Escaping the Bermuda Triangle

Note: This article was updated to extend the deadline for submitting answers.

Q. The stretch version of a passenger jet has made an emergency landing in the Bermuda Triangle. The cockpit crew has vanished along with all the plane’s paperwork, including the weight and balance manual. As luck would have it, also on this small island are 27 ageless U.S. Navy flyers who disappeared in 1945. There are enough seats for them, but they must figure out how to fly the jet, starting with the takeoff. Over a spotty radio connection, one of the flyers tells the manufacturer that the runway looks short but he thinks he can still get the nose up in time. Amid the static, he hears the words “don’t forget your angle of —” and then the connection ends. The pilot looks out at the jet and to an old bulldozer near the runway. He runs out and instructs the other flyers to help him dig a trough in the center of the runway toward the far end. Why?

Draft a response of no more than 250 words and email it by 5 p.m. Eastern Nov. 18 to for a chance to have it published in the December issue.

COSMOLOGICAL REDSHIFT: We asked you to explain the Doppler effect’s link to what the James Webb Space Telescope will detect in the infrared.

WINNER: When the first stars and galaxies began to form, there was a lot of heat and light. This light is still in space traveling in waves just like sound waves. However, the longer these waves are in space, the longer the waves become. This is because space is forever expanding and the light coming from these initial formations continues to stretch. The longer these waves of light travel, the more stretched they become. This is known as astronomical redshift. The light created millions of years ago from the birth of stars and galaxies would be so stretched now that it is in the infrared spectrum. This expansion of light waves as a result of the expansion of space is known as redshift. It is actually an example of the Doppler effect. Doppler shifting occurs from the relative motion of a source of movement and an observer. For instance, a train coming toward a stationary person. As the train approaches, the sound waves get closer and closer together and then the reverse happens as it moves past the observer. Astronomical redshifts differ in that they occur due to the expansion of space itself even though the objects themselves can be stationary. Wavelengths from the formation of stars and galaxies are very far apart because they have been in space for a long time.

Linda Nowicki of New Port Richey, Florida, volunteers as an education ambassador for ARISS, Amateur Radio on the International Space Station.

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Escaping the Bermuda Triangle