2022 SD-AAPT Photo Contest   -   Final judging takes place at the SD STEM Ed Conference in Huron, SD  Feb 4, 2022


  Jocelyn Diamond
2022 SD-AAPT
Photo Contest Winners

Photographs in this entry must be taken by the specific student and they must, in their own words, describe the physics in the image. Photographs must be in their original, unmodified or non-edited form.

Red Sunset

This image shows how light refracts at different wavelengths in the sky. In the visible light part of the electromagnetic spectrum, violet and blue have the shortest wavelengths while red has the longest wavelength. The sky’s normal blue appearance is due to blue light waves scattering in all directions and becoming absorbed by the molecules in Earth’s atmosphere. Red, yellow, and orange lights with shorter wavelengths pass through and are not scattered or absorbed. During sunrise and sunset, the light from the sun has a farther distance to travel.  By the time the light reaches our eye, most of the blue light has been scattered until the red, orange, and yellow light waves are left. When larger molecules are in the sky such as rain clouds and dust, the longer wavelengths will be absorbed. Therefore, when it is cloudy at sunset, the sky tends to take on a vibrant red hue.


I remember as a kid being curious of how two mirrors create more of the same reflections. But with these calculations, I had thought that a 360-degree angle divided by a 30-degree angle would equal 12 sections including 1 original & 11 images. But when I measured with a protractor, I figured out they are created by 360 degrees divided by 13 is equal to 27.7 degrees with 13 sections, 1 original and 12 images. Depending on where you place the object and where it stands. In the photo you will see that the object is placed in the front center of the angle, anything smaller than 180-degrees will cause more images to appear. What I’m showing as my object is three pennies on top of a bronzer sponge on a seasoning cap. The pink centerpiece would be the tape holding two mirrors together at a specific degree angle. If you look at the first two reflections right and left from the original image of the three pennies, the penny of Abraham Lincoln is reversed of him looking to the left.  On the second set of the images, they are reflections of him facing back to the right like its original image.  The remaining reflections alternate facing back and forth as they circle its way back around to the original image. It is a very interesting project and I’m hopeful you will think so too. 


Ashlyn Ashlyn

The Morning Dew

In the natural environment, people can find dew in their lawn or on the leaves of their plants, nevertheless the dew is formed overnight. But how is the dew created?

Well to explain, the dew is formed when water vapor in our atmosphere condenses on cooler surfaces, it is about the same process as a bathroom mirror while taking a shower. To explain, while someone takes a shower, the air becomes warmer and then would come into contact with the bathroom mirror. In any case, dew does not stay all day. It is based upon the temperature. For instance, when the temperature drops, the rate of condensation would exceed the rate of evaporation and water droplets forms.

Overall, morning dew is formed from water vapor and condenses to the colder surfaces, which is when people see them in the lawn or the leaves on plants.

The Halo

This photo depicts a reaction called a halo, specifically a circular halo or 22o halo. A halo is an absolutely breathtaking optical phenomena. A halo is an optical phenomenon which is made by sunlight or moonlight and ice crystals in the atmosphere. These beautiful phenomena can be seen when light reflects off the ice crystals. Halos can display colors in many different wavelengths. The rays can display a single color, a combination of colors, or the full color spectrum. In this image the halo rings have multiple colors which means the reflection process created a dispersion. This means that the white light has been split up to show the rainbow of colors. This photo was taken on Wednesday, January 10 of this year in Mitchell, South Dakota.

Water Vapor

When water is heated to 212° Fahrenheit, it reaches its boiling point and starts to become water vapor. This water vapor rises off the liquid because it is warmer than the air around it. Cold air cannot hold the same amount of moisture as warm air. When taken outside on a cold day, the water vapor cools rapidly when it touches the air. The vapor then reaches the dew point, when air can no longer hold the moisture. When it does so, it condenses once again to its liquid form, becoming minuscule droplets of water that can be seen rising through the air. If the temperature is cold enough, these droplets can freeze.