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  • Join Us for Astronomy Day! This Saturday, at the George Observatory | BEYONDbones
    22 24 a Cornerstone Project of International Year of Astronomy 2009 Accordingly many of the indoor and outdoor presentations will focus on telescopes the history of telescopes and Galileo s observations You can personally repeat one of Galileo s historic observations by observing Jupiter s moons through one of the many telescopes on our deck If you observe between 8 19 and 8 24 you can see one of the moons Io occult partially block Europa The Houston Astronomical Society HAS sponsored Astronomy Day events as early as 1982 Many gatherings in the 80s took place at Rice University In fall 1985 Comet Halley returned to our region of the solar system for the first time in 76 years When HMNS and the newly formed Fort Bend Astronomy Club FBAC arranged for a Saturday night viewing of Halley that fall over 10 000 visitors came to Brazos Bend State Park to get a glimpse of the comet Such an expression of local interest in observing celestial events led to the creation of the George Observatory in 1989 On August 12 1994 in conjunction with the annual Perseid Meteor Shower HAS sponsored the first Astronomy Day to be held at the George Observatory As the event grew in popularity organizers shifted the event to October a month with on average more comfortable temperatures and clearer skies in the Houston area Also more local area clubs became involved including the Johnson Space Center Astronomical Society JSCAS the North Houston Astronomy Club NHAC and the Astronomical Society of Southeast Texas ASSET based in Beaumont Joining us as sponsors in 2009 are the Huntsville Amateur Astronomical Society HAAS and the Community of Humble Administaff Observatory Society Introducing local astronomy clubs to the public and vice versa has become an important part of Astronomy Day If you are interested in any of the astronomy clubs in the immediate vicinity of Houston you will be able to learn about all of them at Astronomy Day The involvement of more and more clubs and volunteers has gone hand in hand with much greater attendance in recent years As you can see in the accompanying chart not even Hurricane Ike s aftermath could depress our attendance numbers back to what they were just four years ago Year Attendance 1999 1900 2000 500 rain 2001 1500 2002 1300 2003 1800 2004 1200 2005 1586 2006 2028 2007 3997 2008 2400 Ike Also we are not alone in holding a huge star party on October 24 The Astronomical League sponsors Astronomy Day events worldwide In 2009 most of these were in the spring back on May 2 But there are at least four other events this Saturday including one at the University of Texas at Arlington In 2007 the Astronomical League recognized our event as the best run Astronomy Day of the year photo credit fdecomite We hold Astronomy Day every year in mid to late October If possible we select a Saturday with a first quarter Moon This puts

    Original URL path: http://blog.hmns.org/2009/10/join-us-for-astronomy-day-this-saturday-at-the-george-observatory/ (2016-02-12)
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  • Ice Age Extinctions and Dino-Plagues | BEYONDbones
    the Earth for 200 million years Dr Bakker can be found all over the globe notably leading the Museum s paleontology field program View all posts by Bob 6 thoughts on Ice Age Extinctions and Dino Plagues Jay on November 19 2009 at 3 43 am said I ve long had issues with the Asteroid Theory mostly on the grounds of how many species survived such a cataclysmic event Why do think that the Asteroid Theory has gained so much traction among scientists and the public Erin F on November 19 2009 at 8 51 am said Hi Jay Dr Bakker is in the field digging right now so it may take some time for him to post a response here Just wanted to let you know and thanks for reading Erin F on November 23 2009 at 9 04 am said Hi again Here is Dr Bakker s response to your question Why do otherwise sober minded folks like the Extreme Asteroid theory of Extinction Geologists long have looked to physical not biological catastrophes for extinction agents Back in the 1830 s Serial Creationists viewed life as having come through many successive layers of creation The Jurassic layer was followed by an extinction then the Cretaceous layer of Creation occurred New species were created with each layer old species went extinct Shifts in climate were the culprit the agents of die off so they thought Darwinian geologists too saw climate as a fauna killer Sudden changes in heat and humidity would wipe out whole ecosystems There simply was a preference for external causes coming from outside the actual biotic systems Few were the scholars who searched for extinction agents right in the critter critter interactions themselves Exception H F Osborn who was the first to suspect immigrant mammals as carriers of diseases that exterminated many waves of large furry species in the Tertiary Now in the age of Star Wars Star Trek and successful NASA explorations it s just human nature to prefer visions of astral collisions to scenes of T rexes dying of explosive diarrhea but diarrhea is proven to be a super deadly killer of both non human species and humans themselves Thanks again for reading Jay on November 26 2009 at 12 33 am said Thank you Erin and Dr Bakker for the prompt and remote response Gaston on January 25 2010 at 3 47 pm said Years ago I heard an interview where the professor R T Bakker said that Comet was not responsible for the extinction of the dinosaurs if the asteroid had been responsible for the extinction of the dinosaurs turtles and frogs also had to be extinguished Your answer agrees with my experience frogs and turtles in general do not survive small changes in temperature or conditions of their niches we can now confirm what is happening to the frog Arlequin in Costa Rica I don t know the challenges in the past on the route of our solar system perhaps the

