft has got samples from these particles and examined them. Scientists found out that Enceladus has most of the chemical ingredients that are needed for life.

Uranus’ Moons

Uranus has so many moons! It has the biggest number of moons in our solar system. All of the discovered moons are named after characters from the works of the playwright Shakespeare and the poet Alexander Pope. Uranus has five large moons, and they are Titania, Oberon, Ariel, Umbriel, and Miranda. Titania is the largest of them and Miranda is the smallest. These moons are made of rock and water ice. Many small moons exist between these large moons, and they are almost like asteroids! But thankfully, they do not crash into one another. 

Neptune’s Moons

Neptune has 14 moons but the most distinguished one is Triton. Triton is the largest of Neptune’s moons. Scientists think that Triton was formed in the Kuiper Belt but was pulled by Neptune’s gravity. Triton is special because it is the only moon in our solar system that orbits in the opposite direction of its planet rotation. This is called a retrograde orbit. Triton is named after Poseidon’s son (Poseidon is Neptune in Greek mythology).

Dwarf Planets

Our next stop is all about dwarf planets! Dwarf planets are too small to be considered planets, but they are not that small to be considered any other small celestial body, like asteroids for example. Another reason why they are not considered planets is because their orbit has other small objects. A planet’s gravity can push these small objects out of its orbit. However, dwarf planets do not have a powerful gravity.

We are sure you’ve heard about the dwarf planet Pluto, but they are other dwarf planets that we are going to explore here!

Pluto

Pluto is the most well-known of the dwarf planets. This is because it used to be the ninth planet in our solar system! But when scientists found out more about Pluto and other objects as small as it, they removed poor Pluto from the list of planets. But worry not! Even though it is not a planet, Pluto is a fascinating world for us to explore. It is smaller than our moon and it has a cute spot that looks like the heart of its surface!

One day on Pluto is about 153 hours long, that’s too long for a day! And a year on Pluto lasts 248 Earth years. A long time to wait for your birthday, right? 

Pluto exists inside the Kuiper Belt. Although Pluto is very far away from the Sun and was considered the ninth planet, it sometimes was closer to the Sun than Neptune. Pluto also has its own moons. It has five moons and its largest one is called Charon.

Fun fact! Pluto was named by an eleven-year-old English girl! She picked its name from Roman mythology. Pluto was the name of the underworld god.

Ceres

The next dwarf plane that we are going to visit is Ceres. Ceres exists in the asteroid belt. The asteroid belt is a place between Mars and Jupiter that has most of the asteroids in our solar system. Ceres was once considered an asteroid, but scientists thought that it was way too big to be considered one. However, it is considered the smallest of the dwarf planets. Another difference between Ceres and asteroids is that it does not look like a potato! Ceres actually has a round body.

A year on Ceres is only 4.6 Earth years long. But Ceres has one of the shortest days in our solar system. It takes Ceres only 9 hours to spin around its axis. Unlike other dwarf planets, Ceres does not have any moons. 

Ceres is one of the objects that scientists want to explore for any potential of life. In one of the missions, it was spotted that Ceres has water vapor. This means that it has water! And we know how water is important for life. That is why scientists plan to send missions to Ceres in the future.

Fun fact! Ceres is named after the corn and harvest goddess in Roman mythology. The word ‘cereal’ also comes from the same name.

Makemake

Our next stop is a bright dwarf planet, Makemake. Makemake is the second brightest dwarf planet, after Pluto, that could be observed by a telescope. Makemake is a very important object in space history. It was one of the objects, along with Eris, that were discovered that made Pluto get kicked out from being the ninth planet. Its discovery made scientists create a whole category just for these objects that were smaller than the rest of the planets. Makemake is inside the Kuiper Belt. Makemake has no atmosphere. However, when it is the closest to the Sun, it develops a thin atmosphere. A day on Makemake is 22.5 hours long, which is slightly shorter than a day on Earth. However, it takes Makemake 305 Earth years to orbit the Sun. Makemake is named after the fertility god in Rapa Nui mythology. 

Huamea

Our next dwarf planet is a fast one! Haumea is in the Kuiper Belt. Haumea is the same size as Pluto, but it has a weirdly oval shape. Haumea is one of the fastest rotating objects in our solar system. It only takes Haumea 4 hours to spin around its axis. However, a year on Haumea is 285 Earth years long. Haumea is the second dwarf planet to have more than one moon, after Pluto. It has two moons named Namaka and Hi’iaka. Haumea is named after the Hawaiian goddess of fertility. 

Quick fact! No spacecraft has ever visited Haumea or traveled past it. Everything we know about this dwarf planet is from observations with telescopes. 

Eris

We have finally arrived at our last dwarf planet, Eris. Eris is about the size of Pluto that it is nicknamed ‘Pluto’s almost perfect twin.’ Eris is also a very important object because it made scientists reconsider Pluto as a planet. It takes Eris 557 Earth years to orbit the sun, but the length of its day is similar to ours. Eris takes only 25.9 hours to spin around its axis. Eris is named after the goddess of chaos in Greek mythology. Eris has only one moon called Dysnomia. This moon is actually named after goddess Eris’ daughter. 

Asteroids

The next objects that we are going to explore are asteroids! If you look at any space pictures of asteroids they would look like ill-shaped rocks, like potatoes. They are made of rock and sometimes, metal. When our solar system was formed 4.5 billion years ago, there were some leftovers. Asteroids are the remnants of this formation. The current known asteroid count is 1,113,527. It is believed that the total mass of all these asteroids combined is lesser than that of our moon. Asteroids come in all sizes. Some are just a few feet in diameter. Some are hundreds of miles in diameter. 

There are three types of asteroids that we are going to explore. 

  • Carbon asteroids: they are made up mostly of carbon and they are very dark in color. Around 75% of asteroids are carbon ones.
  • Stony asteroids: they are made up mostly of rock and some amounts of metal.
  • Metallic asteroids: they are made up of metals, primarily iron and nickel, and some amounts of stone.  

Most asteroids exist and orbit the Sun in a ring called the Asteroid Belt. This belt exists between Mars and Jupiter. Scientists believe that there are millions and millions of asteroids in the asteroid belt.

There are some big asteroids out there. They are bigger than other asteroids to the point that they are considered minor planets. The four biggest asteroids are named Ceres, Vesta, Pallas, and Hygiea in order. They are, like our planets, named after Greek and Roman goddesses.

Ceres is the biggest asteroid that we know of. It is so big that it is categorized as one of the dwarf planets. Vesta is the second biggest asteroid and is the brightest asteroid when looked at from Earth. Pallas was the second asteroid to be discovered after Ceres. It is considered the largest object in our solar system that is not round. Hygiea is the biggest carbon asteroid that we know of. 

Explorers have found that there are other asteroids outside the asteroid belt. There are two groups: the Trojan asteroids and Near-Earth asteroids. Trojan asteroids are the ones that share an orbit with a planet or moon. However, they do not crash into the planet. Most of the Trojan asteroids orbit the Sun with Jupiter. Most Near-Earth asteroids explode when they enter the Earth’s atmosphere.

Quick fact! Some scientists believe that millions of years ago when dinosaurs existed, a large asteroid hit the Earth and caused them to become extinct. 

Comets

Our next fascinating objects are called comets! Comets orbit the Sun, just like our planets do. They are made of dust and ice that were left from the formation of our solar system billions of years ago. Comets are best known for their spectacular tails. 

Comets come from two distant places that exist in our solar system. The first place is called the Kuiper Belt. This place exists beyond the orbit of Neptune. The comets that come from the Kuiper Belt are called short-period comets because they orbit the Sun in a short period. They take about 200 years to travel around the Sun.

Other comets come from a far more distant place that is called the Oort Cloud. The comets that come from the Oort Cloud are called long-period comets. They are called that because they take more than 250,000 years to complete an orbit around the Sun.

A comet has a frozen part that is called a nucleus. A nucleus is made up of ice and frozen gases. When a comet is near the Sun, its nucleus heats up. This causes ice to turn into gas and the gas and dust form a cloud around the comet. This cloud is called a ‘coma.’ The gas and dust move away from the nucleus and sunlight pressures them until they form a bright tail behind the comet. When scientists took a closer look, they found that this tail is made up of two separate tails. The first tail is made of dust, and the second is made of ions. These ions are gas molecules that are charged with electricity.

Meteoroids, Meteors, and Meteorites

Next on our list are Meteoroids, Meteors, or Meteorites. Actually, these terms are very different from each other. A meteoroid is a space rock. It is called that only when it is in space. Meteoroids vary in size, from dust grains to small parts of asteroids, comets, and even moons. Some meteoroids are made of rock, some are metallic, and some are made from both rock and metal. 

When a meteoroid enters Earth’s atmosphere at high speed, it burns up. We call this a meteor. It is also called a ‘shooting star.’ If you see a shooting star, make sure to make a wish! When a meteoroid does not burn up and it hits the ground, we call it a meteorite. 

Sometimes, we see a group of meteors. This is called a meteor shower. Meteor showers are named after the constellation where the meteors are coming from. A constellation is a group of stars that form a certain pattern. There are known meteor showers that happen at specific times of the year. For example, the Lyrids meteor shower happens in April and the Perseids meteor shower happens in August. Keep in mind that if the moon is full on any day of these months, a meteor shower will not appear.

Kuiper Belt

You might wonder about what is there beyond Neptune. Just outside Neptune’s orbit, there is a belt of icy objects that is called the Kuiper Belt. It is home to the most famous dwarf planet, Pluto. Three dwarf planets, besides Pluto, exist in the Kuiper Belt as well. It is named after the scientist Gerard Kuiper who was thinking about comets and where they come from. It was hard to see past Neptune with our best telescopes, so no one believed. It was years later when Kuiper was proved right. In 2019, a spacecraft that was traveling the Kuiper Belt spotted a snowman-shaped object. Scientists called it Arrokoth, meaning ‘sky’ in the Powhatan/Algonquian language. Arrokoth is by far the most distant studied object. 

Oort Cloud

A question may pop in your head, “what is there even past the Kuiper Belt?” The answer would be the Oort Cloud. The Oort Cloud is a place that has many icy objects. It is where long-period comets come from. There has been little known about the Oort Cloud. No object has been even observed in the Oort Cloud itself. 

There is still so much we don’t know about our universe. Every day passes, there is something to be discovered. So, make sure you witness these discoveries! 

The United States of America, United States, or America for short, (abbreviated as USA or US), is a country comprising 50 states. Most of the country is located in the center of North America, where 48 states and the capital Washington are located between the Pacific Ocean and the Atlantic Ocean. Canada borders America to the north while Mexico is located to the south of the country.

Northwest of the continent, above Canada, is Alaska, which is only separated from Russia to the west by the Bering Strait. The state of Hawaii, which is an archipelago, is located in the middle of the Pacific Ocean. The country also includes islands in the Caribbean and the Pacific Ocean.

The United States comes in third place in terms of area (9.83 million km²), and it ranks third in terms of population (329 million people). The United States is distinguished as one of the most diverse countries in the world in terms of race and culture, and this came as a result of the great immigration from different countries. The US economy is the largest national economy in the world.

America’s Name Origin

In 1507, a German cartographer mapped the world and he named the areas of land located in the Western Hemisphere as “America”, inspired by the Italian explorer and cartographer Amerigo Vespucci. The former British colonies were the first to use the modern name in the Declaration of Independence in 1776.

The current name was finalized in 1777, as «United States of America»”. The short form was also adopted by the United States. Citizens of the United States are referred to as Americans. Though the word America refares to the whole continent, the term American is almost restricted to the citizens of the United States.

American Flag

The Flag of the United States of America is a symbol of freedom and liberty to which Americans pledge their allegiance. Standing at attention and facing the flag with their right hand over the heart to salute their nation, country, and flag.

The flag consists of 13 alternating red and white stripes representing the 13 original colonies. Its 50 white stars on a blue field represent the 50 states. The colors on the flag represent:

Red: valor and bravery,

White: purity and innocence,

Blue: vigilance, perseverance, and justice.

 

Historical Background

The country was founded by thirteen British colonies along the Atlantic coast, the first of which was the English colony of Virginia, after the Virgin Queen Elizabeth. The pace of English settlement on the east coast increased after the emergence of companies aimed at encouraging the settlement movement in overseas lands.

In the nineteenth century, the United States acquired lands from FranceSpain, the United Kingdom, Mexico, and Russia, as well as the Republic of Texas and Hawaii. Disputes between the agricultural South and the industrial North over state rights and the expansion of the slave trade led to the American Civil War in the 1860s. The victory of the Northern Territory prevented a split in the country, which led to the end of legal slavery in the United States.

The American national economy became the largest in the world by 1870. The Spanish American War and World War I emphasized the country’s military might. In 1945, the United States emerged from World War II as the first country to possess nuclear weapons, a permanent member of the United Nations Security Council, and a founding member of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization. The United States also became the world’s sole superpower after the end of the Cold War and the dissolution of the Soviet Union. The United States spends about 50% of global military spending on American forces.

Independence

The tension between the American and British colonists during the revolutionary period of the 1860s and early 1770s led to the American War of Independence, which took place from 1775-1781. After Britain was defeated by American forces with the help of France and Spain, Britain recognized the independence and sovereignty of the United States over American lands west of the Mississippi River.

US Independence Day

The United States’ first Senate, House of Representatives, and President (George Washington) took office in 1789. The Bill of Rights was adopted in 1791, which forbids the restriction of personal liberties and ensures legal protections. The public view of slavery changed. The slave trade was protected by law until 1808. The northern states banned the slave trade between 1780 and 1804, while slavery in the southern states lasted longer.

Civil War

Tensions between slave and free states led to a growing debate about the relationship between the state and federal governments, as well as the violent conflicts caused by the spread of slavery to new states. Abraham Lincoln was elected as the anti-slavery Republican Party candidate for president in 1860. The American Civil War broke out and four pro-slavery states joined the Confederacy. Lincoln’s Emancipation Proclamation ended slavery in all states. After the Union victory in 1865, there were three constitutional amendments guaranteeing freedom to about 4 million African Americans who were slaves, who became citizens, and had the right to vote. The war greatly increased federal power. The civil war remains the deadliest conflict in the country’s history, with some 620,000 soldiers killed.

Women’s Rights Movement

In 1920, the women’s rights movement won a constitutional amendment granting women the right to vote.

Great Depression

The boom of the 1920s ended with the collapse of Wall Street in the Great Capitalist World Crisis of 1929, which resulted in the Great Depression. After being elected president, Franklin Roosevelt put a set of policies that increased government interference in the economy.

Cold War

The United States and the Soviet Union vied for power after World War II during the Cold War. The United States promoted liberal democracy and capitalism, while the Soviet Union supported communism and a centralized planned economy. Both supported dictatorships and the two powers engaged in proxy wars.

Space Race

The failure of the Soviet Union in 1969 to launch the first manned spacecraft to President John F. Kennedy‘s call for the United States to be the first to send a man to the moon.

Nuclear Race

Kennedy also had a decisive nuclear confrontation with Soviet forces in Cuba, over the installation of nuclear-armed Soviet missiles on Cuba, known as the Cuban Missile Crisis.

Civil Rights

Meanwhile, civil rights movements increased, led by African Americans such as Rosa Parks and Martin Luther King who fought segregation and discrimination by peaceful means.

Government of the United States of America

The United States is the oldest living federal government in the world. It is a constitutional republic and a liberal democracy, thus ruled by the majority and while the rights of minorities are protected by law. In the US federal system, citizens are subject to three levels of government: federal, state, and local government.

