Every Friday, we tackle a bunch of viewers’ burning questions. This week, Heather Brown explores moths, crops and the dog days of summer.
Lexi asks: Why are moths attracted to light?
Scientists don’t know exactly why, but some speculate the moths think the light might be the moon that would help them better navigate. They might also mistake it for the daytime. Either way, the moths can’t adjust to the bright light, get confused and can’t get themselves out of the light.
Julie from Mounds View noticed the corn crops growing near the University of Minnesota’s St. Paul campus. She wants to know: What does the U of M do with its crops?
U of M researchers grow most any kind of food, including corn, soybeans, wheat and sunflowers.
According to Greg Cuomo, associate dean of research for the College of Food, Agricultural and Natural Resources Sciences, some of the crops are sold on the open market and the profit is then used to fund other research. Some of the crops are given to feed cows and some are brought back to the lab for research.
“You go back to the desk of researchers, you see desks full of corn,” said Cuomo. “They’re broken in half.”
Mike from Monticello asks: Why is it called dog days of summer?
Dog days have nothing to do with man’s best friend. Instead, it’s related to the Dog Star, Sirius, which is the brightest star visible from Earth at night.
The “dog days” are the 40-day time period when the sun is in the same region of the sky as Sirius. Greeks and Romans, thought Sirius might give the sun a little extra heat, but that’s not true.
According to the Farmer’s Almanac, the dog days of 2015 ended on August 11.