    Original URL path: http://blog.hmns.org/2009/10/ice-age-extinctions-and-dino-plagues/ (2016-02-12)
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  • Towards Other Earths [Lecture] | BEYONDbones
    and results about planets tens to hundreds of light years away It is absolutely amazing how much we can determine about exoplanets mass size composition of atmosphere temperature and density photo credit kevindooley But these are all gas giants like Jupiter or even larger The holy grail in this game is a planet that is very similar to Earth a place with a surface gravity atmosphere and oceans like we enjoy So this conference called Towards Other Earths has a reason to exist What will be required to find and characterize an earth like planet tens of light years distant Next week I will be in your neighborhood on 27 October giving a talk at the Houston Museum of Natural Science and will report on a few of the fascinating results from Towards Other Earths Hope to see you all there Make sure you join us at the George Observatory for Astronomy Day on October 24 Visitors will be able to participate in crafts activities lectures and astronomy exhibits all free with the price of admission to Brazos Bend State Park 0 0 0 This entry was posted in Astronomy and tagged 32 new exoplanets adult lectures astronomy day Dr

    Original URL path: http://blog.hmns.org/2009/10/towards-other-earths-lecture/ (2016-02-12)
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  • Light Up My Life | BEYONDbones
    Fluorescent lights CFLs are fluorescent lights that have been created to be used in light fixtures that use incandescent bulbs They work by running an electrical current from the ballast the part that has the circuit board and transistors and through the mercury vapor which emits ultraviolet light When ultraviolet light goes into the tube it creates visible light These create a lot more light at lower wattage and last longer then the incandescent bulbs photo credit Myself248 The third type of light is the light emitting diode LEDs They work by using the principle of electroluminescence in which a semiconductor diode has an electrical current run through it and the electrons are able to recombine with the electron holes to produce light If you re like me and don t understand that when the switch is turned on the light also comes on The LEDs use less power then the other two and will last much much longer possibly 100 times longer then an incandescent bulb but they also cost a lot more So now its math time A 60 watt incandescent bulb will emit 890 lumens a measurement of light for 750 1000 hours and costs 0 75 a bulb A 15 watt CFL will emit 900 lumens for 6 000 15 000 hours and costs 3 A 13 watt LED will emit 900 lumens for 25 000 100 000 hours and costs 50 That means a CFL will use 1 4th of the electricity of an incandescent bulb and last at least 12 times as long 6 000 750 8 15 000 1000 15 6 000 1 000 6 1 5 000 750 20 8 15 6 20 49 49 4 12 25 so for every 12 incandescent I have to buy one CFL 12 75 9 I would save 6 dollars from not having to buy more light bulbs Does the same hold true for the LED Lets find out The LED uses 2 watts less then the CFL and lasts 5 times longer 25 000 6 000 4 16r 100 000 15 000 6 6r 25 000 15 000 1 6r 100 000 15 000 6 6r 4 16 6 6 1 6 6 6 18 36 18 36 4 4 59 So I have to buy 5 CFLs for each LED 5 3 15 I would be losing 35 dollars if I bought just the one LED So how much energy can I save An incandescent bulb can use 52 500 watts or 52 5 kilowatts over its life time A CFL can use 157 500 watts or 157 5 kilowatts over its life time A LED can use 780 000 watts or 780 kilowatts So if one CFL is equal to 12 incandescent then I would use 157 2 kilowatts instead of 642 kilowatts And with electricity being 0 14 a kilowatt hour in Texas see my previous post then I can save 642 14 89 88 157 5 14 22 04 89