The federal government consists of three branches:

Legislative authorityCongress consists of two chambers, the Senate and the House of Representatives, whose tasks are to make federal law, declare wars, ratify treaties, and have the power of prosecution.

Executive authority: The president is the commander-in-chief of the armed forces and has the right to reject bills and appoint the Cabinet and other officers.

Judicial authority: The Supreme Court and other federal courts. Judges are appointed by the president and with the approval of the Senate.

US Capitol and White House

Geography of America

The area of ​​the United States of America is approximately 1.9 billion acres. The state of Alaska, separated by Canada from the United States, is the largest state in area. The United States of America is the third or fourth country in terms of area after Russia and Canada and ahead or after China. The order varies because of the difference that occurs when calculating the area of ​​the two disputed areas between China and India.

               

America’s Climate Diversity

Because of its large area and geographical diversity, the United States has the most types of climate. The climate varies in the north, where it is humid continental east of the 100th meridian and humid subtropical in the south. The southern tip of Florida has a tropical climate. Most of the western mountains have an alpine climate. In addition, the climate in the Great Basin Desert in the southwest is arid, while it is considered to have Mediterranean weather in coastal California and oceanic in coastal Oregon and Washington and southern Alaska. Most of Alaska is polar. The country is also exposed to some natural disasters, especially the states that overlook the Gulf of Mexico.

Wyoming

America’s Geographical Diversity

The United States is known for its astonishing nature, not only because of its vast area and climate diversity, but also because of the natural variation. America occupies a vast space of the North America Continent. As a result, America is famous for its wide range of geographical features and phenomena. On the coastal plain of the Atlantic, there are the tremendous forests and hills of Piedmont. The Appalachian Mountains separate the east coast from the Great Lakes region and the grasslands of the Midwest. The Mississippi-Missouri River, the fourth-longest river in the world, runs from north to south in the middle of the country.

The Rocky Mountains are located at the western end of the Great Plains and extend north to south along the country. The Great Rocky Basin and other deserts are situated far to the west. The Sierra Nevada and the Cascade Mountains also extend near the Pacific coast. Mount McKinley in Alaska is the highest peak in the country and in North America. Alaska is known for its active volcanoes, in addition, Hawaii is made up of volcanic islands. The volcano under Yellowstone National Park in the Rocky Mountains is the continent’s largest volcano.

Mount Mckinley – Alaska

Demography

The population of the United States in 2022 is 332,403,650 people. The United States is the third most populous country in the world after China and India, and the United States is the only industrialized country whose population is expected to increase in large numbers. The birth rate is 13.82 per 1,000, which is 30% percent lower than the world average, while population growth rates are 0.98%, which is much higher than those of Western Europe, Japan, and South Korea. Mexico has been the main source of new residents for more than two decades, and since 1998, along with China, India, and the Philippines, has become the top four countries exporting immigrants to the United States each year.

The United States has a very diverse population, with 31 ethnic groups numbering over one million people. White Americans are the largest of these groups; Americans of German, Irish, and English roots make up three of the country’s four major races. African Americans make up the country’s largest minority and the third largest ethnic group. While Asian Americans are the second-largest minority, Chinese Americans are the third-largest Asian American ethnic group, in addition to Filipino Americans, and Indian Americans.

Language

English is the national language. Surprisingly enough there is no official language at the federal level; however, some laws, such as US naturalization requirements, require proficiency in English. Around 80% of the population over the age of five, spoke only English at home. Spanish is used by 12% of the population at home, making it the second most common language and the second most taught language. Some Americans advocate making English the official language in the country as it is in at least 28 states.

Although New Mexico does not have an official language, there are laws that mandate the use of both English and Spanish, as is the case in Louisiana for English and French. Both Hawaiian and English are the official languages of Hawaii according to the state constitution. Several island territories give official recognition to their indigenous languages ​​besides English. While Spanish is the official language in Puerto Rico.

American Currency

The US dollar is the official currency of the United States of America, symbol $, code USD to distinguish it from other dollar currencies used by other countries and usually referred to as US dollar. Like most countries, the United States issues paper and coins money for monetary dealings. The US dollar is divided into 100 cents. Cents coins come in the forms of 1₵, 5₵, 10₵, 25₵, 50₵. As for paper money, they come in seven denominations as $1, $2, $5, $10, $20, $50, and $100. The paper money is green-colored and usually referred to as (greenback) in slag American and dollars are usually referred to as (bucks).

Measurement systems

The United States maintains its own units, which largely trace back to British Imperial units such as the mile, yard, and Fahrenheit. As for the American special units, they include the American gallon and the American pint. The United States is one of only three countries that have not adopted the International System of Units. However, the metric system is increasingly being used in science, medicine, and many industrial fields.

Culture

The United States is a melting pot of many nations and cultures, due to the constant immigration process, it is enriched with a variety of ethnic groups, traditions, and values. Regardless of the indigenous peoples of the United States, including the Native Hawaiians, nearly all of the people or their ancestors have migrated within the past five centuries. Western culture is the primary culture among Americans, which mainly draws from the customs of European immigrants, influenced by many other sources such as the traditions of Africans. Increased immigration from Asia and Latin America has added to the cultural diversity, yet these different groups maintain their distinct cultural roots.

Although the prevailing culture in the United States does not recognize classes, scholars have identified differences between the social classes in the country, which affect social relations, language, and values. The United States was pioneering in calling for individualism. The American middle and professional class initiated many contemporary social trends such as modern feminism, environmentalism, and multiculturalism in order to realize the American Dream.

The American Dream

The American Dream is a patriotic spirit of the United States, and a set of ideals (democracy, rights, freedom, opportunity and equality) in which freedom includes the opportunity for prosperity and success, as well as the social mobility of families and children. The meaning of the “American Dream” has evolved across history, it includes both personal concepts, such as owning a house and becoming rich, and a Cosmo vision.

The American Dream is embedded in the Declaration of Independence, as it states that “all men are created equal” and have the rights of “life, freedom, and the pursuit of happiness.”

Literature

During the 18th and early 19th centuries, American art and literature borrowed much from Europe. Writers such as Edgar Allan Poe, Nathaniel Hawthorne, and Henry David Thoreau established a distinct American literary voice by the mid-19th century. Emily Dickinson, unknown during her lifetime, became a major poet in America. Mark Twain and Walt Whitman were also leading figures in the second half of the century. Some works have quoted essential aspects and characteristics of the national experience.

Eleven Americans have won the Nobel Prize in Literature, the last of them being Toni Morrison in 1993. William Faulkner and Ernest Hemingway are among the most important writers of the 20th century. A new generation of literary writers opened a new approach paving the way to postmodern literature.

Cinema and Theater

Since the first 20th century, the US movie industry has greatly developed to become the world’s leader in the filmmaking industry based in Hollywood. Hollywood is a target for the leaders of motion picture production in the world, although within the 21st century it is more and more decentralized, and film companies have been seeking new places all over the globe.

The producer Walt Disney was a pioneer in both animated film and movie merchandising. credit goes to him in making Disney Productions and Disneyland spread around the world. The industry enjoyed its golden years, in what is commonly referred to as the Golden Age of Hollywood till the 1960s. In more recent times, filmmakers such as Steven Spielberg, George Lucas, and James Cameron have gained renown for their blockbuster movies, often characterized by high production costs and earnings.

Theater in the United States is affected by the old European theatrical art and has been deeply influenced by the British theater. The central hub for theaters, performers, actors, and producers/directors is in Broadway, where the community of theater culture used to get together.

Flowers are indeed pretty; they have unique fragrances; and each flower has a distinguished meaning, depending on its shape and colour. Flowers are characterized by different attributes and distinct features.

Flowers are what we will read more about together in this floral journey, so buckle up!  We will learn all about flowers, fluorography, how they originated and where, their types, their significance, importance, how deadly they can be, learn more about the rare flowers, how to grow a flower, the occasions that require flowers, and many juicy facts in between.

What are Flowers?

Flowers are a part of a plant. That is sometimes called bloom or blossom. Inside the flower petals, there is the part that produces pollen and seeds. Those are later transferred by bees, bats, moths, and other creatures that absorb the nectar of the plant in the bees’ case or visit the plant for a different purpose.

That nectar is what produces honey by the bees later on. Flowers rely on the outside factors to transfer the pollen or seeds to another plant or area. To, reproduce and multiply. The outside factors can be water, wind, birds, butterflies or bees as insects, or animals, such as bats.

All of which visit the flower for different reasons. Since these external factors help in the process of pollination, we call them ‘pollinators’.

Pollinators of Flowers

Their main job is to transfer pollen and seeds from one flower to another or a new area. Pollinators are necessary for our survival. Pollinators are creatures that assist plants in the process of reproduction.

The pollen or seeds stick to the bodies of the Pollinators when they are doing their purpose of visiting the flower, such as absorbing nectar in bees. Then, it gets transferred to another plant or another part of the same plant when the Pollinator moves onto another plant or another part of the same plant.

They mainly carry pollen from the male part of the plant to the female part. The male part of the plant is called ‘stamen’. Whereas, the female part of the plant is called ‘stigma’. The process of Pollination is necessary for the plant to become fertilized. It enables the plant to produce fruits when it becomes fertilized.

In turn, providing us with essential plants that we eat in our everyday life. Most fruits are flowers to begin with, that are fertilized by the pollination process that the Pollinators carry out. It also enables the plants to spread and reproduce more fruits by spreading the seeds.

Water

Water pollination is called hydrophily. The plants that are pollinated by water are called aquatic plants. The process takes place when pollen floats on the surface of the water. It keeps on drifting until it comes in contact with flowers.

Water pollination has two types. The surface pollination and the submerged pollination. Surface pollination happens when the pollen of the male part floats on the surface of the water until it comes in contact with the stigma of the female flower.

We can see plants like Waterweeds, Hydrilla and Elodea, Water Starwort as Callitriche, and Ditch Grasses as Ruppia pollinate using hydrophily surface pollination.

Hydrilla and Elodea

Hydrilla is also known as water thyme. It can survive in salty water. It grows deep in the water or even on the surface. It forms mats and each of them is slender. It branches 25 feet long. The roots have tubers that look like a potato growing in the mud.

As for Elodea, it is often referred to as waterweeds. It is from the Hydrocharitaceae family which is a plant. It provides shelter and food for many aquatic creatures. For example, insects and fish. It purifies water. Goldfish love eating Elodea.

It is mostly used as a decoration, however, it grows rapidly in nitrogen and phosphorus-rich environments which leads to a decrease in oxygen that eventually leads to the death of the fish in the aquarium.

Water Starwort

Water Starwort is also known as Callitriche. Callitriche grows from July to September. It forms many seeds. Ducks love to feed on it. It is green. The leaves on top of the stem take an oval shape, like an egg. Whereas, the lower part of the stem has straight leaves. Two leaves are growing on each joint of the stem. 

Ditch Grasses

Ditch grasses, widgeon grass, or as it is commonly referred to as Ruppia is a unique shallow submerged grass. It has diverse types. Mainly, it has about eight types.

In Eel-grass, such as Vallisneria, the whole male part of the flower detaches itself from the plant body and floats on the surface of the water until it comes in contact with the female part of the flower or as we call it the ‘stigma’.

Vallisneria

Growing Vallisneria is really easy. All you need is a good fertilizer and light. Then, sit back and watch your aquarium turn into a jungle. It is easy to remove when it exceeds the area you specified for it.

On the other hand, submerged pollination mostly takes place with pollen grains. A male part of the plant is referred to as pollen grain. Pollen grains are considered heavier than water. Therefore, it sinks.

Eventually, the sunken pollen grains are caught by the stigma. The stigma is a female part of the flower. The submerged pollination can be observed in water- nymphs. Water- nymphs are also known as Najas. In addition to Coontail.

Coontail

Coontail is also known as Ceratophyllum demersum or Hornwort. It is rootless. It is a lake weed. It forms colonies using submersed pollination. It grows rapidly and quickly. It provides shade and a source of food for some insects and fish.  

Generally, hydrophily is rare in plants. It can reach up to 2% of plants that pollinate through the usage of water. Which is about 30 genera. For example, monocotyledons or as they are commonly referred to monocots. Monocots are grass and flowers that are similar to grass called angiosperms.

The seeds of the angiosperms are mostly one embryonic leaf or a cotyledon that is transferred through water and keeps floating on the surface of the water or sinks in water. Until it reaches the female part of a flower that it fertilizes.

For instance, as we observed previously, water pollination takes place in common Waterweeds, Water Starwort, Ditch Grasses, eelgrass, Najas, and Coontail.

Wind

Pollination takes place by different methods as we mentioned. The wind is another factor that helps pollinate a flower. Wind pollination is also known as ‘Anemophily’. Anemophily is the process of transferring pollen from one plant to another by the effect of wind.

Many of the most important crops worldwide are wind-pollinated. Many plants are pollinated by wind, however, we will discuss a few. For example, grass, cereal crops, trees, and ragweeds.

Insects

In addition to all the methods we discussed, there is one factor that is essentially as important. It is pollination by insects. This type of pollination is called ‘Entomophily’. Where some insects distribute the pollen throughout the area. Usually, it is the pollen of flowery plants.

For example, butterflies and bees. Butterflies drink the nectar using their proboscis. Learn more about butterflies on LearningMole.com. Also, remember to learn all about the butterfly’s cycle of life:

Bees

Each bee has a specific role. Some bees are forager bees. Forager bees collect nectar from flowering plants. They drink the nectar and store it in their crop. The crop is also known as the honey stomach. It is used for storage and the nectar is not digested.

Animals

Some animals help out in the pollination process. It is called ‘Zoophily’. It is the type of pollination that includes an animal. For example, some birds and bats help out in the pollination process.

Birds

Pollination can take place by birds. This type of pollination is called ‘Ornithophily’. Birds help fertilize the plant by transferring pollen using their bills from one flower to another. Birds move from one plant to another feeding on nectar. They help pollinate many different types of flowers. For Example, orchids, the cardinal flower, and pineapple.

Bats

As for bats, they also help out in the pollination process. This type of pollination is called chiropterophily pollination. Bats eat insects and nectar found on the flower as well as some flower parts. In the process, they transfer pollen from one plant to another. More than 300 types of fruits are pollinated by bats. For example, Bananas, Mangoes, and Guavas.

Let us check some interesting facts about flowers before moving on to the flower language that we find most entertaining. Remember to check out the cycle of a plant on LearningMole, before carrying on.

Some interesting facts about Flowers

  1. Broccoli is a flower
  2. In the past, Tulips were more valuable than gold in Holland
  3. Orchids get their nutrients from the air
  4. Saffron, an expensive spice, comes from a type of crocus flower
  5. Bamboo is a flowering plant that flowers every few years
  6. Moonflowers only bloom at night and close by day
  7. The nice scent of roses comes from microscopic perfume glands on their petals
  8. Lilies are toxic for cats
  9. Certain flowers only release pollen when they feel a bee buzzing
  10. White flowers have stronger smells
Flowers

The Language of Flowers

Now that we know all about pollination and the life cycle of the plant, we can carry on with our journey. Let us learn all about the language of flowers! The language of flowers is also known as floriography.

Floriography is the language that tells us all about each flower, its meaning, and its symbolism. The language of flowers helps us determine the most suitable flower bouquets for each occasion. Every single flower has a story to tell.

Floriography started to flourish in the Victorian era. During the region of Queen Victoria, flowers were considered an invaluable expression of feelings because people were too shy to express their emotions openly.

The region of Queen Victoria in the United Kingdom was from 1837 to 1901. People sent Tissue Mussies.  Tissue Mussies are also known as nosegays. Nosegays are small bouquets that express a gesture of love and interest.

