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  • Solar Energy in Texas | BEYONDbones
    from solar power costs far more then the same electricity generated by any of the fossil fuels Making a solar cell is highly dependent on refined silicon Refined silicon is used to make semiconductors and therefore it is in high demand in a number of industries which include solar cells and computers There are tax incentives both federal and state that can bring the price down but it has to bring it down enough so it can compete with fossil and nuclear fuels There are concerns that an attempt to bring in solar generated electricity would cause the amount you pay for electricity to rise We have concerns with energy projects that are based on government mandates and are ultimately funded by captive ratepayers executive director Luke Bellsnyder said in a statement Projects that are only financially possible because the costs will be passed on to customers through above market rates are not a good deal for consumers and businesses Crocker Even with the all the new Texas solar projects coming online the state will still be mostly dependent on fuels such as coal Texas uses 84 000 megawatts of electricity All the new solar projects would bring the amount of solar produced electricity to 194 megawatts or 2 In contrast wind generates 9 300 megawatts of electricity for Texas 11 California has 724 megawatts of solar generated electricity already installed California has received a large amount of money from the federal government to help build a new solar plant that would be capable of generating 1 000 megawatts of electricity So what should we do In this case we can afford to wait Every year the cost of the solar panels decreases the efficiency of those same panels increases and more and more people want their electricity to be

    Original URL path: http://blog.hmns.org/2010/11/solar-energy-in-texas/ (2016-02-12)
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  • How Far are the Stars? (part 1) | BEYONDbones
    your finger close to your face and repeat the experiment Now hold your finger at arm s length and repeat Notice how your finger seems to move farther when it is close to your face In fact if you could measure how far your finger moves against the background objects you could calculate how far it is from your face We can do the same thing with nearby stars If we observe a star at a particular time of year for example in January and then again six months later in this case in July we can define an isosceles triangle where the base is the diameter of Earth s orbit and the sides are the distance to the star The vertex angle of this triangle equals the apparent change in the star s position due to the Earth s yearly motion One half of this isosceles triangle is a right triangle where one leg is the known Earth Sun distance one AU or astronomical unit and the hypotenuse is the distance to the star The angle opposite the one AU leg which is one half the star s apparent motion is the parallax angle p Basic trigonometry then yields sin p 1 AU d where d is the distance to the star in question Since p is tiny for all stars the small angle approximation sin p p is valid We can define a standard distance by asking how far away a star would be if it had a parallax of one arcsecond 1 3600 degree Plugging d 1 arcsecond into the equation gives us d 206265 AU where 206265 represents the conversion factor between radians and arcseconds given that the approximation sin p p holds only if the angle is in radians We have now defined the parsec the distance at which a star has a parallax angle of one arcsecond It now becomes easy to determine stellar distances compared to this standard distance First measure the parallax of a star in arcseconds Then take one over that value and you have the distance to that star in parsecs By the way although the general public prefers to think of distances to stars in light years modern astronomers never quote them that way The parsec directly related to a measurable quantity is a much more preferable unit One parsec is about 3 26 light years This way of measuring distance has a limitation most stars are too far away to have measurable parallaxes An imaginary sphere with a radius of one parsec centered on our Sun would contain precisely one star the Sun The nearest star system to ours that of Alpha Centauri is 1 34 parsecs away and therefore has a parallax of only about 0 75 arcseconds More distant stars have much smaller parallaxes too small for most Earth based equipment to detect This began to change in 1989 however when the European Space Agency ESA launched the Hi gh P recision Par allax Co llecting

    Original URL path: http://blog.hmns.org/2010/11/how-far-are-the-stars-part-1/ (2016-02-12)
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  • Oh, the weather outside is…SNOW FLURRY! | BEYONDbones
    needles or dendrites among others 2 The size of a snowflake is determined by the number of collisions it experiences in the atmosphere and how much melting occurs on its way to the ground 3 New York State is home to the snowiest cities in the US Syracuse with an average of 115 inches a year and Rochester with 93 inches per year However almost every area of the country has seen snow fall at least once including Florida 4 The first person to photograph a single snowflake was Wilson A Bentley in 1885 his photographs are digitally archived online 5 Snow flakes are not always white When they absorb particles in the atmosphere like coal dust the color of the flakes reflects that composition In the case of coal dust the flakes would be gray Snow is in the forecast in Houston Don t miss your chance to see the greatest winter wonderland in town at Snow Flurry on Dec 4 from 10 a m to 4 p m Purchase your tickets online in advance And check out the video below KHOU TV s Gene Norman tells us all about Snow Science 0 0 0 This entry was posted

    Original URL path: http://blog.hmns.org/2010/11/oh-the-weather-outside-is-snow-flurry/ (2016-02-12)
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  • Create-a-saurus Coloring Contest Winners!! | BEYONDbones
    about Paleontology and dinosaurs Kids blew our volunteers away with their knowledge of the Triassic Trivia and the Plaster Casting demo table was non stop busy making plaster casts of dinosaur teeth and footprints We also had a lot of great entries for the Create a Saurus Coloring Contest some were mailed in and some were colored right here during the Dino Days event The decision was difficult with all of the talent and creativity but we selected a grand prize winner who will be receiving a Family Membership to the Houston Museum of Natural Science and the three honorable mention winners will be receiving a special pack of Museum passes for their entries If you see your drawing below please email akellogg hmns org for more information on how to claim your prize by December 15th Grand Prize Winner Luc age 7 Honorable Mention Aaron age 12 Honorable Mention Kaylena age 8 Honorable Mention Keller age 3 0 0 0 This entry was posted in Science by Allison Bookmark the permalink About Allison After volunteering at HMNS since 1993 Allison joined HMNS full time in 2003 Her current job responsibilities include curating the education collections and keeping the summer

