Your storm glass update

As you remember, yesterday The Nine-Year-Old and I tried to reset our storm glass, with rather surprising results. A couple of hours after the official experiment had ended, I wandered into the office to find the once-clear storm glass looking like this:

(Photo: Shala Howell)

12:17 p.m. The Storm Glass Apocalypse. Or as The Nine-Year-Old prefers to call it: The Storm Glass Eclipse. (Photo: Shala Howell)

Had applying so much heat for so long changed the character of the storm glass entirely? Would the ferns ever grow back? Or would the storm glass look like this forever?

We checked on the glass pretty obsessively all afternoon, but didn’t notice much real progress until the evening. At 5:41 p.m. yesterday, it looked like this:

(Photo: Shala Howell)

Five hours and 24 minutes later. (Photo: Shala Howell)

That was hopeful. The Nine-Year-Old and I closed out our day hoping that time would heal our glass.

Sure enough, by 10:11 this morning, the dense mass of crystals had retreated enough to allow a couple of brave little ferns:

(Photo: Shala Howell)

22 hours and 55 minutes later. (Photo: Shala Howell)

It still has a long way to go, but to answer yesterday’s question: yes, our storm glass will eventually have room for those lovely giant ferns again.

Oh, the things that make me happy in winter.

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About Shala Howell

I spent two decades helping companies like Bell Labs, Juniper Networks, and a genetic testing company that was later acquired by CVS translate some of the world’s most complicated concepts into actionable, understandable English. Now I'm working on a much harder problem -- fostering children’s curiosity and engagement in the scientific, artistic, and linguistic world that surrounds them. The first book in my Caterpickles Parenting Series, What’s That, Mom?, focuses on how to use public art to nurture children’s curiosity in the world around them. My next book will focus on science, and how parents without a science degree can answer their curious child's questions without enrolling in a college level refresher course. In the meantime, you can find me blogging about life with a very curious Eleven-Year-Old at Caterpickles.com, chatting about books and the writing life at BostonWriters.blog, and tweeting about books, writing, science, & things that make me smile at @shalahowell.
This entry was posted in Can we do that sometime?, Experiments, Science and tagged . Bookmark the permalink.

2 Responses to Your storm glass update

  1. toto says:

    I had a storm glass for two years and it had been doing well on top of a small bench under a shed.
    I put it under the shed because I think it will be more accurate when it is in the outdoor area. I also checked to be sure that it is not exposed to direct sunlight as the instruction mentioned. however, when I later went to study abroad, my father decided to move the bench to the edge of the shed. In that position, I reckon the storm glass was exposed to direct sunlight every morning for 3~5 hours at least. When I finally came back home, the liquid inside the storm glass is clear, but there is a layer of orangish brown oil floating on top. Did the direct sunlight “break” my storm glass? If so, is it possible for me to fix it? Thanks!

    Like

    • Shala Howell says:

      Well that’s weird. Has the glass been compromised in some way? Is it possible stuff could have gotten in it?

      If not, it sounds like some sort of heat-induced chemical reaction may have taken place. Unfortunately I don’t know if the typical reset procedure (use a hair dryer to heat the contents up until the liquid is clear, then let it cool) would make this better or worse. Have you tried it?

      Sadly, I’m not a storm glass professional — just a professionally curious person — so I won’t be of much help here. My only other thought would be to contact the manufacturer of your glass to see what’s inside/if they have any suggestions for how to proceed. Wish I could be of more help. I’d love to know what you find out.

      Like

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