In the Victorian era, the way a bouquet was held or received determined the feelings of the receiver. Whether they appreciate the gesture or are not interested. If a bouquet was held at heart level, then the receiver loves the bouquet.

However, if it was held facing downwards by the receiver, then they are not interested. This means, they do not share the same feelings or the feelings are not mutual. If the sender asked a question when giving the bouquet, the receiver may answer by reaching out their hands to receive the bouquet.

For example, if the receiver reaches out their right hand, then it means ‘yes’. However, if the receiver reaches out their left hand, then that means ‘no’. Flowers were indeed the most important means of communication at that time.

Let us read some more fun facts about flowers and carry on with our flower-filled exploration journey. Flowers have so many stories to tell and we will try to hear each one of them till we have successfully learned all about flowers.

Awesome Facts about Flowers

  1. Shenzhen Nongke Orchid blooms once every four to five years
  2. Chocolate Cosmos is a flower that smells like Chocolate
  3. Sunflower seeds contain a substance that prevents any plant from growing near them
  4. The skeleton flower has petals that are white but turn invisible when wet
  5. The lotus is a holy flower for Buddhists because it represents purity
  6. Daffodil bulbs look like an onion and are poisonous
  7. Tulip bulb can replace onion in cooking
  8. Dandelion leaves make a caffeine-free coffee
  9. Cauliflower and Artichokes are flowers
  10. Bluebell flower juice was used to make glue

The History of Flowers

Flowers existed about 140 to 250 million years ago, nearly the same time as the first dinosaurs. However, it is believed that plants existed 500 million years ago. During, a period called the Cambrian period. Each flower had a different connotation then. A connotation is the meaning, symbol, and significance of the flower.

For example, ancient Egyptians fancied the Lotus flower. We can find numerous depictions of the Lotus flower in the drawings found on the walls of ancient tombs and the symbols of the hieroglyphics. It portrays different coloured Lotus flowers. Mainly, white and blue. They believed it signifies purity.

Whereas Turkish people adored the Tulip. It is the symbol of the Ottoman ruling era. The beginning of the 17th century is known as the age of Tulips. They believed it was a sacred flower that symbolizes beauty and harmony.

On the other hand, the Japanese loved the Sakura. It is also known as the Japanese cherry blossom. Cherry trees bloom for a short period in spring. They believed it represents hope and renewal. As for Britain, they adopted the roses.

Mainly, the Tudor rose was adopted by Henry VII as the emblem of peace once the War of Roses ended. The War of Roses was the civil war between the royal house of Lancashire and the royal house of York.

It took place in England. The royal house of Lancashire wore red roses. While the royal house of York wore white ones. India and the Lotus, China and the Peony, Mexico and the Poinsettia, and so much more are all different flowers that are favoured by different cultures for different reasons all over the world.

Scientists believe that the first flower to have ever existed is an aquatic plant named the Montsechia Vidalia. It is believed to have been dainty and white. It had curved petals arranged in three each circles. It was first found in Spain.

However, it was in France and England, that giving flowers took over throughout the years. Originally, it all seemed to have started in Turkey. Giving flowers became very widely common during the middle ages. Each flower came to signify a specific emotion or gesture.

 For example, giving chrysanthemums symbolizes friendship. Whereas, a rose is a representation of love. Bluebells represent kindness and loyalty. A lily represents purity. Iris is the flower of hope and Carnations tell the person you miss them.

Flowers are a unique form of communication. Even the arrangement of flowers can tell a story. Flower Arranging is an art that started far long ago. It has different rules, types, and styles that people adhere to craft the desired final look of the flower arrangement.

Flower arrangement aims for balance, proportion, harmony, rhythm, and emphasis. There are 9 popular types of flower arrangements. For example, the Elliptical, Vertical, Triangular, Crescent, ‘S-shaped, Oval, and Cascade flower arrangements.

The Western style of flower arrangement is more familiar with symmetrical arrangements. Whereas, the Eastern style is more familiar with asymmetrical arrangements. The Western cares about the mass effect, so they add more flowers. However, the Eastern care more about the individual beauty of each flower.

The Western arrangements may and do touch the rim of the vase. On the other hand, in Eastern arrangements, the flowers never touch the rim of the vase. There is no right way to arrange flowers, but it is an art in itself and should be valued.

We shall carry on with some facts for kids about flowers before we carry on with our learning journey. Flowers still have so much to tell us. Stories vary from one flower to another. Each story is unique and fun to hear about.

Facts about Flowers for Kids

  1. The Yarrow flower was used in World War I to help heal soldier’s wounds
  2.  Fertilizers are not necessary for flowers, but sunlight and water are
  3. Flowers make their food by photosynthesis by using sunlight, water, and minerals
  4. Bees are the most important pollinators worldwide
  5. Tulips started in Turkey
  6. Orchids do not need soil to grow
  7. The Titan Arum flower is endangered
  8. Chrysanthemums are unlucky in Malta
  9. The Rose is considered the most beautiful flower
  10. The Rosa Sericea has four petals only

Different Countries, Different Flowers

There are a total of 195 countries. The ten most famous countries in flower trade, in order, are The Netherlands, Colombia, Ecuador, Kenya, Belgium, Ethiopia, Malaysia, Switzerland, Italy, and Germany.

Netherlands

The Netherlands is famous for flowers. It is mainly associated with Tulips. However, it is responsible for a variety of different flowers, trees, and bushes being transported all over the world. The Netherlands is ranked as the top country involved in floral trade worldwide.

It exports different varieties of flowers throughout different countries. More than half of the floral trade is being handled by the Netherlands. Each country has a national flower that it is associated with. The Netherlands’ national flower is the Tulip.

Colombia

Colombia is best known for Orchids, roses, and carnations. Colombia has the largest amount of Orchids worldwide. More than 95 countries prefer to buy roses on Valentine’s Day or Mother’s Day. Colombia exports those.

The Orchid Cattleya TTrianais the most famous flower in Colombia. Colombia is also rich in a variety of different flowers. For example, the Cut flowers and Protea flower. The national flower of Colombia is the Cattleya Orchid.

Ecuador

Ecuador is known as the top producing country of roses and summer flowers. There are more than 400 varieties of roses there. Do not get me wrong, it produces different flowers as well, like Orchids. However, it is mostly known for roses.

The location of Ecuador is optimum for growing roses since roses mainly need sunlight. Ecuador is an equatorial country. Meaning it lies on the equator. They grow roses in the Andes Mountains.

The biggest and brightest roses are produced in Ecuador. The country built its success on the floral trade. The rose is the national flower of Ecuador. Black, rainbow, or any colour of roses, can be found in Ecuador.

Kenya

Kenya is mostly known for growing roses, carnations, and Alstromeria. There are even more types of flowers produced in Kenya. Kenya’s weather is ideal for growing flowers. The Orchid is the unofficial national flower of Kenya.

Kenya did not establish a specific flower as its national flower yet. However, the traditional stunning Orchid is the closest thing Kenya has to a national flower. Kenya has about 110 farms of flower farms.

Belgium

Belgium is known as the largest producer of Azaleas and Begonia. In addition to many other flowers, like roses, chrysanthemums, and Bluebells. Belgium has mild and humid weather. Its national flower is the Common Red Poppy.

The Common Red Poppy grows in fields and waste places. They have sedative properties and healing abilities. This is why they have long been used in European herbal medicine. Especially, with children or elders. It relieves pain and treats irritable coughs.

Ethiopia

Ethiopia produces mostly roses and exports them to the world. In addition to, coriander, myrrh, cardamom, chat, and caraway. Ethiopia is well known for the Rosa abyssinica. The Rosa abyssinica is Africa’s only indigenous rose species.

It is an evergreen Rosaceae with white and creamy fragrant and orange climbing hips. It can be found in high altitudes in Ethiopia. The national flower for Ethiopia is the Calla Lilies. The Calla Lilies are native to South Africa.

Malaysia

Malaysia has over 15,000 species of flowers, plants, and trees. Some are used as decoration and others are still undiscovered in Malaysia’s rainforests. Examples, are Orchids, Rafflesia, Ixora, Sabah Highlands Pitcher Plant, Bougainvillea, Pagoda Flower, and so much more.

More than 800 species of Orchids grow in Malaysia. Rafflesia is one of the largest single flowers out there. It is also known as the ‘Stinking Corpse Lily’. The Stinking Corpse Lily is used to refer to the red and white Rafflesia because of its foul smell.

Whereas, Ixora is known as Jejarum. It is a flowering garden shrub. It translates to Needle Flower. Sabah Highlands Pitcher Plant is one of the most unusual plants in Malaysia.

It is a carnivorous plant. It is tubular structured. It lures insects and vertebrates inside to be digested. BBougainvillaeais the official flower of Ipoh. It enjoys a tropical climate and can be found especially in hot and wet environments.

The Pagoda Flower is also known as Clerodendrum paniculatum. It is one of the most beautiful flowers in Malaysia. The flower is native to Malaysia. As the national flower of Malaysia, it is the Hibiscus Rosa- Sinensis. It is also called bunga raya. Meaning, a great flower in Malay.

Switzerland

Switzerland has so many beautiful flowers flowering all the time. For example, the Swiss Alpine Flowers are known as the jewels of the Alps. It is one of the loveliest sceneries. Especially, when they are in full bloom.

Most of those pretty flowers are endangered. Some are even highly poisonous. Some are shades of pale lilac. Others are deep purple. There are many cheerful colours to admire. The national flower of Switzerland is the Edelweiss. It only grows in the high Alps.

Italy

Italy grows lilies, roses, chrysanthemum, Orchids, sunflowers, Mimosa, peonies, carnations, Buttercups, poppies, oleanders, and so much more. Italians love flowers. They especially adore lilies.

 It is a special plant with many special names and meanings. Lily is not only the most adored flower but is also considered the national flower of Italy. Lily was the all-time favourite flower during the renaissance age. However, it is now the national favourite in Italy.

The scientific name of the lily is Lilium. It is also known as Asiatic lilies, a stylized lily, and oriental lily. They come in different colours and each colour holds a special significance. The orange is for passion, yellow for happiness, and white for modesty.

Each lily looks different and unique. They range from 4 to 8 petals. They can grow up to 6 feet in height. As for the usage, the Asiatic lily is mainly grown for decoration or oil extraction. Whereas, Oriental lilies are more fragrant. 

Germany

Germany produces the Freiland Rosa. It is native only to Germany. Ireland means ‘outdoors’. These flowers are mostly produced in summer in open-air conditions. The extreme weather conditions in Germany help people to grow such roses.

The national flower of Germany is the Cornflower. Cornflower is also known as knapweed. It has a remarkable blue colour. However, it is now available in different colours as well. It used to be commonly known as the bachelor’s button because in the 19th century unmarried men and women wore it at their buttonholes to communicate their status.

It grows annually. It is native to Europe. It often grows as a weed in cornfields. For example, wheat, barley, rye, and oats. This is why they are sometimes known as the Cornflowers. However, it is named the Centaurea Cyanus.

Quick Flowers’ Facts

  1. Years ago, at the time Vikings were invading Scotland, wild thistle patches slowed them down and the Scots had time to escape. This is why the wild thistle is Scotland’s national flower. You can learn more about who the Vikings were on LearningMole.com
  2. Sunflowers follow the sun’s movement throughout the day from east to west
  3. Flowering ‘Nicotiana’ is related to tobacco and it is from which the cigarettes are made
  4. Some gas plants produce ignitable gas on warm nights
  5. Angelica was widely used in Europe for a long time as a cure for everything
  6. In Middle Ages, Lady’s mantle was thought to have magical healing properties
  7. Yarrow is known for its healing properties
  8. 25% of flowers are endangered species
  9. 571 flowers species are already extinct since 1750
  10. 400,000 species of flowers exist and roses make up about 35,000 out of them

Flower Types

There are a variety of different flowers out there. Each variety has a wide range of types. And each type has a vast amount of colours. We will investigate the wide variety of different flowers we have out there, together!

There are many types of flowers out there. About 300 or more. However, we will discuss only a few of them and you can learn more about the flower types extensively on LearningMole.com. Where, you will find an article about the types of flowers, specifically.

Aster

We will mainly, talk about 10 common flower types. The first flower type we will discuss is Aster. Aster is a purple flower with a yellowish centre. It is named after the Greek word ‘Star’. It symbolizes love, wisdom, and colour.

It may bloom in many other colours, like pink, red, white, lilac, or purple.  It blooms in late summer or about early fall. They are quite easy to grow and they flourish beautifully. They can survive even in winter.

Carnations

Carnation look like a flourishing spark. It comes in different colours. Each colour varies in meaning. It is commonly found near the Mediterranean region. It is native to the area. It needs to be planted in an area that is subjected to sunlight for about four to six hours per day.

Carnations reflect ideas of fascination and distinction. It is also known as Dianthus Caryophyllus, grenadine, clove pink, or as we call it: carnation.  A white carnation is a wish of good luck, innocence, and purity.

It can be found during spring. Light red carnations represent admiration. Dark red carnations express deep affection. Carnation is the birth flower of those who are born in January. Striped carnations symbolize regret.

Daffodils

 Daffodils are as William Wordsworth said:

“I wandered lonely as a cloud

That floats on high o’er vales and hills.

When all at once I saw a crowd;

A host, of golden daffodils,

Beside the lake, beneath the trees,

Fluttering and dancing in the breeze.”

They are beautiful yellow flowers. Usually found in spring. They are also known as Narcissus. Narcissus is the Latin name for daffodils. It is said to be named after the son of the river god in Greek mythology.

They represent rebirth and new beginnings since they bloom right after the winter frost. Daffodils can last up to 10 days in a vase. They represent hope. They come in white as well. They are a symbol of positivity and forgiveness.

However, one single daffodil means bad luck. Daffodils multiply by adding bulbs indefinitely. This is why they are believed to hold an infinite life span. In other words, a very long life span.

Dahlia

 Dahlia is natively a Mexican flower. They are bushy. Dahlias come in different colours. They are sun lovers. The more sun they are subjected to, the better they grow. They need at least six hours in the sun daily.

They are easy to plant. Dahlias bloom beautifully from mid-summer through fall. A blooming season can last up to 4 months. They used to be a religious symbol. A dahlia expresses wealth and elegance.

Daisy

Daisies can be found all over the world. On every continent. Except for Antarctica. Daisies tend to open in the morning and close at night. Maybe that is why they are known as day’s eye. It relates to the Old English name ‘daeges eage’.

Daisies have white petals with a circular golden yellow centre. It refers to childbirth and motherhood. It symbolizes new beginnings and rebirth as well. It is made up of two flowers. The yellow centre and the petal florets. Sometimes the petals can be colourful.

Lily

Lilies are also known as Lilium. They are incredible pollinators as they attract many insects with their colourful flowers and tasty nectar. They have large petals that can range in colour. From white, yellow, orange, red, purple, to pink. Some even have freckles.

Lilies are commonly thought to represent devotion or purity. For example, the Virgin Mary. They can even symbolize the rebirth of hope. It is usually used at funerals because it may refer to death. The lilies that are given at funeral service are known as the white stargazer lily.

Orchid

Orchids are believed to have healing abilities. They absorb carbon dioxide and release oxygen just like any other plant. Orchids flourish when subjected to the sun. They symbolize beauty and elegance. They are believed to bring good luck and prosperity.

They are believed to have legendary healing qualities. They are a common addition to homes and farms. Different traditional cultures have long used them for healing and medications. For example, the Chinese and Ayurvedic.

Rose

Roses are a wonderful expression of love and affection. They come in different types and have a variety of colours. The number of roses given also makes a difference. For example, giving 10 roses is like saying: “You Are Perfect!”

