Seeing Stars with James Wooten: Two eclipses for the price of one!

Star Chart - October 2014

This star map shows the Houston sky at 10 pm CDT on September 1, 9 pm CDT on September 15, and dusk on September 30. To use the map, put the direction you are facing at the bottom. The Summer Triangle is high in the west. This consists of the brightest stars in Cygnus, Lyra, and Aquila. The ‘teapot’ of Sagittarius sets in the southwest, with Mars to its right. Pegasus, the Flying Horse, is high in the east. To the south and east, we see a vast dim area of stars known as the Celestial Sea, where only Fomalhaut stands out.

This month, Mars remains in the southwest at dusk this month as it pulls away from Antares in Scorpius. Mars continues to fade a little each night as Earth continues to leave it farther behind

Saturn drops into the Sun’s glare by Halloween. See how long you can keep track of it as it appears lower and lower to the southwest horizon each night this month.

Jupiter is now higher in the east at dawn; it is the brightest thing there. 

Venus is passing behind the Sun and thus out of sight this month. Superior conjunction (Venus in line with the Sun, on the far side of the Sun) is on October 25.

In October the Big Dipper is to the lower left of the North Star at dusk, and soon sets. As a result, it may be hard to see if you have trees or buildings north of you. As the Big Dipper sets, though, Cassiopeia rises. This is a pattern of five stars in a distinct W shape which lies directly across the North Star from the Big Dipper. Look for Cassiopeia high in the north on fall and winter evenings.  

Autumn represents sort of an ‘intermission’ in the sky, with bright summer stars setting at dusk, while bright winter stars such as Orion have not yet risen.  The ‘teapot’ of Sagittarius sets in the southwest early in the evening. The Summer Triangle is high in the west. Meanwhile, the Great Square of Pegasus is in the east, indicating that autumn has begun. The stars rising in the east are much dimmer than those overhead and in the southwest because when you face east at dusk in October, you face out of the Milky Way plane. The center of our Galaxy lies between Scorpius and Sagittarius, while the Summer Triangle is also in the galactic plane. Pegasus, on the other hand, is outside the plane of our galaxy and is a good place to look for other galaxies. Nearby constellations Andromeda and Triangulum (a small triangle) contain the spiral galaxies nearest to our own. 

Total Lunar Eclipse October 8 + Partial Solar Eclipse October 23!
The Full Moon of October 8 enters Earth’s shadow completely, causing a total lunar eclipse!  Partial eclipse begins at 4:15 am, with totality from 5:34 to 6:25 am. The Moon then begins to leave the shadow, but is still partially eclipsed as it sets at 7:26 in Houston. This is the second of four total eclipses we can see in 2014-15; the next one occurs April 4, 2015.

The New Moon of October 23 partially blocks the Sun, causing a partial solar eclipse!  For us, the eclipse begins at 5:00 and is still in progress at sunset (6:43 pm). For both eclipses you’ll need a site with a clear view to the west to watch the setting Moon or Sun in eclipse. 

Moon Phases in October 2014:
First Quarter: October 1, 2:32 pm; October 30, 9:48 pm
Full: October 8, 5:50 am
Last Quarter: October 15, 2:12 pm
New: October 23, 4:55 pm 

Celebrate The George October 10-12!
The George Observatory celebrates its 25th anniversary the weekend of October 10-12!  That weekend, the observatory is open to the public Friday and Sunday night in addition to our customary Saturday night hours

Click here for the Burke Baker Planetarium Schedule.

On most clear Saturday nights at the George Observatory, you can hear me do live star tours on the observation deck with a green laser pointer.  If you’re there, listen for my announcement. 

Last Chance for Glam: Bulgari: 130 Years of Masterpieces closes in less than a week

HMNS has been proud to partner with Bulgari to present Bulgari: 130 Years of Masterpieces, since May of this year, but alas, all good things must come to an end and the exhibit will be closing its doors after Sunday, October 5.

Founded in Rome in 1884, Greek silversmith Sotirio Bulgari set the stage for Bulgari to become a permanent emblem of Italian excellence. With passionate skill and vision, ceaseless creativity, innovation, and a bold, pioneering spirit, the name Bulgari has been elevated to legendary status.

Equal parts art and science, historic and modern; Bulgari pays homage to the great masters of the past, while continuously pushing the envelope of jewelry design and technology. This exhibit brings you the heart of Bulgari — a jewel in the crown of modern glamour.

Make sure you come in this week, as it’s likely the only way you’ll be able to take a gander at these beautiful pieces again will be through your television/iPhone/etc. (But probably not UP CLOSE IN REAL LIFE… like you can until 10/5).

Wondering what you’d miss out on if you don’t make it in? 

LAST CHANCE FOR GIANT EMERALDS 

Photo by Barry Tse

Photo by Barry Tse

LAST CHANCE FOR CRAZY AWESOME SAUTOIRS 

LAST CHANCE FOR ELIZABETH TAYLOR’S JEWELRY

Immagini 195

LAST CHANCE FOR THE MOST DIAMONDS YOU’VE EVER SEEN IN ONE PLACE (Unless you’ve been in a diamond mine… still, even then, probs the most you’ve seen in one place)

N750

This is all just a tiny fraction of what we’ve got in store for you in Bulgari: 130 Years of Masterpieces, don’t miss out!

12 Signs You Should Boogy Boogy Shooby Sho Wap Over to HMNS for our Grease Sing-a-Long Friday

We’re having a Grease sing-a-long in the Wortham Giant Screen Theatre Friday September 26 at 7:00 p.m! Come down to HMNS and see all your friends from Rydell High once more on the giant screen!