    Original URL path: http://blog.hmns.org/2010/11/create-a-saurus-coloring-contest-winners/ (2016-02-12)
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  • Don’t Tell the Muggles – Harry Potter Opens Today in IMAX at HMNS! | BEYONDbones
    today in the Wortham IMAX Theatre at the Houston Museum of Natural Science As if we needed any other proof that the first part of the conclusion to the Harry Potter saga is truly an epic event our IMAX crew sent over some photos from the assembly of the film That s right the film does not arrive in one piece a surprise to me And Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 1 came in 44 separate reels which took our staff nine full hours to assemble If you look closely at the photo below you can see the titan Harry Potter reel on top and a much smaller regular 40 minute IMAX reel on the bottom What s that You re still skeptical that Harry Potter is kind of a big deal Ask the 500 people who showed up at the museum for our midnight and 3 am showings of the premiere Allison is working on a wrap up post from the event full of potions magical animals Muggles and some truly amazing costumes but in the meantime here s a photo from last night s festivities It s the whole Weasley family 0 0 0 This entry

    Original URL path: http://blog.hmns.org/2010/11/dont-tell-the-muggles-harry-potter-opens-today-in-imax-at-hmns/ (2016-02-12)
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  • WINNERS! Harry Potter Midnight Madness Ticket Giveaway | BEYONDbones
    hmns rocks because one day the Geovator will take me to the center of the earth whyilovehmns I am pretty sure that this is true I go check it out every so often just in case we ve actually created that well htownfurniture I love hmns because the T rex his friends were kind enough to host our wedding reception And T Rex knows how to party whyilovehmns To find out more about renting the Paleontology Hall for your wedding reception the Gems and Minerals hall for a corporate event or even the Planetarium for your friend s birthday party go here it will be an unforgettable event chookooloonks I love hmns because they re a class act and get social media and its power to create a community like no other whyilovehmns I suspect she s met Erin and the awesome online media team here at HMNS by the way if you haven t had a chance to check out the new website it s really great www hmns org SuzyQJenn whyilovehmns Because butterflies make me http flic kr p 8jpTHb http flic kr p 8jmEGi http flic kr p 3nBjs2 http flic kr p 8jmEcM Thank you for sharing these beautiful photos SuzyQ YOU TOO can add some of your Flickr photos to the HMNS Flickr stream Thanks to so many people coming out for the Flickr Meetups and contributing their photos online via the HMNS stream we can share the Museum with the world via the web That s just a few of the comments we got on the web by asking the question what do YOU love about HMNS Thank you to everyone who entered we were even a local trending topic on Twitter You can see everyone s entries here here and here We love

    Original URL path: http://blog.hmns.org/2010/11/winners-harry-potter-midnight-madness-ticket-giveaway/ (2016-02-12)
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  • Happy America Recycles Day! Bring your old cell phone to HMNS, See Wild Ocean 3D Free | BEYONDbones
    long enough This entire week from today through Sunday Nov 21 we are teaming up with Nokia to recycle mobile devices With every old cell phone or mobile device you turn in you ll receive a free IMAX ticket to see Wild Ocean 3D courtesy of Nokia That s right that old cell phone that s been collecting dust for months can be turned into the HMNS box office for a free Wild Ocean 3D IMAX ticket Any phone from any manufacturer will be accepted Five Reasons to Recycle Your Cell Phone 1 Cell phone batteries contain toxic chemicals that can leech into the environment if not disposed of properly 2 Recycling one cell phone saves enough energy to power a laptop for 44 hours 3 Reduce Clutter Up to 75 percent of obsolete phones are stockpiled in drawers including the battery and the charger 4 It s making you look like Zack Morris And not in an ironic way 5 Your Old Cell Phone Free Ticket to Wild Ocean 3D in IMAX at HMNS 0 0 0 This entry was posted in Education and tagged america recycles day Energy Giant Screen Theatre HMNS nokia recycling wild oceans 3d by

    Original URL path: http://blog.hmns.org/2010/11/happy-america-recycles-day-bring-your-old-cell-phone-to-hmns-see-wild-ocean-3d-free/ (2016-02-12)
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  • Archaeopteryx has arrived in Sugar Land! | BEYONDbones
    70 authentic fossils on display including the Geosaurs Guitar Fish several fossilized corals insects fish plants and a cast of the Thermopolis Archaeoptertyx Check out the HMNS exhibit in Focus On The Thermopolis Archaeopteryx Pete Larson from HMNS on Vimeo There have been lots of posts in the past year on the Archaeopteryx show here on the blog so take some time to refresh your memory on all there is to know And then come down the HMNS at Sugar Land to see these amazing and one of a kind pieces for yourself 0 0 0 This entry was posted in Anthropology Paleontology Science and tagged archaeopteryx HMNS HMNS at Sugar Land Icon of Evolution pete larson Thermopolis Archaeopteryx by Bryanna Bookmark the permalink About Bryanna Bryanna has been with the museum for a few years now in the Collections department and no that s not a part of the accounting department that hounds you for money helping take care of the museum s artifacts and installing special exhibitions She never expected to work in a museum until she found a Master s program in Museum Studies and changed career paths and only at HMNS does she get to see

    Original URL path: http://blog.hmns.org/2010/11/archaeopteryx-has-arrived-in-sugar-land/ (2016-02-12)
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