12 roses means be mine and 13 is not so in love. Red roses symbolize love and romance. Pink roses are the women’s favourite. They symbolize gratitude. Orange symbolize passion and enthusiasm. Whereas, yellow symbolize friendship.

Rose petals are eatable. Roses teach us that no matter what you are going through, you are still spreading joy by existing. Roses have thorns at every stage in its life. From when they are still buds till full bloom. They always spread joy by merely looking at them.

Sunflower

Sunflowers follow the sun throughout the day as we previously mentioned. They provide vibrancy and energy. They are known as happy flowers. They remind us of the sun. Sunflowers are a symbol of positivity.

They make our admiration and loyalty attribute show by giving them. Sunflowers attract bees and pest-patrolling birds which eventually improves the harvest. They can live from 8 to 12 weeks. Usually at the beginning of July till October.

Tulip

Tulips are the flowers of love. They represent perfect and deep love. They are also known for their vibrant bold colours. They have beautiful shapes as well. They are long, broad, and have parallel-veined leaves that are cup-shaped. They may even appear in different colours.

Usually with six petals. However, they have only three petals and the other three are sepals that appear as petals. They are usually associated with forgiveness. The Tulip is the national flower of Iran.

Flowers’ Facts to Remember

  1. The world’s largest flower is the Titan Arum
  2. The Titan Arum is almost 10 feet
  3. The Titan Arum is one of the most stinky flowers out there
  4. The Titan Arum is also known as the corpse flower
  5. The Corpse Flower is labelled as the ugliest flower in the world
  6. The Oleander is the official flower of the city of Hiroshima
  7. The Oleander was the first plant to bloom after the atomic bomb in 1945
  8. The Sego Lily plant is the state flower of Utah
  9. Mormon pioneers survived on the Sego Lily plant
  10. The world’s oldest flower bloomed 125 million years ago

The Importance of Flowers

Flowers are sure pretty. They bring joy by just admiring them, but have you ever wondered why they are important? Well, they have many functions, we bet you didn’t know about them. Let us tell you a few of them.

We will tell you a lot about the manufacture of flowers, what do we extract from them, and what is its usage. We will discuss how essential are flowers in the medical field and medicines by concentrating on herbalism.

Finally, we will tell you how magnificent flowers make everything seem. We will elaborate on examples of cities that mainly use flowers for decoration while we discuss their different artistic features.

Flowers and Manufacture

Flowers are used in different manufacturing processes. They are used in cooking and food manufacturing. Flowers are also used in making perfumes. Their oils are used for different purposes as well. In addition to that, flowers are used in cosmetics.

We will learn about each of the three manufacturing processes. The first process is the cooking and food manufacture. Flowers are used extensively in food production and are even used as ingredients in cooking.

Cooking and Flowers

Some flowers are edible and their petals make delicious snacks. For example, roses. There are a lot of edible flowers that take cooking up a notch. We will discuss a few types of those flowers. However, not every plant that smells good is tasty.

Just remember that some plants and flowers can be poisonous, so make thorough research before cooking with a flower or just stick to the following list because we did our research and you are safe to go.

Hibiscus

The Hibiscus flower has a sweet yet citrus taste. People say the taste reminds them of cranberries. They are added fresh or dry into teas or other hot beverages. In addition to being used as a garnish for a fresh salad.

Usually, Hibiscus is grown for ornamental purposes. However, it is also widely used for culinary and medicinal purposes. It is edible. Still, it tastes better when used for tea, jam, or salad. Most people drink Hibiscus tea for medical purposes.

To create such tea, you should steep the dried pieces in hot water. It creates a deep rose-coloured infusion. It is plain but has a subtle, tart, and floral flavour. It is also a great flavour addition to drinks and dishes.

Carnation

The petals of Carnation taste sweet. However, the base of the flower is bitter. So, make sure to separate them. “What’s Cooking America”, a culinary show, stated that Carnations are the secret behind the making of Chartreuse.

Chartreuse is a French liqueur since the 17th century. Only the petals are edible. Carnations can be used as desserts, to decorate pasta dishes, or in cooking rice. You name it! They have sweet-tasting petals for every sweet- tooth out there.

Carnations are the second most cultivated flower after the roses. Each colour of carnations stands for a different entity or occasion. For example, pink Carnations are a representation of motherly love. Whereas, red Carnations are a necessity for Chinese weddings.

Sunflower

Closed Sunflower buds that have not opened up yet can be steamed and eaten as you would eat an artichoke. Its bright yellow petals add flavour and colours to our everyday salad. Sunflower oil is used for different variety of usages.

You can even cook the flower head of the Sunflower. Let us investigate how to do so step by step, together. First off, preheat your grill to medium heat. Remove all the outer and inner petals. This will reveal the creamy seeds.

Brush it all over in olive oil. Dust some sea salt and place it head down on the grill. Cover the head for 5 minutes. Then, remove the head and add a bit more oil and season it however you like. Now, take one big bite.

Lilacs

Lilacs have a variety of flavours. They range from bitter to bittersweet. However, it has a lemony taste with a floral overtone. It has a slightly bitter taste with its perfumed fragrance. Some may find that it tastes like citrus. Quite the zesty flavour.

Lilacs are great in fresh salads. They also make a good addition to candied or crystalized with a mixture of egg whites and sugar. The simplest most known way to enjoy Lilacs is by an infusion of the flowers to create Lilac sugar.

Lilacs are edible, specifically the flowers themselves. They do not contain any form of poison or harmful substances that may harm humans, animals, or upset the stomach. You can make Lilac honey, Lilac astringent, or sugar them for dessert.

Chrysanthemum

People love to eat Chrysanthemums. It tastes a bit like cauliflower. It has a tangy and peppery taste. The petals are usually added to fresh salads. Young leaves and stems are added to an Asian dish called Chop Suey.

It is also added to Shingiku as it is known in Japanese. The base of the flower can be extremely bitter. However, it is still widely used in different cooking recipes as a favourable ingredient. Chrysanthemum may be similar in taste to cauliflower, but it still has a unique taste of its own.

The taste is commonly referred to as a Chinese flavour taste. The leaves of Chrysanthemum are eatable even in their raw state. They can be eaten as they are, cooked to taste even better, or added to the food to enrich the taste.

Nasturtium

Nasturtiums are one of the most enchanting additions to cooking. It is commonly used in cooking. The colourful flowers are sweet yet slightly peppery. It is just the right amount. It reminds us of the watercress.

Nasturtiums can be added to fresh salads. It fills up the savoury stuffing taste. We can even use their seed pods as a pocket-friendly alternative to capers. We can even use them as a sweet peppery addition to sandwiches, appetizers, and even cocktails.

The leaves of Nasturtiums are eatable. They make beautiful garnishes. Not only the leaves, but the whole flower is fully edible. The leaves, flowers, and seeds are all edible. They are a good source of vitamin C. Always remember, that they have a peppery taste.

Peony

The petals of Peonies are sweet. They are usually added to tea or water to infuse flavour. Especially, in China. It is also used in giving a nice appearance to the salad or cold beverage. Peony petals are so pretty and quite tasty.

Peonies are fragrant. The petals may taste good, but the roots, flowers, and seeds are toxic. It will cause poisoning. That will result in diarrhoea, skin irritation, tremors, and an accelerated heartbeat. So, be sure to split the petals from the roots and eat only the petals.

Peonies may look beautiful and smell nice, but they are quite toxic. So, only eat the petals or avoid the flower altogether. Not every flower is completely edible on our list. Some have specific parts that are edible. Others are fully edible to the roots.

Roses

Finally, the roses. You see, roses are pretty and fragrant. In addition to being quite tasty. The flavours differ. It depends on the growing condition which varies. The flavour and taste would make you think of strawberries or green apples.

All roses are edible. Darker coloured roses have a stronger flavour. We can use roses in a variety of ways. They can be added to salads, desserts, spreads, jam, butter, and so much more. The options are endless.

It can taste sweet, subtle, or range from fruit to mint to spice. You can freeze them in ice cubes or add them to drinks. The flower petals can be used to make jellies, syrups, or perfumed butter. Make sure you remove the bitter white portion of the petals.

Perfumes and Flowers

Nearly everyone would agree that flowers smell good. Their good smell makes them a good ingredient to add to perfumes. Perfumes are a luxury to some people and a necessity to others. However, we can all agree that they smell good.

Flowers make perfumes smell so much better and they may even change the colour of the perfume. We will mention a few flowers that are used in perfume manufacturing and we hope you find your next favourite perfume among them.

Roses

Roses are known as the queen of flowers. Roses are an essential ingredient in many floral perfumes. They are harvested by night. That’s because they carry a strong scent before sunrise. This is why they are usually harvested by night.

Rosa Centifolia and Rosa Damascene are two types of flowers that are widely used in perfume making worldwide. Rosa Centifolia is found in the south of France. Rosa Damascene is found in most Arab countries.

The notes are mostly used in perfumes because they offer a very refreshing scent that can mesmerize people’s senses. You can create your perfume with roses at home. It usually involves rose petals and some water.

Lavender

Lavender is one of the most beautiful sweet-smelling flowers out there. It is used for many different purposes. Culinary, medical, and perfumery. They are flowers that are native to the old world.

They can be found across the Canary Island, South Europe, North and East Africa, the Mediterranean, and India. Lavender’s fragrance is unique. One of the most fragrant species of lavender is the hybrid Lavandin Lavender.

Lavender can be used to make your very own perfume at home. Some grain alcohol, 8 drops of vanilla oleoresin, and 10 drops of lavender essential oil. Combine them in a small bottle that is about 10 ML.

Jasmine

Jasmine is one of the sweet-smelling and pleasantly modest flowers. Their fragrance is at its peak just before dawn. They are processed immediately before their fragrance fades away. They are found in tropical regions all over the world.

They come in white and yellowish colours. They are widely used in the manufacturing of perfumes and cosmetics because of their mesmerizing fragrance. Jasmine flowers are used in aromatherapy.

Dried Jasmine flowers are used to make tea and have a nice scent that has a calming effect on the brain. “Jasmine” is a Persian word. Its origin is Yasmine. It means fragrance. There are more than 200 species of Jasmine out there.

Only two out of the 200 are used in perfumery. Jasmine Sambac is the first. It is native to China and India, but it mainly grows in India. The second is Jasmine Grandiflorum. It is native to Afghanistan and Iran, but commonly grown in France.

Violet

Violet is very common in the perfume industry. Due to its magnificent fragrance. Violets can be dated back to Ancient Greece in 500 B.C. They are native to the Northern Hemisphere, Hawaii, Australia, and the Andes in South America.

Two specific species of Violets are mainly used in the perfume industry. The first one is Victoria Violet. The second is the Parma Violet. Violets usually contain a chemical called ionine.

This chemical is responsible for desensitizing the nose and sense of smell. It is used in the production of perfumes, oils, and lotions because of its scent. Violets smell soft and can create a perfume with a very feminine fragrance.

Tuberose

Tuberose has a strong scent. Which is one of the reasons it is used in making perfumes. Once you smell Tuberose, you cannot help but remember the smell of gardens. That is because it smells more earthly than most fragrances.

Tuberose has metallic and buttery hints in its scent. However, it does not always smell good. Beware. When its petals turn brown, the smell turns to that of rot. As long as it is blooming, you are on the safe side.

It can smell spicy, creamy, or even as an exotic floral ingredient. Tuberose is considered one of the most expensive raw materials in creating a perfume. That is because 3600 Kg are used to extract only 0.5 Kg of the Tuberose oil. Which is a tiny amount.

Ylang Ylang

Ylang Ylang is not white, but it is white at heart. Meaning, it shares the features of white flowers. White flowers have fragrant scents. So does Ylang Ylang. It smells spicy, fruity, and heady.

In other words, Ylang Ylang is white at heart. It is referred to as the “Jasmine of the poor”. It is one exotic flower that is so sweet. Not as food, but sweet in smell. It originated from South Wast Asia, but it can be found all over Africa, the Caribbean, and the Americas.

Ylang Ylang can grow on trees or even on a vine. It produces large and long yellow or green flowers. They are usually picked up when they are most fragrant. That is when they have a reddish tint to them.

Frangipani

Frangipani is also known as Plumeria. Plumeria grows on trees. It can be white, yellow, or pink. It is a flower with an exotic scent of tropical wind. These flowers are native to tropical regions of South-East Asia, the Caribbean, and Brazil.

The same as Jasmine and Tuberose, Plumeria is most fragrant at night. Plumeria trick pollinators into pollinating them since they have and produce no nectar. It smells similar to Jasmine and Tuberose.

However, its scent is distinguished. It may contain a hint of lemon. It is believed to have the strongest scent among all the floral fragrances. That is why it is one of the basic ingredients of most perfumes.

Narcissus

Narcissus is one of the few wildflowers that is used in commercial fragrances. It is native to meadows and woods across Southern Europe and North Africa. It is widely grown across Asia and the Middle East.

The origin of the name is not exactly known. However, it somehow links to the Greek word ‘Narke’. This word means narcotic. This term suits the scent of these flowers wonderfully. It is usually also related to the Greek myth of Narcissus.

It tells the story of a handsome youth who one day was passing by a pond. He fell in love almost instantly. Once his eyes fell upon his reflection. Some say he fell in and drowned. Others say he turned into stone as time passed.

Others believe he perished away with time. However, they all agreed that Narcissus was his name. So, they called the flower that grew in the place he used to sit and admire his reflection after his name. The word refers to the story and so the name is associated with the flower.

Cosmetics and Flowers

Flowers do not only smell and taste good, they also look good and help us look even better. Some flowers are used in the manufacture of cosmetics. Cosmetics are not an everyday necessity to most people, but it is indeed an undeniably important matter to others.

Flowers are involved in the manufacturing of those undeniably important cosmetics. We will discuss a few flowers that are used in the manufacture of cosmetics.  Sunflower and Hibiscus oils are used in cosmetics to brighten the skin and moisturize it.

While they can also soften the hair and add shine to it. Roses, on the other hand, smell good, taste good, and look good. Because of their sweet fragrance, gentle texture on the skin, and nice colours, some roses are mostly used in manufacturing cosmetics.

Roses contain a variety of vitamins, antioxidants, and minerals. That is beneficial for the skin. Its oils are awesome for moisturizing dry skin. It also offers astringent properties. That makes it an excellent combatant of acne, redness, and inflammation.

Lavender, on the other hand, has many properties that allow it to gracefully enter the cosmetics field. It reduces acne. Lavender detoxifies the skin. It soothes irritation. Lavender tones your skin. It calms down the brain because of its soothing fragrance.

In turn, it helps us sleep. It is the perfect cure for anxiety and depression. Lavender also helps with hair loss problems. It gets rid of dandruff. Lavender can do so much more. That is why it became a vital ingredient in the production of cosmetics.

Saponaria is another one of those flowers that are considered the first choice of cosmetic development brands. That is because it has many properties that can be used in different variety of products.

It can be used as a powerful tool in your fight against acne. Saponaria contains natural chemical compounds that allow it to moisturize the skin. It rejuvenates it by creating rejuvenating masks, body oils, and so much more.

Chamomile mostly helps people relax because of its captivating and soothing fragrance. It is also used widely in skincare products. For example, in the creams, we use to keep our skin hydrated and moisturized.

It is also mainly used as an ingredient in the preparation of anti-inflammatory creams. It helps in improving the health of our bodies. It contains powerful anti-oxidants. For example, polyphenols and phytochemicals.

Once applied to the skin, it helps accelerate cell and tissue renewal. Therefore, it is used in anti-ageing creams or in the manufacture of products that protect the skin. According to Engelman, it reduces the appearance of fine lines and gives the skin a youthful glow.