Grease

Here are twelve signs you need to come to the Grease sing-a-long:

1. YOU’VE GOT CHILLS

2. SAID CHILLS ARE MULTIPLYIN’

3. YOU’RE LOSING CONTROL

4. YOU FIND THIS EXPERIENCE TO BE ELECTRIFYING

5. YOU LIKE RHYMING WITH NAMES

6. YOU USE THE WORD STUD OFTEN IN CASUAL CONVERSATION

7. YOU REALLY LIKE HAMBURGERS

8. YOU’VE GIVEN YOURSELF A PERM

9. YOU’VE NAMED YOUR CAR AFTER A MECHANICAL LUBRICANT/NATURAL PHENOMENON

10. YOU’RE AUSTRALIAN

11. YOU DON’T LEARN HOW TO PRONOUNCE PEOPLE’S NAMES BEFORE SAYING THEM ON LIVE T.V. 

12. THE PHRASE “RAMMA LAMMA LAMMA KA DINGITY DING DA DONG” MAKES SENSE TO YOU

 

 

Celebrate the thrill of discovery at International Archaeology Day at HMNS on Saturday, October 18

Celebrate International Archaeology Day with HMNS October 18 from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.! Professional and avocational archaeologists from all over the greater Houston area will mark the day at HMNS by highlighting exciting discoveries in local archaeology.

The event will include artifact identification, presentations and programs about archaeological excavations in the Houston area (including Dimond Knoll, discovered along the Grand Parkway), and displays of artifacts from other local sites, including a large collection of prehistoric stone tools recovered along Buffalo Bayou and artifacts recovered from recent archaeological surveys at the San Jacinto Battlefield.  

Projectile points from Dimond Knoll site.

“We’ve been talking about putting on this event for several years and are excited that we are finally able to offer it to the public,” said Dr. August Costa of Rice University and one of the organizers of the event. “One of the highlights of the event will be our artifact identification table in the Grand Hall of the Museum, where experts will be on hand to identify items brought in by members of the public. We encourage participants to bring in their collections and learn more about what they’ve recovered.”

Dr. Gregg Dimmick and John Rich excavating at Bernardo Plantation in Hempstead.

The event will also feature a family-friendly archaeology fair with interactive hands-on displays using real artifacts recovered from archeological sites, including stone tools, prehistoric pottery, and animal bone and shell, flint knapping demonstrations, and arts and crafts for kids focusing on the prehistoric era. Attendees will receive a goody bag with handouts from participating organizations, including bookmarks, rulers, brochures and other surprises.

HAS President Linda Gorski and Lenore Psencik screen for Dimond Knoll artifacts.

HMNS docents will man the Museum touch carts from several exhibits, including the Hall of Ancient Egypt, McGovern Hall of the Americas and Human Evolution section of the Moran Hall of Paleontology.

Initiated by the American Institute of Archeology in 2011, International Archeology Day celebrates thrill of discovery. This International Archeology Day event is sponsored by HMNS, the Houston Archeological Society, Rice University Archaeology, the Texas Department of Transportation and several other local groups. Exhibits in the Grand Hall of the Museum are free of charge. Additional exhibits in Glassell Hall are free with Museum admission. 

For more information on participating in this event, contact Linda Gorski, president of the Houston Archeological Society at president@txhas.org.

Instructor Dr. Gus Costa teaches flint knapping at HMNS on October 11 and December 1. (Image Credit: Gus Costa, The Flintstone Factory)


Instructor Dr. Gus Costa teaches flint knapping at HMNS on October 11 and December 1. (Image Credit: Gus Costa, The Flintstone Factory)

As October is Texas Archaeology Month, HMNS is also hosting several archaeology lectures.   For more hands-on archaeology fun, Dr. Gus Gosta join hosting an adult flint knapping class on Saturday, October 11. For more information and to register, click here.

HMNS is also hosting these archaeology lectures in October in celebration of Texas Archaeology Month:

Houston’s Prehistoric Energy Corridor
Wednesday, October 1, 6:30 p.m.
During the planning stages for the Grand Parkway, a prehistoric site dating back 10,000 years was uncovered. Dr. Jason Barrett, TxDOT archaeologist, directed the Dimond Knoll investigation that was completed this year and has shed new light on the prehistoric heritage of Houston prior to the arrival of Europeans. Click here for tickets.
Sponsored by the Houston Archeology Society.

The World Converges in Constantinople: Contact in a Byzantine Port
Thursday, October 16, 2014, 6:30 p.m.|
Excavations of a 4th century port reveal a vibrant hub of commercial activity that brought the world to the Byzantine Empire. Not only did ships bring spectacular wealth, they also brought ideas. Marine archaeologist Dr. Ufuk Kocabas of Istanbul University will explain what has been uncovered at the ancient Harbor of Theodosius. Click here for tickets. 
Cosponsored by Archaeological Institute of America, Houston Society.

Camp Logan, a WWI Emergency Training Center in Houston
Louis Aulbach and Linda Gorski, Archaeologists
Tuesday, November 4, 2014, 6:30 p.m.
Camp Logan, a military training base built in 1917, housed 44,000 soldiers in what is now Houston’s Memorial Park. To commemorate the 100th anniversary of the beginning of WWI, Louis Aulbach and Linda Gorski will present the archaeological work at the site and pay tribute to the soldiers who trained at Camp Logan. Click here for tickets.
Sponsored by the Houston Archeology Society.

Click here for a list of all of our upcoming lectures.

Related blogs:
The HMNS School of Rock: Cracking Caveman Crafts in the Classroom

Do you dig historic Houston? TxDOT and Join the Houston Archeology Society August 17! Click here for more information.