    Original URL path: http://blog.hmns.org/2009/10/light-up-my-life/ (2016-02-12)
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  • Is that a Brown Recluse?? | BEYONDbones
    photo credit emills1 Not a brown recluse There are lots of spiders that resemble the brown recluse Several have markings similar to the violin marking Many have a similar body shape Others also have similar eye number and arrangement So what is the best way to identify a brown recluse Practice We always have one on display here at the Cockrell Butterfly Center be sure to look at her closely next time you visit There are several pictures online as well as pictures of spiders that are often mistaken for them If you find a suspicious spider in your home bring it in for an identification we d be happy to look at it for you If we do identify it as a brown recluse remember not to panic your home could be overrun with them and you will still probably never be bitten I hope I ve shed some light on this shy little spider We can all live with spiders they shouldn t be feared but respected They are largely harmless shy beneficial and some are out of this world gorgeous So until next time happy bug watching An actual Brown Recluse 5 0 0 This entry was posted in Plants Insects and tagged arachnophobia brown recluse brown recluse bite cellar spider editor pick fear of spiders house spider necrosis sicariidae spider bite spiders by Erin M Bookmark the permalink About Erin M As an entomologist at the Cockrell Butterfly Center Erin designs creates and maintains exhibits for the Entomology Hall raises and cares for live insects and insect relatives and educates the public about the wonderful world of bugs View all posts by Erin M 7 thoughts on Is that a Brown Recluse Julian on October 20 2009 at 4 35 pm said While this article has some useful information I disagree with the way it handles the perceived severity of brown recluse bites This is one of a handful of spiders worldwide that possess medically significant venom Just because the spider is reclusive by nature does not mean bites are extremely unlikely for the simple fact they are often found in homes throughout the southern US Their prime habitat is in spots we humans sometimes leave undisturbed for periods then engage think cardboard boxes in closets shoes open drawers bed linens etc It is often impossible to spot one in a poorly lit space in a garage or even crawling across a dark carpet To further complicate the issue many who are bitten will not even notice the initial bite As noted in the article it makes proper identification of the cause difficult if not impossible therefore statistics are questionable There are enough confirmed cases where someone who is bitten by a brown recluse develops the classic weeping ulcer or necrotic lesion due to loxoscelism to warrant proper warning I have seen this myself and it often concludes with permanent scarring of the wound It is best to treat this spider as well as the Black

    Original URL path: http://blog.hmns.org/2009/10/is-that-a-brown-recluse/ (2016-02-12)
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  • Happy Birthday George Observatory! | BEYONDbones
    the stars and planets have visited the facility in Brazos Bend State Park For 20 years kids have participated in simulated space missions by heading for outer space in our Challenger Learning Center Visitors have gazed through our three telescopes open to the public almost every Saturday night Through our large 36 Gueymard Research Telescope visitors have been able to view the craters on the moon all of the planets comets meteors eclipses and various stars and constellations Using the telescope a group from the Fort Bend Astronomy Club has discovered more than 400 asteroids and named five of them Come by on a Saturday night and you ll meet many of them as they re frequently on hand to share a look through their telescopes and a passion for observing Over the last 20 years dozens of probes and satellites have been sent to scout nearby moons and planets NASA has plans to study them in more detail explore new masses and is planning the completion of the International Space Station in 2011 Who knows what the future of space holds for mankind Supernovas exploding in the deep of space space colonization or even intelligent life on other planets We fervently hope that the George will inspire kids to be a part of the future of science and space exploration wherever that might lead them and into an exploration of the unknown We look forward to discovering the future of space and uncovering new mysteries along with you at the George Observatory 0 0 0 This entry was posted in Astronomy and tagged alien life Astronomy brazos bend state park challenger challenger learning center columbia george observatory HMNS hubble telescope intelligent life Pluto space space exploration stars supernovas telescopes by Steven Bookmark the permalink About Steven Steven never dreamed

