Wednesday, May 31, 2017

May Weather for NearSys Station

The temperature for May increased slightly with a few days uncharacteristically exceeding 90 *F. There are two gaps in the data because of travel days.

There was no snow in May and the month only saw 0.26 inches of rain.

Monday, May 29, 2017

Article 177

NearSys just published article 177. The article is about the recording weather station created for BalloonSats. By flying this device on a weather balloon, one will know the temperature, pressure, relative humidity, wind speed, and wind direction at various altitudes during a near space mission.

Right now, NearSys is experimenting with using such an outfitted BalloonSat to record these conditions every five seconds during the eclipse mission this August.

Verhage, L. (2017). A recording weather station for near space and beyond, Nuts and Volts, 38(6), 54-57. 

Friday, May 26, 2017

CX-10C Indoor Camera Quadcopter.

Preparing to teach a drone class next year means I'm on the lookout for quadcopter ideas. I came across the CX-10C 4-channel drone two weeks ago and I was amazed to what it was capable of doing. This tiny drone is perfect for indoor flying since it costs less than $30, measures only three inches across, and weighs 14 grams.

More importantly, it can record video and take pictures. The 0.3 MP camera's pictures are not GoPro quality, but are nevertheless pretty nice.

I don't get to see the hallway of my school from this altitude.
The video is even better.

The quadcopter is solidly enough built to survive several crashes without a scratch.

Not a bad toy for $30. Here's looking at you, kid.
So I'm thinking about writing a grant to purchase enough of these quadcopters for my class and then handing them out to students when they've passed their first test.

Saturday, May 20, 2017

UAVSonde Data for NearSys Station, 20 May 2017

UAVSonde data were collected at 9:00 PM. Here are the data.

Altitude: 2,224 feet
Temperature: 68 *F
Relative Humidity: 49%
Pressure: 932.5 mb

Altitude: 2,739 feet
Temperature: 64 *F
Relative Humidity: 36%
Pressure: 916.9 mb

Monday, May 15, 2017


There are too many countries in the world that don't have access to basic science tools for things like medical diagnostics. Foldscopes is trying to change that. You can support the development and distribution of these vital tools.

Please check out Foldscopes when you get a chance.

Snow on May 13, 2017

Whoa, late snow! I ran into a mild snowstorm east of Rome, OR. The snow was melting on the road, but sticking to the grasses off the road.

May 13th is the latest day I have seen it snow. October 15, 1987 is the earliest.

UAVSonde Data for NearSys Station, 13 May 2017

UAVSonde data were collected at 6:30 AM. Here are the data.

Altitude: 2,260 feet
Temperature: 36 *F
Relative Humidity: 85%
Pressure: 940.0 mb

Altitude: 2,539 feet
Temperature: 40 *F
Relative Humidity: 85%
Pressure: 917.6 mb

There appears there was a slight temperature inversion. However, the UAV flashed a low battery condition requiring it be landed early. The temperature could be different if the UAV remained aloft for the full 60 seconds.

I still need to gain the gain on the pressure sensor and recalibrate. That need a to be followed by a test of temperature affects on the pressure sensor output.

Sunday, May 7, 2017

UAVSonde Data for NearSys Station, 7 May 02017

UAVSonde data were collected at 8:30 PM (it's been too windy this weekend to collect earlier). Here are the data.

Altitude: 2,247 feet
Temperature: 64*F
Relative Humidity: 17%
Pressure: 931.8 mb

Altitude: 2,739 feet
Temperature: 61*F
Relative Humidity: 15%
Pressure: 916.9 mb

The GPS glitched during ascent. It's probale that the maximum altitude is in error.

Monday, May 1, 2017

Helium Shortage is no Laughing Matter

Chemistry World has an article on the shortage of helium the world is experiencing. In 2006 and 2013, industry was unable to meet the global demand for helium. Industry has responded by recycling helium and being more efficient with its use. Currently, oil drilling is the major source of helium. However, some of the helium fields are reaching depletion and in the long term, the world will need additional sources of helium.

Read more in Helium in Crisis at Chemistry World,

Field Trip at the Treasure Valley Math and Science Center

My chemistry students went on a field trip last week for a water quality activity. I used the opportunity to get some pictures of them working from my quadcopter's perspective.

Students at work collecting water samples and testing them for phosphates, dissolved oxygen, and sediment.
A thermal image of students working in the light drizzle we were experiencing during the field trip.

The Boise Greenbelt is experiencing flooding this spring.