Verbena, on the other hand, can be used in cooking, but it is mainly used as an undeniably essential element in the development of cosmetics. It helps recover the original state of the skin and keeps the skin hydrated.

Some acne creams use Verbena mainly, but it is also widely used as an important ingredient in other cosmetics products and skin-care elements. It is used in making deodorants and hand wipes because of its nice-smelling aroma.

Herbalism and Flowers

Flowers are not just sweet-smelling, tasty, and pretty. They are also handy. Flowers are used as herbs and cures in medical fields in a wide variety of countries. Some flowers are special because of their healing properties.

We will mention a few flowers that have these healing properties. Some flowers have proved throughout history that they have extraordinary healing abilities. They were used as a cure to almost every illness and as medicaments during the war.

Lotus

Lotus is considered sacred in some countries and others, it is used as an everyday element in medicinal usage. It contains chemicals that decrease swelling, and kill cancer cells and bacteria. It also helps reduce blood sugar, break down fat, and protect the heart and blood vessels.

The Chemicals in Lotus help protect the skin, liver, and brain. Some people experienced feeling ‘high’ as a result of consuming the blue Lotus plant. It got them in a state of euphoria. This is one of the reasons why blue Lotus consumption is not approved in the United States.

It is also known as the sacred Lotus in some countries. The flowers, seeds, leaves, and some parts of the underground stem, also known as rhizome, of the Lotus are used to make medicines. It is used to stop bleeding. In addition to being used to treat digestive disorders, like diarrhoea.

Lavender

Lavender dates back to the ancient Egyptians. Lavender played a crucial role in the mummification process. The word itself can be traced back down to its Latin roots. It was ‘Lavare’. That meant in Latin ‘to wash’.

As time went on, Lavender was a wonderful addition to bathtubs in several regions. For example, Ancient Persia, Greece, and Rome. These cultures believed that Lavender helped purify the body and the mind.

Lavender has been used to reduce many symptoms and improve multiple conditions. It was recommended for people suffering from sleep disorders. Such as insomnia. Lavender helps improve our sleep patterns and the quality of our sleep.

The aroma itself and inhaling it would eventually improve the sleep pattern. Lavender was also prescribed for those suffering from anxiety. It helps decrease anxiety as well. In addition to helping us with our hair loss problems.

It stimulates hair growth in about 28 days frame. The secret is consistency. It also helps with migraine and headaches. Lavender soothes headaches and migraines away. It also helps in handling and dealing with the side effects of chemotherapy.

It treats depression. Lavender helps fight off acne. It is also applied to burns as a traditional remedy to treat them. It helps improve skin conditions overall. It helps soothe wounds and makes them heal much faster.

Jasmine

Jasmine is used for a variety of purposes, but we will mainly talk about its medicinal features and usages. Jasmine oil is extracted from Jasmine. It is an essential oil that came from the plant we call Jasmine or Jasminum Officinale.

It has been popular for its sweet scent. It is used in the making of the world’s best-known perfumes, like Chanel No.5. It is also used in food, desserts, sweets, and alcohol. Jasmine oil can also be used as a home remedy to treat almost everything we suffer from.

It has lots and lots of health benefits. Jasmine is also used as an antidepressant. Aromatherapy is believed to reduce depressive symptoms. It boosts blood oxygen saturation and blood pressure. It helps people become more alert.

Jasmine improves the overall mood of the person. Jasmine oil is usually used in aromatherapy. Jasmine is also used as an antiseptic. The plant has antiseptic properties. Jasmine can be used in treating or preventing infections.

When diluted and directly applied to the skin or may be used to rinse oral infections. Jasmine has a romantic fragrance. It is also used as an antispasmodic. It reduces spasms. It is also used as a sedative.

Jasmine has sedative properties. It has a calming effect. The name ‘Jasmine’ can be traced back to its Persian roots. It used to mean ‘Gift from God’. Jasmine is highly sacred in India and the Himalayas.

Indian women use it to scent their hair and call it the “moonlight of the grove”. It is the national flower of Pakistan. It is also a sacred flower of the Kama, known as the God of Love. In the Himalayas of Western Chine, Jasmine is known as the ‘Queen of the Flowers’.

It helps with stress and insomnia. The delicate flower of Jasmine can create a fragrant tea with a soothing effect. It is rich in antioxidants. Antioxidants interact with gastrointestinal enzymes to facilitate better nutrient absorption.

It eliminates harmful bacteria and promotes the growth of beneficial bacteria in the stomach. It relieves indigestion. Jasmine deals with stomach cramps. It also soothes inflammation. Jasmine may be a delicate flower, but surely one with huge effects.

Sunflower

Sunflowers are native to the Americas. They are used for many purposes. Among those purposes, we have medicine. They have been used in medicinal remedies since the dawn of day. In our modern times, sunflowers still hold the status of medicinal properties.

It helps regulate cholesterol levels. Sunflower oil is rich in fatty acids. Those acids are healthy and they help lower harmful cholesterol levels. This, in turn, reduces the risk of heart attacks and atherosclerosis.

Sunflowers also help strengthen the bones since the seeds contain high levels of vitamins and minerals. These prevent age-related diseases. For example, osteoporosis and arthritis. Sunflowers also promote brain health because their seeds contain high levels of essential minerals.

Those minerals are considered brain food. They are harvested from the flower head. The seed itself is encased in a black and white striped shell. The seeds of sunflowers have a distinctive nutty flavour to them.

Chamomile

Chamomile is one of the most familiar medicinal herbs out there. The tea made out of Chamomile leaves was and still is used in traditional remedies. It mainly calms anxiety disorders and relieves stomach pain and cramps.

It may also relieve an upset stomach. Treat heartburn. Deal with nausea and vomiting. Chamomile does so much more. It helps with wound healing. Mainly, it is used for treating sleep, stomach, digestion, bruises, inflammation, and headache problems.

It is still being investigated as a treatment for diabetes. Chamomile is also known as Matricaria Recutita. It is sometimes also referred to as German Chamomile. It is a native herb to Europe, Africa, and Asia. It is also grown in North America.

Germany uses it as a treatment for coughs, bronchitis, and fevers. It contains many elements that are key to many other diseases and disorders. It is often consumed as herbal tea that soothes the mind and the brain.

Calendula

Calendula is a plant. The flower is used to make medicine. Calendula is used to relieve and prevent muscle spasms. It helps reduce fever. It is also used to treat sore throat and mouth. Calendula helps with cramps, cancer, and stomach indigestion.

Calendula is also known as Pot Marigold. It is native to the Mediterranean region of Europe. It has antibacterial, antifungal, and anti-inflammatory properties. In addition to being used in cosmetics, soaps, and shampoos.

It is also used as a wound treatment. The name Calendula is derived from the Latin name Calendar. It refers to the blooming season. It is also known as Marigold. The oil is extracted and used for different purposes.

Flowers as Decoration

Flowers, undeniably, look pretty and they make everything else look good. Some countries mainly use flowers as inspiration to design their buildings or decorate the place for a specific occasion. Other countries usually use flowers to decorate their gardens and houses.

Some people just love to decorate themselves using flowers. That includes their dresses, hairstyles, as well as cosmetics, as we previously elaborated. We will investigate each of them as much as time allows us to. In the end, we hope you can determine what your country mainly uses flowers for.

Flowers and Buildings

Flowers inspired many works of art, they still do, and they always will. Flowers do not only taste, smell, and look good, but also they spread goodness. Some countries went looking for flowers when they wanted to build and decorate.

Other countries still seek out flowers as their main source of inspiration. We will talk about a few buildings that were inspired by flowers. Then, we will discuss how flowers are used as a decoration inside buildings for a specific occasion or as an everyday beautiful sight.

The Lotus Temple

It is designed to look like a Lotus Flower. It is located in Delhi, India. It is a Bahai House of Worship that is open to people of every belief. Wherever your faith and beliefs lie, this place is open for you to explore.

The Lotus flower is one of the flowers that are considered sacred in India. The structure is shaped like that of the petal of the Lotus flower. The structure is clad in white marble. That white marble came from Greece.

MAXXI Museum

The National Museum of the 21st Century Arts is also known as MAXXI. It is the masterpiece of Zaha Hadid. Zaha Hadid is a Roman artist. The MAXXI museum contains many exhibits that are truly works of art.

However, it particularly contained The Golden Lotus piece. That piece was inspired by the shape of the Lotus flower. It was created by Choi Jeong- Hwa. Another artist could not help, but admires the beauty of flowers and sculptured it into life.

Sheikh Zayed Mosque

Muslims go to Mosques to pray their five prayers a day. A Mosque is a holy place just like a Church or a Temple. They are all places where people go to pray and practice their religion. The Sheikh Zayed Mosque lies in Abu Dhabi.

Its floors are covered in beautiful floral mosaics. They were designed by the artist Kevin Dean. The designs cover most, if not all, of the floors of the Mosque. The designs cover the interior walls and floors as well as the courtyard.

Marina Bay Sands

The Marina Bay Sands resort lies in Singapore. It contains a beautifully designed Art Science Museum. It was inspired by the Lotus flowers as well. Moshe Safdie found this inspiration that resulted in this beautiful piece of architecture.

The building is designed based on the shape of a Lotus flower. Each petal features a skylight. That skylight is at the tip of the pedal. To illuminate the interior that is visible to the people outside with natural light.

Burj Khalifa

Burj Khalifa is located in Dubai. The architecture was inspired by the Spider Lily. The Spider Lily is also commonly known as Hymenocallis. It was designed by the architects at SOM. The three-pronged footprints of the tower are more or fewer abstractions of the Spider Lily.

The plant inspired the architects to the point that they decided to work day and night on bringing this inspiration to life. They have thoroughly succeeded. The building is now considered the tallest skyscraper in the world.

Hangzhou Sports Center

The Hangzhou Sports Center is located in Beijing. It was designed for a specific purpose. The Hangzhou Sports Center was designed for the 2022 Winter Olympics that will take place in Beijing.

The building is inspired by the Lotus flower. The Lotus flower has indeed inspired many buildings and architecture. The Hangzhou Sports Center was designed by NBBJ. Intended to look like a Lotus- façade that is wrapped in white petals.

Prentice Women’s Hospital

The Prentice Women’s Hospital is a part of Northwestern University’s campus in downtown Chicago. However, it is now demolished. It was designed by Bertrand Goldberg. The artist was inspired by a cloverleaf.

A single fragile cloverleaf inspired a whole architectural building. It was completed in 1975. It was one of the very few first structures that were designed using computers. The Brutalist structure was one of the few of the first whose plans were made and mapped out using computers.

Quizhong Tennis Center

Quizhong Tennis Center is located in Shanghai. It was inspired by the magnolia flower. It is a beautiful flower. The Quizhong Tennis Center features a dynamic roof that consists of petals. The roof closes and opens depending on the weather.

Grand Lisboa

The Grand Lisboa is located in Macau. Specifically, in the Grand Lisboa hotel and casino. It was also inspired by the blossoming Lotus. Therefore, the postmodern design resembles the blossoming Lotus.

Flowers did not only inspire works of art and buildings, but they also helped improve our moods by just being there. That is why you would see flowers in Churches, gardens, or events. We will pick a few flowers to talk about in decorating weddings.

Rose

Rose is the symbol of Love. This is why it is popularly used as a decoration at weddings. It comes in different colours. Because of the variety of colours it comes in, it is easily paired with other flowers for decoration.

Roses look pretty in almost everything. They look pretty in large arrangements. They look good as centrepieces. They look good as bouquets. They look good in a corsage. They look good in almost everything.

They would and will add to the beauty of a well-decorated wedding event or venue. Roses are elegant. They are also fresh. Those two features make roses one of the most frequently used flowers in decoration because they fit for every celebration. 

Daisy

Daisy, on the other hand, is a traditional wedding flower. It also comes in a variety of different colours. Which is one of the reasons why it is usually used by people in venue decorations for occasions and events.

Rustic and vintage are simply asking for a daisy. It is the perfect flower for decorating the event in rustic or vintage themes. Daisies make the perfect centrepiece for such weddings. The arrangements and bouquets will be dominated by those colourful daisies.

It is quite easy to fix daisies up with other flower arrangements. They simply fit in right away. Plus, they are low- maintenance. So do not worry about watering them now and then. Daisies are a smart choice for your wedding themed venue.

Carnation

Carnations are quite affordable if you are looking for something high quality, good appearance, and on budget, then you have come to the right place. Carnations are the perfect addition to almost every event out there. Especially, weddings.

Carnations are available in a variety of shades and colours. You can choose any shade based on the theme of your event and the other plants or flowers involved in the event. It all falls back to your personal preference.

These flowers last way longer than your normal flower. Not to mention, they look extra fancy. Which makes them the perfect fit for your extravagant wedding right there. Did I mention, they are quite affordable?

Hydrangea

Fluffy and cute? We got you right here! Look no further, Hydrangea are on the go. Do you want to make your big party a success? Fill it up with flowers? However, you ended up unsure which flower is the perfect fit for your cute party.

Well, Hydrangea is here now, worry no more. It will fill up all that extra space right there. The bouquet, centrepieces, and the décor. Especially, in summer. It comes in different varieties of shades and colours.

They are usually used up along with other flowers to increase the volume and give shape to the flowers as a whole. They greatly add to the look of the overall theme. Hydrangea increases the volume of the bouquets or vases. They will certainly add a magical touch to your event.

Orchid

Did you mention charming and beautiful? Well, orchids are right here. They represent all the charm and beauty you can look for in one flower. They will most certainly add to your overall look of the theme.

Whether traditional or modern, orchids will do the trick. They look gorgeous on almost every occasion they set foot in. One arrangement or a single stem will look good anyways. The number does not matter as long as it’s orchids.

Delicately sweet orchids come in different varieties and shades. They are the perfect addition to your wedding or event if I may say. A glass vase with orchids in it will look heavenly perfect as a delicate theme.

Garden Flowers

Some flowers are a must-have addition to our gardens. We will demonstrate a few flowers that will add to your garden by just blossoming there. Gardens reflect the beauty of the eye of the beholder.

Angelonia

Angelonia is a beautiful stem flower that has a wide range of varieties. It has different colours and types. There are about 30 types of Angelonia stem flowers out there. Angelmist Lavender Angelonia and Serenita Raspberry Angelonia are two examples. 

Azalea

Azaleas bloom in spring. They can and would tolerate shade. They often last several weeks. They are found usually near or under trees. Azaleas are flowering shrubs. They come in a variety of different shades and colours.

Begonia

Begonias are also known as wax begonias or bedding begonias. It is an annual plant that grows quickly and fills up space. They are attractive frilly flowers. Some say they are even deer-resistant.

Calibrachoa

Calibrachoa is also known as million bells. It is one of the most popular plants that are grown outdoors. It comes in rainbow colours and a variety of shapes. They are best planted in spring. They will grow and bloom throughout the season.

Clematis

Clematis or as some may call it ‘Queen of the Vines’. Comes in different varieties of colours and shapes. However, it is agreed that it will always give that ‘wow’ addition to the landscape of your garden.

A few Flowers’ Facts

  1. Dandelions are considered weeds
  2. Dandelions’ leaves are a good source of vitamins A and C, you heard that right! They are rich in iron, calcium, and potassium
  3. Roses are related to apples, raspberries, cherries, peaches, plums, nectarines, pears, and almonds
  4. Chrysanthemums are associated with funerals in Malta
  5. Almost 60 % of fresh-cut flowers in the U.S. come from California
  6. The world’s oldest flower is named Archaefructus Sinensis
  7. The world’s oldest flower was found to have bloomed in northeast China
  8. The world’s oldest flower resembles a water lily
  9. Scientists discovered the world’s oldest flower in 2002
  10. Flower buds of Marigold are pickled to substitute for capers

Flowers’ Significance

We have spoken a bit about the importance of flowers, but we haven’t fully covered their significance and the value they add to our relations. Each type of flower, specific number of flowers, and the colour of the flowers as well as their arrangement all matter.