    Original URL path: http://blog.hmns.org/2009/10/happy-birthday-george-observatory/ (2016-02-12)
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  • Lucy’s Great Mystery: Part 2 | BEYONDbones
    dominant females are needed to keep order It works to the kids advantage If Mom Hyenas dies her sisters will help raise the orphans Hyena clans fan out and go after zebra and antelope even water buffalo and young rhinos The Hyenas run and run and run They ve got great stamina Super Crusher Hyena Lucy had to watch out for Pachycrocuta what I like to call the Super Crusher Hyena This monster was a close kin of today s Spotted Hyena but weighed almost as much as a lion 300 pounds And the Super Crusher had jaws with even greater bone smashing power than in the Spotted Hyena A clan of Super Crusher Hyenas would have instilled fear even in the biggest Saber Tooth Cat Wolf Hyena In Lucy s time there was a Hyena menace we don t have today It was Chasmaporthetes the Wolf Hyena A Wolf Hyena seen from a hundred yards away would look like big headed Timber Wolf long legged fast and graceful Up close you d see the Hyena family design The paws were more compact than a wolf s and the jaws had meat cutting teeth were longer and sharper And there weren t any big molars in the rear of the mouth Wolves and coyotes use those rear molars to crunch berries and fruit and other vegetable food The Wolf Hyena was more of a pure carnivore The Wolf Hyenas must have been the nightmare of mid sized hoofed stock and primates of all sizes including our Lucy Can t Bite Back What defenses Did Lucy Have photo credit rdicker Chimps and baboons can bite back They have big canine teeth especially large in the males A 90 pound baboon or ape is a nasty close in fighter Leopards and hyenas can get terrible wounds from ape and monkey teeth But not Lucy When australopithecines evolved from apes the canine teeth got small Lucy had much poorer dental weapons than what her ape ancestors had Final Conclusion Let s roll play again you re Lucy or her mate You weigh 60 to 90 pounds What do you do when a pack of Wolf Hyenas come over the hill You can t out run them You might be able to fight off just one Wolf Hyena but not a pack of a dozen Let s say by some miracle you get away from the Wolf Hyena clan then a Giant Cheetah comes at you at 55 mph Or you re resting and a Semi Saber Tooth Cat attacks Or a smilodont You haven t a chance Old Theories Are Missing Something BUT Lucy and her family did get away again and again and again They lived long enough to mate and raise kids and evolve How did they do it What do you think 1 0 0 This entry was posted in Lucy s Legacy and tagged australopithecine chasmaporthetes Crocuta crocuta Dinofelis evolution HMNS hyenas Lucy Lucy s Legacy Pachycrocuta Saber Tooth

    Original URL path: http://blog.hmns.org/2009/10/lucys-great-mystery-part-2/ (2016-02-12)
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  • What can you do with 63 hours? | BEYONDbones
    in perspective I ve devised a list of a few activities you might be able to do in 63 hours Fly to the moon A manned spacecraft takes roughly three days to fly to the moon Learn the names of all 203 recognized U N countries Watch The Burning of the Red Lotus Temple a 1928 Chinese film that runs at about 27 hours 2 1 5 times photo credit thomas sly Run the world s fastest marathon at two hours and four minutes almost 30 times Have a cell divide anywhere from two to five times inside of you Listen to the song Choak and Ace at a recorded length of 4 hours 27 min and 32 seconds 13 and 1 3 times Go through almost one percent of pregnancy not really recommended for the men reading this Experience the Terra Cotta Warriors at HMNS This probably won t take the full 60 hours However it is less dangerous than flying to the moon won t get stuck in your head like listening to the same four hour song 13 times and is a lot less tedious than learning the names of 203 countries If you haven t seen the warriors yet we hope you ll come by this weekend any time See you there 0 0 0 This entry was posted in Science and tagged 60 hours cell division Choak and Ace HMNS marathon space travel Terra Cotta Soldiers terra cotta warriors The Burning of the red lotus temple UN countries by Steven Bookmark the permalink About Steven Steven never dreamed his first job out of college would be in public relations and on top of that working for one of the top museums in the country After all he majored in History at Vassar College Within three

    Original URL path: http://blog.hmns.org/2009/10/what-can-you-do-with-63-hours/ (2016-02-12)
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