Do you look petite with a parasol or formal with an umbrella?
- Umbrellas are typically handheld inventions used primarily to provide a portable way to protect the user from weather or provide shade.
- ‘Umbrellas’ are also known as ‘parasols’, and they are sometimes called ‘rainshades’, ‘sunshades’, ‘brollies’, ‘bumbershoots’, ‘gamps’ and ‘parapetuies’.
- The term ‘umbrella’ is used more often in referring to the item as a water shield, while the term ‘parasol’ is normally reserved for those used as a heat shield, although both terms are used loosely.
- ‘Umbrella’ comes from the Latin word ‘umbra’ which means shadow or shade, while ‘parasol’ is of Italian origin and combines the words ‘para’ and ‘sole’, which mean ‘to protect against’ and ‘sun’ respectively.
- The Middle Eastern ancient civilisation of Nineveh were possibly the first users of umbrellas, most likely used for shade purposes, and reserved only for the monarchy, however there is evidence of other ancient societies, including Egypt, Rome, Greece and India, producing their own versions.
- China has the earliest known record of a foldable umbrella, dating back to 21 AD, which was purposed for a carriage.
- Europeans began to use umbrellas to block rain in the 1700s, and they slowly replaced the cloak that was commonly used for that purpose.
- While China produced the first retractable umbrella, a modern version that weighed significantly less than others was designed in 1710 by Jean Marius, a merchant from France.
- Umbrellas are typically made of cotton, nylon, plastic or other synthetic materials, and historically silk or leaves were used.
- Umbrellas come in a wide variety of colours, shapes and sizes, although generally they have a domed top and a wire frame work attached to a handle that is straight or in the shape of a ‘J’.
History of Umbrella and Parasol, n.d, Umbrella History, http://www.umbrellahistory.net/
Red, Orange, Yellow, Green, Blue, Indigo, Violet.
- Rainbows are formed when light is reflected off water droplets, and shows a spectrum of colours.
- Primary rainbows have red, orange, yellow, green, blue, indigo, violet (ROY G BIV), while secondary rainbows go violet, indigo, blue, green, yellow, orange, red (VIB G YOR).
- Rainbows can form in mist, like waterfalls, and sea spray.
- When the sky is dull, rainbows are easier to see.
- Some rainbows don’t fit with the ‘ROY G BIV’ or ‘VIB G YOR’ systems but have their own patterns.
- When viewing a rainbow, the sun is always opposite the centre of the arc, with the sun behind you.
- Aristotle, the famous Greek scholar from 300 years BC was the first to research and develop a theory regarding rainbows.
- Some cultures believe that rainbows are the way to heaven, whilst the Bible says that it is a sign from God, reminding us of his promise that he will never flood the whole earth again.
- Rainbows are popular themes in films, music, literature and art.
- Nobody can ever see the same rainbow the same as someone else.
Rainbow 28 February 2013, Wikipedia, <http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Rainbow>
Falling, covering and destroying.
- Hail is frozen, solid water droplets that fall from the sky. A hailstone is one lump of ice.
- Normally, the heavier and bigger the hailstone is, the higher in the sky the hailstone falls from.
- Hailstones have a diameter from at least 5 mm (0.2 inches) and can be as big as 20 cm (7.9 inches) when they reach the ground and can weigh more than 500 grams (1.1 lbs).
- Hailstones can join together and can be found in weird and interesting shapes.
- Hail forms at the top of cumulonimbus clouds (thunderclouds), due to the freezing air temperature, as a result of a strong updraught.
- It is much more likely to hail along mountain ranges.
- Many names are given to sizes of hailstones. These names range from a pea to a bowling ball to a cent coin or a penny size.
- Hailstones can damage vehicles, street lights, rooves of buildings, crops, and can hurt or potentially kill, both people and animals.
- In Europe during the Middle Ages, people attempted to prevent hail and its damaging effects by shooting cannons and ringing loud church bells, though these methods were not effective.
- Although people have tried, nothing has been invented that can stop hail from falling, although the use of hail cannons, specifically designed for the purpose, are said to help prevent it.
Hail 27 December 2012, Wikipedia, <http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hail>
Tornadoes are very destructive winds that cause heaps of damage! Here are ten more facts about tornadoes.
- About 1,200 tornadoes are seen every year in the USA.
- The winds at the bottom of a tornado spins faster than the winds at the top.
- Tornadoes have never been spotted in Antarctica.
- Tornadoes form when a downdraft of moist and cool air mixes with an updraft of warm air.
- An average tornado only travels a few miles before it dies out.
- The wind speed inside a tornado is about 110 mph/117 km (per hour).
- A tornado’s colour changes, depending where you view it or what the tornado sucks up. This means a tornado could be white, red, blue, brown, grey, orange, yellow and even invisible.
- Tornadoes may not always be visible. If a tornado is visible, the tornado would have low air pressure produced by high wind speeds that mixes the humid air into clouds.
- Tornadoes are most common in Spring and least common in Winter. This is because Spring produces stronger winds while Winter produces the weakest.
- There are many types of tornadoes including waterspouts, dust devils, snow devils, fire wheels and the typical cyclone.
Schreiber, A 2000, Twister Trouble, Scholastic, USA
Tornado 20 September 2012, Wikipedia, <http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tornado>