Each one of those has a huge impact and is undeniably significant. We will review some flowers, the months and their relation to flowers, and discuss different styles of flower arrangements in as much detail as possible.

Black-eyed Susan

Black-eyed Susan is bright yellow with daisy-like petals and an almost black centre. It usually flourishes between June and October. They are considered a symbol of encouragement and wisdom. It is an important food and shelter for different animals and insects.

For example, slugs, rabbits, and deer. Even butterflies lay their eggs on it. For example, Silvery Checkerspot. The Black-eyed Susan thrives in the sun. It attracts parasitic insects that lay their eggs on the flower as well. For example, blister beetles.

Black-eyed Susan is also known as Rudbeckia hirta. It is native to Eastern and central North America. Black-eyed Susan is also naturalized in the Western part of the continent as well as China.

Catmint

Catmint is also known as Catnip, Nepeta Cataria, or Catswort. However, it is not Catnip. Catnip stimulates cats, but catmint does not. They are often mistaken for one another. To the point, people refer to Catmint saying “oh, look Catnip” Na- ah, buddy, those are Catmint. Not Catnip.

Catmint has a long history of being used as a traditional herbal remedy. Usually, it is used to treat digestive system disorders. It stimulates sweating. It is useful in reducing fevers and dealing with them.

Catmint can grow up to 3 feet tall and 4 feet wide. Catmint is actually from the mint plants family. It usually flourishes during summer. It grows quickly and is known as deer-resistant. It can be planted from spring to early fall.

Chrysanthemums

Chrysanthemums are sometimes known as mums or chrysanths. They are native to East Asia and northeastern Europe. Most of the species originated in East Asia. However, they became common in the centre of diversity, China.

Chrysanthemums differ in connotations, depending on the culture. In Malta, they see the flower as a bad omen. It is associated with funerals and death. It is considered bad luck to bring it into the house.

In Japan, however, they see Chrysanthemum as a wonderfully happy and cheerful flower. It is often referred to Chrysanthemum as ‘the Queen of Fall Flowers. Over time, Chrysanthemums became associated with death in European cultures.

Lantana

Lantana looks pretty unique and colourful. However, it is quite toxic for most livestock. Lantana needs sun to flourish and bloom wonderfully. They are evergreen shrubs. They grow rapidly and spread tall.

They look pretty, but as we already mentioned they are quite toxic. There is a difference between Lantana and Verbena. Lantana is climbing plants. Whereas, Verbena’s maximum reaches between three to six feet tall.

Lavender

Lavender is native to northern Africa and the regions that are full of mountains on the Mediterranean. It is used, grown, and cultivated for many purposes. One of them is for the production of its essential oil.

Lavender is used for medicinal purposes and so much more. However, its essential oil may cause skin irritation or an allergic reaction. It was reported that in some cases it caused nausea, vomiting, or headache after the usage of lavender.

We are probably all familiar with the song that goes; Lavender’s blue, dilly, dilly

Thanks to Cinderella 2015 movie. Since we are talking about lavender, we should probably mention that this song was also sung by Dinah Shore in 1948. Now, back to talking about the plant, lavender is not all dilly, dilly.

It is quite poisonous to cats and dogs as well, so be careful which bush is your pet playing in, assuming that your pet is either a cat or a dog that is. Lavender has different nationalities. It may be French or English or even otherwise.

Lavender is also known as Lavandula. However, it is commonly known as lavender. Lavender flowers represent purity, silence, devotion, serenity, grace, and calmness. The distinguished purple colour gives off a sense of royalty.

It speaks of elegance, as some may say. The colour purple is associated with the crown chakra. That is the energy centre associated with a higher purpose in life. It represents spiritual connectivity.

Spiritually, lavender symbolizes purity, devotion, and love. Lavender helps out when it comes to the mind. It helps calm the mind and that may be why it is usually used in spiritual healing sessions.

It is known that lavender evokes serenity and a sense of purification. Not only that but also it is considered to have a feminine colour as some believe. Others think it just resembles the ‘grown-up’ pink. What do you think?

Lavender is used in purification rituals. Lavender’s essential oils and perfumes are worn by high priests and nobilities. Of course, we only spoke of lavender’s significance briefly and even its medicinal properties are brief as well. Lavender represents so much more.

Snapdragon

Snapdragons represent strength. They grow in rocky and uninhabitable areas. Some say they may represent deviousness and grace. As they are usually used as charms against falsehood as some may call it or ward off evil spirits.

Snapdragons represent grace and virtue. The stems of snapdragons stand up straight looking up to the sky. They carry themselves with excellent posture almost effortlessly. They emit poise and confidence.

Snapdragons are the perfect gift to give to someone you highly appreciate, respect, and may look up to. Especially, if you want to show gratitude. It is the perfect form of expression of appreciation and showing you think highly of someone or hold them in high regard.

Reasons may vary. However, you would certainly give snapdragon to someone you appreciate in your life. It may even be considered a way to express how you see that person. It represents particularly graceful people even in difficult situations.

Sweet Alyssum

Alyssum is also known as sweet Alyssum. It evokes feelings of calmness and sweetness. It attracts beneficial insects to your garden. Whether your garden consists of flowers or vegetables. In the language of flowers, sweet alyssum is known as a flower that is sweet and calm.

You can call it angelic if you may. Some believe that sweet alyssum protects those who wear it from dangerous situations. The name alyssum is derived from the Greek word ‘lyssa’. It translates to ‘anger’ or ‘bitterness’.

Yarrow

Yarrow is also known as the devil’s nettle. As in the devil’s plaything. It was also known as the old man’s pepper due to its pungent flavour. It is used for beer making in Sweden. Yarrow is considered a herb.

It is widely used to make medicine. It helps treat fever, common cold, and hay fever. Not only those, but also helps in dealing with diarrhoea, loss of appetite, and induced sweating. People chew it to relieve toothache.

Yarrow is a beautiful flower that shares both the meanings of healing and love. In many languages, Yarrow is associated with healing. It originated from Ancient Greek mythology. The Yarrow plant is also used for divination in Chinese culture.

Flowers and Months

Each flower represents a month. Each person has a birth flower. There are numerous flowers out there. The pattern and order may differ. However, we will try to provide you with the most common pattern of birth flowers. So, you can successfully choose and determine which your birth flower is? Buckle up!

  • January: Carnations
  • February: Iris and Violet
  • March: Daffodils
  • April: Daisy and Sweet Pea
  • May: Lily of the Valley
  • June: Rose
  • July: Larkspur and Water Lily
  • August: Gladioli
  • September: Aster
  • October: Marigold
  • November: Chrysanthemums
  • December: Narcissus, Holly, and Poinsettia

The Art of Flowers’ Arrangement

Flowers are art because they have artistic features and they inspire art. They make everything look way better. They are used in manufacture and decoration. Mainly, decoration. Because art is meant to be shared.

Flowers share this beauty by existing. They inspire artists to create art. The flowers smell good. The flowers look good. Flowers taste good. Some flowers taste good, but not all. Also, not all flowers look and smell good.

We have already told you about the corpse flower. The ugliest and smelliest flower on the entire Earth. It smells like a rotten corpse. It has been labelled as the ugliest flower in the world. So, no, not all flowers look and smell good.

Especially, not all flowers taste good. Some are toxic and can cause severe damage to our skin if we are not careful. However, flowers are used for many different purposes. We will elaborate on the decorating aspect of flowers.

Flowers have long been used for their different qualities. Especially, beauty. Flowers look pretty, especially if they are arranged in a specific order or shape. Throughout the years, people developed different flower arranging styles.

That brought about the beauty of the flowers used in the flowers’ arrangement even more. People, naturally, admired such beauty. More and more people started doing it. Eventually, it became a daily practice in some countries and an act of elegance in others.

The Egyptian Style

Ancient Egyptians arranged flowers in beautiful patterns. Specific flowers were worshipped and treasured. Let us learn some more about the Egyptian flower arrangement style, together. First off, we must mention the Lotus.

The Lotus was one of the sacred flowers of the Ancient Egyptians. The Ancient Egyptians called flowers ‘garden scent.’ Flowers were a common motif in art. They had bouquets that decorated the places for artists.

In Egyptian homes, there were always flowers to be found. Lotus and Papyrus were the most important plants at the time. Women and men were often depicted holding the Lotus or inhaling the divine fragrance.

In offering depictions of Ancient Egyptians, blue and white lotus were drawn along with papyrus stems. The blue lotus is known as Nymphaea Caerulea Savigny. It was one of the most popular flowers in ancient Egypt.

It has a strong scent. Especially, when it opens.  When the sun shines and its rays reach the flower, the blue lotus opens up revealing its yellow calyx. That is surrounded by petals of beautiful shades of blue. As its scent spreads.

At noon, however, it closes off into a bud and sinks into the water. It repeats the process every day. Eventually, it was associated with the idea of rebirth and creation. The blue lotus possesses hallucinogenic properties. Which is yet another reason for its popularity among the ancient Egyptians.

The white lotus, on the other hand, is named Nymphaea Lotus. It blooms during the night. It eventually became the symbol of continuity and renewal of life. That was so essential to the Ancient Egyptians.

The blue lotus and white lotus are in reality two varieties of water lily. However, they are still called lotus by Egyptologists. The flower arrangement was quite popular during the times of the old and Middle kingdoms.

Sometimes, it would be a bunch of lotuses held in the hand of the person presenting the bouquet. Other times, they may add papyrus stems whether by tying them together or entwining them with the enigmatic lily of the south.

However, all of that changed with the becoming of the New Kingdom. That is when a variety of flowers, grasses, leaves, and fruits began to artfully be a part of the arrangements. They were artistically added to the arrangements of wreaths, garlands, collars, and normal bouquets of various shapes.

Collars that were made with fresh flowers were frequently worn at banquets. Servants were represented tying those onto the guests. Let us keep going and see which flower arrangement style you prefer.  

The English Style

The English flower arrangement style is quite popular. Especially, in Western countries. We can find mostly roses, peonies, dahlias, and even ranunculus. We can even find spikey flowers, like larkspur, delphinium, and snapdragons. We may even find foxglove.

The shape of the English flower arrangements is usually either oval or round. People believe the art of flower arrangement started with the Egyptians, but other people believe it all started with the Japanese.

The Japanese Style

The art of flower arrangement in Japan is known as ikebana. Ikebana is traditionally known as the classic art of Japanese flower arranging. The meaning of the term itself was extended to include various styles of Japanese floral art.

Flower arrangement is considered a form of eloquence in Japan. It is quite important. Ikebana is the art of flower arranging that originated in ancient Japan. It was and is still practised as art that studies where the flowers and other natural elements are placed in specific ways.

Those specific ways are intended to embody harmony, peace, and beauty. A flower arrangement form can tell so much about the house and the people in it. In some regions, it is required of the bride to be extensively involved in the art of flower arrangement and tea preparation.

Those are the conditions for the bride to be considered elegant. Most, if not all, of the facts regarding the Japanese flower arrangement that will follow, are inspired by a book titled “Japanese Etiquette” by the World Fellowship Committee of the Tokyo Young Women’s Christian Association.

Flower arrangement is an art that is considered an indispensable part of the daily everyday life of the Japanese people. Some believe it originated from the custom of offering flowers to Buddha and the Shinto gods.

Regardless of the origin of the custom, it most certainly expresses the love and adoration that the Japanese people have for nature. Flower arrangement is an undeniably essential part of every Japanese home.

Just as modern arts of paintings and sculptures are mostly common in Western homes. By arranging a few flowers, we create a sense of closeness to nature and an impression of natural life. It is an integral part of the Japanese way of life.

The characteristics of the Japanese flower arrangement are found in the beauty of the lines rather than in the harmonization that is found between the colours of the flowers as they do in the West.

The Japanese consider the branch, the placement of the stalk, and the shape first-hand. That is done even before the flower arranging process takes place. That is done to create a sense of beauty. Maybe, that is due to the graceful Japanese architectural designs.

The Japanese even classify the flower arrangement process into three different styles of arrangement. The first style or kind is known as Seika. Seika is a formal Japanese style of flower arrangement.

The second style or kind is known as Nageire. Nageire is an informal and natural Japanese style of flower arrangement. The third and final style or kind is known as Moribana. Moribana is the most modern form of the Japanese style of flower arrangement.

We will elaborate on each style extensively, so sit tight. The Seika style is usually called ry^ugi- bana. This style is expressed by the Koryu and Ikenobo schools. Those two schools follow definite forms of arrangement and therefore are considered to be formal as well as classical schools.

The length and angle of each branch are strictly fixed. In a specific shape of an irregular triangle called ten- chi- jin. The syllable (ten-) in ten- chi- jin, refers to heaven. The syllable (–in-) in ten- chi- jin, refers to the earth. The syllable (-Jin) in ten- chi- jin refers to man.

This specified irregular triangle gives a strong impression of uniformity and equilibrium. On the other hand, the Moribana style is a style that has no special form. The flowers are arranged to reflect natural scenery in miniature.

It falls into place with the harmony it creates with the container itself. In low, flat water- vases or baskets that are similar to a wide-mouthed vessel, the flowers are held together in a place by metal spiked holders.

This style is much more modern and free than the Seika. That is because there is no specified form or shape that the flowers must be kept in. Nigeria is the third and final Japanese flower arrangement style that we will mention.

This style specifically, has no prescriptions. None at all. No rules, no rigid instructions, nothing. However, as the flowers are supported by the rim of the vase, the arrangement should convey at one glance the impression that the flowers have been freely placed in the vase.

In reality, it is conformed to rules and has dignity and harmony. In Moribana and Nageire styles, there are different schools to be followed. Those are Ohara, Adachi, Sogetsu, and so many others, but we will only mention those and leave them here for reference.

Floral Facts

  1. Blue Cohosh is also known as Squaw root or Papoose root
  2. Papoose root was used by Native American women in childbirth
  3. In ancient times, people burned aster leaves to ward off evil spirits and serpents
  4. Chrysanthemums are associated with happiness and joy in Japan
  5. The green florets on broccoli stalks are immature flowers
  6. If the green florets on broccoli are left to grow they will open into tiny yellow flowers
  7. During Victorian times, a pink carnation meant “I’ll never forget you”
  8. During Victorian times, a striped carnation meant “No, I cannot be with you”
  9. During Victorian times, a purple Hyacinth meant “I am sorry”
  10. During Victorian times, a yellow Hyacinth meant “I am jealous”

Deadly Beautiful Flowers

Flowers have many stories to tell. Some are scary. Did you know that many people die every year because of some flowers? Those delicate plants called flowers can be deadly if you are not careful about which flower you’re interacting with.

Do not fear! We have got you. We will list fifteen of the deadliest flowers you should avoid interacting with at all costs for the sake of your safety. Get ready, it will be a fun ride full of some juicy facts about those deadly flowers.

Nerium Oleander

Nerium Oleander may look defenceless and beautiful with a light shade of harmless pink. However, beware of this plant. It carries a deadly poison. It is extremely toxic. It can cause a burning sensation in the mouth and throat. It does not end there. It may even cause nausea and vomiting. The list goes on from diarrhoea, weakness, headache to stomach pain, serious heart problems, and more complications.

It can even cause way more than that and more side effects that you would be lucky enough to not experience by never having to cross paths with this lethal flower. However, Oleander is a common ornamental evergreen shrub that draws you in by its innocent appearance.

