Five Science-y Reasons to stop giving winter the side-eye. Love and hate ride such a thin line, right? Let’s embrace it and try to love winter!
1. You can walk on water
When temps get to 32 degrees Fahrenheit or lower, the lakes, streams, and rivers in the area start to freeze. That means that – once the appropriate thickness is achieved – you can walk on water (<– ‘cause it’s ice). How thick does the ice need to be? Well, new, clear, solid ice needs to be four inches thick before you can walk on it, and white ice, sometimes called “snow ice,” is only about half as strong as new clear ice, so the thickness there should be – you got it: eight inches. But many factors other than thickness can cause ice to be unsafe, so no matter what, you should always check the ice first – learn how here: www.dnr.state.mn.us/safety/ice/thickness.html
2. The sky literally falls
Snow is really just clouds falling from the sky. Because clouds are really just floating water. (You can see last winter’s Science You’re Super: SNOW! at theinspiredmedia.com for details on snow and how it works).
But do you know just how big snowflakes can get? The largest snowflake recorded in the Guinness World Book of Records fell on January 28, 1887, in Ft. Keogh, Montana. It was 15 inches across and 8 inches thick! The runner up was one that fell in Bratsk, Siberia, almost a hundred years later in 1971 – but it was a mere 8 by 12 inches.
3. The stars are brighter
Well, they SEEM brighter, anyway. From the Northern Hemisphere in the winter we’re looking toward many less more stars than in the summer.
The hazy quality of the summer sky is caused by the combined light of billions of stars in the direction of the Milky Way’s center. In winter, we’re looking less directly into the galaxy, the winter stars tend to be closer to us, and there are also some really big stars located in this direction. So we’re seeing fewer stars, but are looking more deeply into the space beyond the Milky Way, making the winter sky seems sharp and clear compared to a summer sky! earthsky.org/space/star-seasonal-appearance-brightness
4. You burn more calories
Okay, it’s a negligible amount, and you don’t want to spend your whole day shivering, but if you’re cold enough to shiver you’re actually burning a few extra calories as your body works to keep warm. Unfortunately, exercising in the cold doesn’t really make you max out the burn any more – your body, when it’s worked up during a good jog, ski, hike, does a good job of keeping you warm .
5. Snowmen, Snow forts, Snow angels, Snow balls
Because it stays cold enough for water vapor to freeze and fall, but not always warm enough for it to melt once it hits the ground, we’re able to make fun stuff with all that white stuff! C’mon. Don’t forget just how great it is to get all bundled up and head outside to play in that winter wonderland.