Children ‘s science questions How much of the Sun’s energy hits the earth and how much is wasted?

Children’s science questions also consider fly climbing, sugar, and air pits. And how do you know if a dog really likes its Owner?

Ahto Tuominen, 8

Sun is an almost spherical star whose surface radiation is evenly distributed in space. How much energy each body receives depends on its size and distance from the Sun.

Because the Earth is a small planet and far from the Sun, the amount of energy hitting it is only a fraction of the energy produced by the Sun. The sun radiates more than two billion times the amount of radiation that hits the earth.

Also, not all of the radiation to the Earth can reach the surface. Roughly half of it stops in the atmosphere around the earth or is reflected back into space.

However, the amount of energy reaching the earth’s surface is thousands of times greater than humanity can consume. Indeed, solar energy recovery and storage technology have developed tremendously in recent years.

Silja Pohjolainen

docent of astronomy and university teacher

University of Turku

Kärpänen observes the movement in his environment with his mesh.

Why do flies thrive upside down?

Ahti Bask, 6

With flies has suction cup-like parts on all feet that allow them to stand and even walk on steep surfaces such as window glass. Thanks to those parts, they can also easily hang upside down, for example on the ceiling.

Being upside down is often safer for flies against predators who threaten them.

When the flies have large meshes that allow a very wide field of view, they can easily see all the movements in the environment when hanging high. Sometimes, for example, furniture can be a visual barrier.

In any case, the flies are ready to fly away if needed.

In nature, flies are often seen standing on tree trunks, for example. They thrive well upside down on the undersides of leaves as well, as there is better protection from predation by insectivorous birds such as rainbow trout.

Sometimes flies are also seen lying or rumbling on their backs, for example on the floor or on a table. Such individuals are often afflicted with parasites or otherwise already in poor condition.

Jouni Sorvari

docent of evolutionary ecology

University of Turku

Sweet prefers to be nice.

Why is everything sugary good but non-sugary is not?

Anna Alvesalo, 6

Man has probably liked sweet food for hundreds of thousands of years. Eating one has been safe. Many poisons are bitter. In other words, we like sweets are partly inherited.

But man also learns to like and hate different foods and flavors throughout his life. Very often, sweet food is associated with situations where it’s nice, for holidays and birthdays, invitations, or even beautiful spring weather.

We also shape our habits with words. When sweet foods are called delicacies throughout life, that too increases preference for them.

Sometimes it can also happen that a person’s blood sugar is lowered. This is usually because there is too long a time since the previous meal.

Eating sugary foods easily raises your blood sugar and can make you feel better. You can get used to that as well. However, a decent meal gets a more balanced effect.

Eating too many sugary foods is not good, but when used in moderation, they are also suitable for a healthy diet. A lot of new taste worlds tend to open up to a person in addition to the sweet, as the age gets older.

Mikael Fogelholm

Professor of Nutrition

university of Helsinki

It is nice to play and move with dogs.

How do you know that a dog really likes a hostess, and not just the delicacies she offers?

Selma Sipilä, 10

The same of things that know that another person likes us.

The dog wants to be with us, even if there are no wonderful delicacies on offer all the time. The liking for a dog is that it feels safe in our company and gets to do nice things together with us. Then it experiences joy and happiness.

It is known that dogs and humans produce oxytocin hormone in the body when they experience joy, happiness, or other pleasure. The dog tends to show those feelings with its gestures. Gestures can be, for example, a gentle wagging of the tail or a slight retraction of the muzzles and ears.

Dogs learn to like humans based on their experiences. The most important thing is to always treat dogs fairly and in a way that increases their sense of safety.

The more nice things a dog allows, the more it also combines nice experiences with a human! And while treats aren’t a direct path to a dog’s heart, they are a great help when teaching a dog things.

Sofia Haapanen

animal educator and chairman of the Finnish Animal Educators Association

What do air pits consist of?

Aino Haapakoski, 7

In the atmosphere there are always up and down as well as sideways blowing gusts of wind. When they hit an airplane, the lifting force of the wings supporting the aircraft changes. As the lift increases, the aircraft rises and as the lift decreases, the aircraft decreases.

If this happens quickly, the passenger will feel as if the plane is driving into a pit or a bump. In this case, an air pit has been encountered. That is, the air pits consist of air currents that change the lifting force of the machine and move it.

Those flight altitude changes are not large, but they come unexpectedly and therefore feel powerful. Air pits are usually not really any weirder than bumps on a bad road.

Indeed, the air pits are harmless to the aircraft, even as passengers are advised to sit down, fasten their seat belts and stop serving. This is done so that no one would surely injure themselves or the drinks would spill. Aircraft withstand stresses that are tens of times greater than those caused by air pits.

Jussi Aaltonen

Automation and Mechanical Engineering Research Manager

University of Tampere

Send the question, the full name and age of the questioner to The column will be edited by Touko Kauppinen and Juha Merimaa.



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