Taking in the Oleander leaf, Oleander leaf tea, or Oleander seeds has led many to experience deadly poisonings. A single leaf of this flower is enough to kill an adult. Oleanders contain toxic stuff that survives even burning. So, do not even attempt burning them.

Strange enough Oleander has also been used as a medicine. Specifically, traditional medicine to treat haemorrhoids, ulcers, and other symptoms. Still, if you have no experience handling poisonous plants, we do not recommend you come anywhere near Oleanders.    

Aconitum

Aconitum is also known as aconite, monkshood, wolfsbane, leopard’s bane, mouse bane, women’s bane, devil’s helmet, queen of poisons, or blue rocket. This plant is dangerous and you should keep your distance at all costs.

It contains a strong, fast-acting poison that causes severe side effects such as nausea, vomiting, breathing problems, hearing problems, and death eventually. Even when applied to the skin, it is very unsafe.

It can be absorbed through the skin and causes respiratory problems and cardiac problems. So do not handle or pick this plant, unless you are wearing gloves. Especially, the roots. A 2 mg dosage of aconite can and will cause death within 4 hours.

Castor Oil

Castor oil may have many benefits that make you die to use it and apply it. In reality, it is banned. What a bummer. However, it is for your own sake that it is banned. Or else, you would be truly literally dying because of using it.

Castor oil contains Lectin which is a highly potent toxin produced in the seeds of the castor oil plant. 22 micrograms per kilogram are the lethal dosage for mice. We are not saying you should kill mice. No, do not kill them. Just set them free in the wild, back where they belong.

It is just an example for reference. As we emphasized, ricin is a naturally found poison that is found in castor beans. If they are chewed and swallowed, the released ricin can cause injury. Ricin can be made from the waste material that is leftover from processing castor beans.

Dracunculus

Here is another deadly plant that we should add to the list of the ‘do not come near. All parts of the plant are poisonous. The large palmate leaves, the cream flecks, the veins, and the stem that is very distinctive with dark-green- to black and white markings.

About

Abrus is another plant in the flowering plants in the pea family. It is highly toxic. The highly toxic seed of that species is used to make jewellery. It does have medicinal properties just like many other poisonous plants do.

You can create the antidote by using the poison, but when dealing with this plant, we advise you to not come near it as long as you are not cautious while using it. It can be used to treat tetanus or prevent rabies.

The leaves are used to treat and cure fever, cough, and cold. It may even be used to treat scratches, wounds, and sores caused by dogs, cats, or mice. It is also used as an ingredient in curing Leucoderma.

Drosera

Drosera or as it is generally known as sundews are plants that capture and digest insects by using their stalked mucilaginous glands that cover their leaf surfaces. In normal cases, a sundew plant is not toxic.

However, do not exceed the prescribed dose. That is our recommendation. Doing so may result in side effects that start from irritating the lining of the digestive tract and that can cause stomach pain or gastritis.

However, just as we are mentioning its side effect, we should also mention its medicinal properties as well. Sundew or Drosera if you may, is used to treat asthma, coughs, lung infections, and stomach ulcers.

Cicuta

Cicuta is commonly known as water hemlock. It is very poisonous. It is considered one of North America’s most toxic plants. It can lead to severe poisoning and death. Even though it is quite poisonous, it still has a few medicinal properties.

It can be used to treat migraine headaches, painful menstruation, and worms in the intestine. Some people also use it as a traditional treatment for swelling and redness by applying it directly to the skin or the infected area.

Atropa Belladonna

Atropa Belladonna is also known as the deadly nightshade. It is very poisonous. Its roots, leaves, and fruits. All of it is extremely poisonous. It is even considered to be illegal. It is a drug that is obtained from the plant ‘Atropine’ and it can even be a medicinal herb. It can mostly be found in Native America.

Taxus Baccata

Taxus Baccata is native to Western, Central, Southern Europe, Northwest Africa, Northern Iran, and Southwest Asia. It is also known as the English Yew. The tree on which the English Yew grows is known as the yew tree.

Some may know it as the tree of death. It is one of the trees that the Druids held sacred in pre- Christian times. Drooping branches of old yew trees can root and form new trunks where they touched the ground.

So, yew came to symbolize death and resurrection in Celtic culture. We get the resurrection part, but why death? Well, to answer your question. Yew is simply put, is another deadly plant. It may look cute and all and the colour is sweet, but believe us when we tell you to keep away.

The English Yew or Taxus baccata is a poison that causes cardiac arrhythmias and it can even result in death from cardiogenic shock. So, yeah, as we said earlier. Keep away from this deadly cute plant.

Hippomane Mancinelli

Hippomane Mancinelli is another greenish flowering tree that you should not attempt getting close to. In other words, when you encounter one, turn the opposite way and start walking. Do not turn back or touch it.

It is one more deadly tree. That has been known as the tree of death as well. It is known as the deadliest tree ever known. Touching it is enough to get your body worked up and it affects a person almost instantly.

If touched, it irritates the skin because of the irritants that are found in the manchineel sap. That sap produces inflammation and painful blisters on the skin as if you got burned. Not only the sap or plant, but even the bark of the tree itself is toxic.

Do not burn it! You will not be getting rid of it. You will be only making matters worse. A burning manchineel bark has always been known to cause irritation and blindness. That is because of the airborne poison ash present and found in it.

We only scratched the surface of the iceberg of the dangers of Manchineel. The burn is not that of hot pepper or super-hot pepper. It is much worse and believes me when I say much worse. The manchineel fruit will cause intense burning and severe swelling of the throat.

That is assuming you tried to eat it. That is not even the end of it. The area surrounding your mouth may and probably will get all blistered and inflamed.  It will most definitely even cause severe digestive problems that is assuming it reached the stomach with its burning sap.

However, such a dangerous plant requires tropical conditions to survive and thrive. It can be found in tropical southern North America to northern South America. The manchineel excretes an extremely toxic white sap.

If your curiosity takes over and you attempt touching the plant’s leaves or branches or if you even touch it by mistake, it is very well-known that you will suffer from skin irritation, and blisters, and it may even close off your airways if you inhale the fumes from the sap.

A normal hefty shrub can grow up to 50 feet tall. It produces toxic timber that has a long Caribbean carpenter. Even though people came to know the dangers that the manchineel fruit may and will most certainly cause, they still used it in making furniture.

They carefully cut the wood and then, dry it in the sun to neutralize its poisonous sap. Then, finally, they use it to make furniture as they may use any other normal wood. The Manchineel tree is native to the Caribbean, Florida, Bahamas, Mexico, and Central and South America. 

The tree can be found on coastal beaches and in brackish swamps where it grows among other mangroves. Some people call them the death apples in paradise. People who attempted eating it noted that they felt a peppery taste in their mouths.

Followed by a tearing sensation. Finally, there was a tightening in their throats until they could barely swallow. The manchineel tree is so poisonous. Even the Guinness Book of World Records has recorded it to be one of the most dangerous trees in the world in 2011.

It is the most dangerous tree in the world. That poisonous sap is in every part of that plant. In its bark, leaves, and even fruit. You should not try and remove the manchineel tree on your own. Especially, after all, that we have been saying.

Even the fire will not help. The burning tree as we previously said and mentioned numerously will produce smoke that will contain the toxins and you will not be able to get rid of it without help. So, please contact someone who can.

As for what it exactly looks like, it is an evergreen tree. It has a reddish-grey bark. There are small greenish-yellow flowers and bright shiny green leaves. The leaves are simply alternate and very finely serrated or if you may say toothed. The leaves are about 2- 4 inches long.

The spikes of the small greenish flowers are followed by fruits that are similar in their appearance to an apple. I hope this shows you how dangerous this plant can be and that you have decided to not ever under any conditions touch it, not even ‘accidentally’.

Datura Stramonium

Datura Stramonium is also known as Jimsonweed, thorn apple, devil’s snare, or devil’s trumpet. It is related to the nightshade family. The origin of the plant is in Central America. However, it has been introduced in many world regions.

As you may have already guessed, it is one more poisonous plant. However, its poison affects the brain more than any other part of the body. It does not kill it or make you crazy. Well, it does make you a little crazy. Simply, causing hallucinations.

That is why it is known as a hallucinogenic plant. It is found in urban and rural areas. It does not only affect the brain. It is still a poisonous plant as we said. Its poison varies and can be highly unpredictable.

Even if this plant was usually used to cure many human ailments, like ulcers, wounds, inflammation, rheumatism, gout, sciatica, bruises, swelling, fever, asthma, bronchitis, and toothache, it is still poisonous.

It is one of the oldest plants that have been used throughout history. It is quite an invasive species that has spread throughout the Northern Hemisphere. The poison varies throughout the plant parts. The seeds and flowers are poisonous. In addition to that, it has so many side effects.

Those may include respiratory depression, arrhythmias, fever, delirium, hallucinations, anticholinergic syndrome, psychosis, and even death if in the case it was taken internally. It can cause mental side effects on the brain of amnesia, confusion, psychosis, and hallucinations.

Those will lead to emotional expression that will eventually follow. If the person takes too much, but not enough to kill them as an overdose, they will experience a feeling that is similar to a hangover as the drug itself metabolizes.

White Snake Root

The White Snake Root is also known as Ageratina altissima, richweed, and white sanicle. It is native to eastern and central North America. It is a sporadically toxic plant. It causes trembles in livestock and milk sickness in humans that drink the tainted milk.

It can cause tremetol poisoning. It is not edible under any conditions. The leaves and stem of the white snakeroot contain tremetol. That is a poison to both animals and humans. It is an accumulative toxin. This means that it will take time to build up to toxic levels.

Root tea is used to treat ague, kidney stones, and fever. As for the root poultice, it is used to treat snake bites. The smoke from the burning green leaves is used to revive the people who have fallen unconscious.

There is no cure to treat white snakeroot toxicity. If your horse ate some by mistake, the veterinarian can offer them supportive therapies that are essentially needed till the toxin is completely flushed out of its system.

That is in the case that there was a chance of survival and not death which is also one available option. The white snakeroot poison comes from the ingestion of the plant itself. So, keep your furry friend, including your dog, away as you keep away as well.

Nepenthes Tunicata 

The Nepenthes Tunicata is known as a tropical pitcher that is native to the Philippines. It is very well known in the islands of Dinagat, Leyte, and Mindanao. It is an endangered plant. It grows at the elevation of 0- 1500 m above sea level.

It is a carnivorous plant. This plant is not that poisonous and most pitcher plants are not poisonous. I know what you are thinking. Why is it on the list? Well, it is thought to be deadly because it eats insects and no it does not eat humans.

It is used to treat digestive disorders and constipation. It is also considered a cure for smallpox and it even prevents scar formation. Also, there will not be any danger if you approach this plant, but remember to be cautious.

Lily of The Valley

Lily of The Valley. This adorable-looking plant is so tempting to touch. Well, do not touch it, inhale its scent, or even eat it, not even by accident. This plant is deadly. Not only does it look sweet and innocent, but it leads to fatal outcomes.

This flower may symbolize purity, youth, sincerity, and discretion, but it will surely kill you. People believe it symbolizes happiness and joy. It is even considered an important gesture to give someone you love a bunch of lilies of the valley on the 1st of May.

However, before you do that, let us tell you just how dangerous this innocent plant is. That put aside, this plant is known to be an invasive plant that tends to form large colonies that threaten other native plants.

So, it is not only dangerous for humans but also for other plants. Lily of the valley is extremely poisonous and can cause severe dermatitis if touched. So, sure go ahead and give that ‘someone’ a bunch and hope for the best.

Lily of the valley is used to handle and prevent heart problems. That may include heart failure and irregular heartbeats. It is also widely used to treat urinary tract infections and kidney stones. It is even used during weak contractions in labour or with epilepsy. Sometimes it is used to prevent fluid retention and strokes, that result in paralysis. It can even treat eye infections and leprosy.

It is quite the medicine. Still, it can be very poisonous when ingestion takes place. The leaves, flowers, or even roots. All of them are poisonous. They all contain cardiac glycosides and gastrointestinal irritants.

Those are most likely responsible for a variety of cardiac arrhythmias and can lead to fatal consequences. So, yeah it is beautiful and graceful looking; has lots of benefits and can cure many symptoms; still, it is a deadly poison.

Tobacco

The last poison, I mean to say, the plant we are talking about in our deadly section is Tobacco. Yes, that plant exists within a cigarette. We will review its benefits, effects, and origin. It affects us in different ways, but one thing for sure is that it is poisonous in the long run.

Tobacco leaves are applied on cuts and wounds to stop the bleeding and as an antiseptic. The ground tobacco leaves are used as a snuff for medicinal and ritualistic purposes. The tobacco is sometimes smoked and blown into the ear to treat earaches.

Tobacco is used in the production of many stuff. Such as cigarettes and cigars. Some people smoke raw loose tobacco in a pipe. Tobacco affects us in many different ways. However, there is a clear reason we put it on the list of our deadly plants.

That is because Tobacco is poison in many ways. It may cause cancer, breathing problems, chronic respiratory conditions, heart disease, stroke, blood circulation problems, diabetes, infections, dental problems, hearing loss, and even vision loss.

That being said, let us tell you more about the types of tobacco. There is no safe form of tobacco. So, it all screams danger. Tobacco contains nicotine. No matter what form tobacco may take, it will still contain this poisonous material.

Nicotine causes addiction and eventually heart problems. There are about seven types of well-known tobacco. Those are Chew- see Smokeless Tobacco, Cigars, Cigarillos, and Little Cigars, Dip- see Smokeless Tobacco, Electronic cigarette or E-Cigarette.

There is also Hookah, Kreteks, and Pipe. All of those are the types of Tobacco products that people are most familiar with. Originally, Native Americans used it in religious ceremonies and for medicinal purposes.

It was used as a cure for all remedies. Dressing wounds, reducing pain, or toothaches. You name it and tobacco is used to cure it. In the late 15th century, Christopher Columbus was said to be given tobacco as a gift from the Native Americans.

You can certainly guess what happened next. Tobacco was always thought of as a medicinal plant. It was claimed to have antiseptic, sedative, emetic, and purgative properties. That came in useful in relieving pain.

In other words, it is not tobacco’s fault. It has always been a herbal medicinal plant. Some people invented a harmful usage for it. That is smoking. Smoking does help with avoiding obesity, but it is certainly not your best option.

We do not trade something for another. Every part of our bodies is important and precious. So, we cannot destroy our lungs using tobacco, in exchange for staying thin. It causes lung cancer. The lungs are the organ responsible for taking care of your respiratory cycle.

Smoking causes heart disease, strokes, asthma, diabetes, and so much more. Tobacco may be poisonous, but it is how we chose to use it that will determine the outcome. This plant, just like any other was used as medicine.

Flowers’ Facts on the go

  1. Catnip contains a compound called nepetalactone
  2. Nepetalactone is what cats love and makes them eat the leaves of the plant
  3. Catnip gives cats an euphoric high effect
  4. Morning Glories bloom only in the morning
  5. Flowers were popular girls’ names in the Victorian times
  6. You can make a flower necklace by weaving sunflowers or daisies together
  7. Vincent Van Gogh loved sunflowers
  8. Vincent Van Gogh completed 11 paintings capturing sunflowers
  9. Sunflowers produce toxic substances to plants near them causing them to die slowly
  10. Mimosa Punica is known as a sensitive plant

Rare Flowers

Some flowers are pretty rare to find. They are pretty, tasty, fragrant, deadly, poisonous, and some are even rare. Let us explore some of the rarest flowers in the world. So, next time you see one of those, you should take a picture!

We will name a few rare flowers, mention the reasons that led to them being rare, and then will name about four unusual flowers you probably never heard of. So, buckle up it will be a fun ride.

Ghost Orchid

It is certainly no ghost, but it is the ghost orchid. Let us tell you some more about the ghost orchid, my friend. It is a very rare plant that is on the endangered species list. It is native to Southwest Florida and Cuba.

The ghost orchid is believed to be extremely rare to the point that it is estimated that there are only 100 or so plants that still exist. They are very secretive about the locations of those few orchids. Do not worry. We already tried finding out.

Sadly, we had no luck. Maybe you would have better luck searching more into it. Who knows? Maybe you would find out something we did not mention or discuss ghost orchids. As to why their locations are kept secret, well it is simply to avoid poachers from taking them from their natural environment.

The ghost orchid is also known as Dendrophylax lindenii. It has quite a distinctive feature when it comes to appearance. This may be the reason that led to its naming as the ghost orchid. It is an endangered plant species and does not flower reliably.

Corpse Lily

The corpse lily is our second endangered plant on the list. It is also known as Rafflesia arnoldii, the corpse flower, giant Padma. It is special for producing the largest individual flower on Earth. It has a strong and unpleasant odour.

It smells as if it is a corpse. This is partially why it was named the corpse flower. However, we need to make sure you know that this corpse lily does smell and stink the odour of decaying flesh. It is quite rare.

It is a flower that is native to the rainforests of Sumatra and Borneo. Some even know it as the monster flower. It is also known as the Titan Arum. Yup! The one we kept mentioning in our facts. You probably noticed.

To attract pollinators it produces a rotting- meat scent. Again, that is probably the reason it earned the name the corpse flower. Why is it so rare you ask? Well, it is because it takes about seven to ten years for a single flower of the corpse flower to muster up enough energy that may be considered enough to begin its bloom cycle.

It is said that the Garden began collecting Titan Arums in 2003. It was a part of the worldwide conservation effort to preserve this specific species. The flower of the corpse lily emits a foul odour that draws carrion beetles and flies into the centre bowl where the pollen is located.

As the insects fly away from the flower, they have pollen all over them. It may cling onto their feet or bodies. That way they spread the pollen. Minimus is known as the only corpse flower plant in the Philippines that is known to inhabit a montane forest ecosystem.

Specifically, in PCWFR which is on Luzon Island. The three known populations of the plant are each about fewer than 50 mature individuals. Those were observed to be flowering between May and June.

Parrot’s Beak

Parrot’s beak, lotus vine, or as some may know it lotus berthelotii is a flower that looks similar to a parrot’s beak. This is obviously why it is known as a parrot’s beak. It is known as quite the great plant. It fills the need for silver, soft-foliaged plants.

However, sadly, the flower part is short-lived. It depends on how fast the temperature rises and where you live. This beautiful plant thrives in full sun and well-drained soil. It may also tolerate some shade on hot summer days or in hot areas.

However, you should be considerate of how much water you provide the plant with because too little water or too much water may and usually does cause foliage to drop. This plant thrives even more and performs best with evenly divided moistures.

However, remember to allow the top of the soil to mostly dry out before re-watering. This plant is also known as the trailing lotus. It is native to the Canary Islands. The Canary Islands are that of Spain.

This plant is also known as the pelican beak and some may know it as the coral gem. It has beautiful colours and even more a beautiful shape. It is quite the mesmerizing scenery. You cannot help but admire it.

Yellow & Purple Lady Slippers

Lady’s- slipper orchid is also known as Cypripedium Calceolus. It is native to Europe and Asia. It can live up to be twenty years old or even more. However, it is quite rare and endangered.

That is why it is illegal to pick them up because the plant takes many years to grow from seed to maturity. That is why they set special rules to ensure its survival. This beautiful flower is also known as the moccasin flower.

It is one of North America’s own much admired and often misunderstood wild native orchids.

This plant became increasingly rare. Due to the over collecting and habitat reduction. It has a tall, leafy stem. That bears 1 or 2 white- petals with flowers that are a brilliant pink pouch.

Sometimes it is yellow. It blooms in late June and into July. It may look like a lady’s slipper which is maybe the reason behind its naming as the lady’s slipper. Most flowers are named after their appearance.

Kadupul Flower

The kadupul flower is also known as the queen of the night. Some may know it as the princess of the night. It is known as the Dutchman’s pipe cactus. Its scientific name is epiphyllum oxypetalum.

It belongs to the species of cactus. It rarely blooms. However, when it does bloom, it only does at night. Then, its flowers wilt before dawn. The kadupul flower is the most expensive in the world.

That is actually because it has never been bought and therefore it is priceless. This little tricky elusive plant is a cactus and it only grows in Sri Lanka. It is known commonly as the ghost flower. It usually blooms only once a year, always at night, and dies before dawn.

Sea Poison Tree

The sea poison tree is also known as the fish poison tree and box fruit tree. Its scientific name is Barrington Asiatica. It is native to the mangrove habitats from the islands of the Indian Ocean in west tropical Asia and islands of the western Pacific Ocean.

All parts of the tree are pretty poisonous. The active poisons include saponins. Box fruits are potent enough to be used as fish poison. The seeds are grounded into a powder that is then used to stun or kill the fish for easy capture.

It suffocates the fish while the flesh is unaffected. That is partially why it is known as the Fish Poison tree. The fruits are used as a fish poison. The heated leaves are used in the Philippines to treat the stomach and rheumatism. Not only that but also the seeds are used to get rid of tapeworms. 

Campion

Campion is also known as the red Campion. Its scientific name is silene dioica. Some may even know it as the red catchfly. It is native to central, western, and northern Europe. It is locally found in southern Europe.

It was also introduced in Iceland, Canada, the US, and Argentina. Campions are distributed throughout the world. Several of those are ornamental rock- gardens or border plants. They look really pretty.

Snapdragon’s Skull

Some of the flowers we mentioned are quite rare and others are unique. We are not only mentioning the rare flowers, but also the distinctive ones. That does not by any means, mean that the ones we are mentioning are special or the best because all of the flowers are beautiful.

Every flower is special and distinct. The flowers we are mentioning in this article are either chosen randomly or as best- related to the topic of the section. We just wanted to clarify this before we continue with our special flowers.

The snapdragon skull is officially the most metal flower to exist. When they die, they resemble human skulls. However, when they die, they look like shrivelled little brown skulls all dangling from a stem.

The dragon part of the name is a mere visual metaphor. It appears to have a skull. We know what you are thinking. Super cool! Well, it did not stop only at that, but also the ancient cultures held the snapdragon as a special plant.

They used to believe that it possessed supernatural powers. Those flowers were thought to offer protection from deceit, curses, and witchcraft that is if you plant them in your garden. They are spring or summer flowers.

Happy Alien

The happy alien plant is also scientifically known as calceolaria uniflora. It was given this name because of its unearthly shape. Originally, this flower was discovered by Charles Darwin. It grows in cold climates.

Mostly, it is found near the Sothern tip of South America which is close to Antarctica. Happy alien flowers grow typically near or on rocks. That is due to their distinctively short roots. It is one of the weirdest flowers out there.

Monkey Face Orchid

Just like the name entitles, it is a monkey face-shaped orchid. It is quite special and awesome. So, let us learn some more about it together. It is also known as Dracula time. Some may even know it as monkey-like Dracula.

Its arrangement of columns, petals, and lip strongly resemble a monkey’s face. It can be found on the sides of the high mountains which are probably found in southeastern Ecuador and Peru. At the elevation of about 1000 to 2000 meters.

It is a popular but rare all-time favourite among orchid collectors. That is because it has a distinctively unique monkey or baboon face in its flower. Monkeyface orchids are quite finicky. Yes, and it can be challenging to grow them.

They require very specific living conditions. It does not make it one of the best options to start as a beginner gardener. And no, you cannot grow it by merely fertilizing it with bananas. It needs a bit more than that.

Bat Plant

The bat plant or as some may know it the white bat- the flower is native to the tropical and subtropical rainforests of Central Asia. It was first described by the English botanist John Bellenden Ker Gawler in 1812.

Its scientific name is tacca integrifolia. It is also a plant that can be quite tricky to grow. You have to regularly ensure that your soil is well-draining and composted. You need to provide regular water. Especially, in the hot months, but allow them to dry out.

Especially, in winter and cold times. You have to fertilize it regularly and lightly during its growing season. Black bat plants need high humidity to grow and thrive. It is quite an exotic plant. It has flowers that look quite similar to a bat in flight.

It is deep purple with ruffled wings, and long, hanging filaments. They may appear in spring and may last until early autumn. They can grow up to 2 or 3 feet tall. The bat plant’s appearance is probably what earned it its name.

Moth Orchid

Moth orchids are a mere nickname for the enchanting phalaenopsis Blume. Phalaenopsis comes from the Latin word ‘phal’ which means moth. No, it is no coincidence. The plant looks like a moth which is probably why it was given that name.

It was named after Carl Ludwig Blume. Based on its resemblance to a moth in appearance. It is a plant that is native to southeastern Asia and parts of Australia. They are commonly grown indoors. They can grow as big as 6 to 12 inches.

Quick Flowers’ Facts

  1. Mimosa Punica closes its petals off when touched
  2. Dandelions are believed to represent three celestial bodies
  3. The yellow flower of the dandelions represents the sun
  4. The ball of pollen of the dandelions represents the moon
  5. The white seeds of dandelions represent the stars
  6. The English name of dandelion flowers is originally French
  7. Dandelions refer to the French sent de lion which means lion teeth
  8. Dandelions were named after the lion’s teeth because of the shape of their leaves
  9. Colombia has the most orchid species in the world
  10. Colombia has about 2,010 species of orchids

How to Grow a Flower?

Now that we know all about flowers, we are nearly experts. Let us tell you how to plant and take care of a few flowers in the comfort of your home. It is quite easy. All you need to do is to follow the following simple steps that explain how to grow each of the following flowers.

Sunflower

We will learn how to grow a sunflower together step by step. To grow sunflowers, you need a sunny, sheltered spot and good soil. You will also need plenty of well-rotted manure or garden compost before planting if you can, that is.

Protect the young plants from slugs and snails. Yes, slugs and snails are friends, but sunflowers are our babies that need protection. Water your sunflowers regularly. You may need to stake them. That is in case they are in an exposed position.

There are various varieties of sunflowers. Each one of those will grow at a different rate from the other. However, the average time that is estimated for our sunflowers to grow is about 80 to 120 days. That is for the plant to mature and develop seeds.

Marigold

On the other hand, we can also try growing marigolds. Tagetes marigold can be grown from the seed. They are bought as seedlings and planted to grow. They can be bought as seedlings (Plug plants) or garden-ready plants.

Plant them in beds or pots. It does not matter. The important thing is to plant them. Make sure that you do so after all risk of frost has been eliminated. Put them in good soil and a sunny spot. Make sure to water them during dry spells.

Remove the dead heads to extend the flowering. Make sure to feed it constantly. That is in case you have grown it in pots. Marigolds love the sun. They do tolerate some shade, but the more sun, the better.

Begonias

The third on the list is begonias. You should grow begonias in peat-free, multi-purpose compost that is dappled in plenty of sunshine. Maybe partial shade. Only plant begonias outside. That is in May. However, you should make sure no more frosts are happening.

Watch the forecast. Water them regularly. Feed them weekly. Use high-potash fertilizer. Maybe tomato feed to feed them. They are ideal for containers and are easy to care for. Their blooming is one sign of summer.

Snapdragon

Frost has passed and you are sure. Then, it is probably time to plant out snapdragons. Early autumn sowings will produce in about early May. Sow the seeds thinly on the surface of the compost. Water and seal in a propagator. Maybe a plastic bag.

Transfer the seeds when they are large enough to pot and grow in a sheltered spot. They are easy to grow, do not fear. Make sure you grow them in well-drained garden soil. In southern California, people sow their snapdragon seeds in fall or winter for spring blooming.

Daffodils

Growing Daffodils needs extra care and love. Pick a spot in your garden that has well-draining soil and gets full sun or partial shade. Plant the daffodil bulbs about 3- 6 deep and 4- 5 apart. Place them on the ground with their pointy ends up.

Water them well once and wait for spring. However, after the daffodils bloom, do not cut off the foliage. Daffodil bulbs are best planted in September or November. Especially, in well-drained soil. They will most definitely grow well in sun or part shade.

Fun Flowery Facts

  1. Puya raimondii is the largest flower in the world
  2. The largest flower in the world can grow up to 50 feet high
  3. Puya raimondii is also known as the Queen of the Andes
  4. The Queen of the Andes is also known as titanka
  5. Titanka bears over 8000 white flowers
  6. Titanka is native to the high Andes of Bolivia and Peru
  7. Roses normally have 5 petals
  8. The only roses that have 4 four petals are from the species called Rosa Sericea
  9. The Bird of Paradise is a flower
  10. The flower of the Bird of Paradise is only white

Flowers and Occasions

Flowers are so full of stories. We cannot get enough of hearing them out. Their adventures are ongoing as we discover more and more. We will discuss a few occasions on which we mostly use flowers in.

Some people use flowers when there is a happy occasion. Others associate flowers with sad occasions and events. The same as a white lily in a funeral. There is also the flower bouquet that the bride holds onto during her wedding to throw off to the next bride-to-be.

Different colours of flowers and different types of flowers are associated with different connotations depending on the culture and occasion. However, we all agree that flowers are pretty and quite mesmerizing at times.

Some flowers may be deadly as we saw in our previous list, but others are rare and are innocently used for decoration. Other flowers may hold different meanings depending on the language of flowers in which country. We will observe the Japanese culture for example. Vases during a Japanese occasion should be regularly shaped and pleasing to the eye.

They may take on the colour of silver or bronze. They may even take on the colour of summer earthenware that is glazed in cool colours of green and white. They may also be set on stands. Flower arrangements that combine pine, bamboo, and flowering plum.

Those are called sho- chikubai. However, when the plum blossoms are not in season, we use Omoto (rhodea), Kiku (chrysanthemums), or ran (orchid) may be used instead. White flowers or naturally coloured flowers are used in funeral and memorial services occasions.

Easy Facts about Flowers

  1. The Corkscrew vine is an oddly shaped flower
  2. Corkscrew resembles nautilus shells
  3. Corkscrew is also known as Cochliasanthus Caracalla
  4. Caracalla means snail and there is a flower species named as such
  5. The global sales for flower bouquets exported were totalled $9 billion in 2018
  6. Bamboo flowers are rare
  7. Some Bamboo species develop flowers after 65 or 120 years
  8. Agave is known as the century plant
  9. Agave spends its life cycle without growing flowers and it grows a single bloom just before it dies
  10. Shenzhen Nongke Orchid is the most expensive flower ever

Concluding our Flowery Journey

We have successfully reached the end of our journey. We managed to grasp the essence of flowers, their history in different countries, and the national flower of each country. We defined what flowers are and the pollinators that are responsible for the spreading of flowers.

We discovered that there are four different pollination techniques that plants use to multiply. Some use wind and water. Others use insects and animals. We learned different facts about plants and flowers during our journey.

We spoke the flowers’ language as we delved into the history of flowers. Each country favours a different flower for a different reason. We learned some of the common types of flowers. We discussed the importance and significance of flowers in our lives.

We even investigated some of the deadliest flowers on Earth. In addition to the other flowers that are quite rare to find. We also learned together how to plant a few of the different types of flowers.

Until we reached the special part of occasions and learned when to give which flower. This journey was fruitful, indeed. Now, we know even more about flowers. We still have so many stories we’d love to share with you, so stay tuned and keep on visiting Learning Mole. Remember, the world is full of wonders!