Mark Your Calendars for these events happening at HMNS 7/20-7/26

Bust out your planners, calendars, and PDAs (if you are throwback like that), it’s time to mark your calendars for the HMNS events of this week! 

speaking in bones

Lecture – Speaking In Bones By Kathy Reichs
Tuesday, July 21
6:30 p.m.
As a practicing forensic anthropologist, Dr. Kathy Reichs brings her own work experience to her mesmerizing forensic thrillers. In addition to consulting for medical examiners, training FBI agents and teaching at universities, she aids in the identification of victims at mass graves. Reichs will discuss the highlights of her multiple career–as a forensic anthropologist, television producer, and author. Your ticket includes a hardback copy of Speaking in Bones, which will be released July 21. Book signing after the program.

Museum Store Trunk Show – Mariquita Masterson
July 24  
10:00 a.m. – 4:00 p.m.
Mariquita’s blown glass jewels have been a staple of fashionable Houstonians for 30 years. We are proud to be one of a very limited group of stores chosen to showcase her luminous designs. In-store collection coming soon.

Members’ Night at the George Observatory
Friday, July 24
8:00 p.m.
Enjoy an evening under the stars at the George Observatory inside Brazos Bend State Park. Expert astronomers are available to let Members look at a variety of celestial objects through the Observatory telescopes, as well as privately owned telescopes. Viewing is always weather dependent. State Park entrance fees apply.

 

Seeing Stars with James Wooten: Mars aligns with Earth and sun, solstice on its way

seeing stars

Venus is in the west at dusk. At dusk, look high over the point of sunset for the brightest thing there; it outshines everything but the Sun and the Moon. 

Jupiter is also in the west as soon as night falls. Jupiter outshines all stars we ever see at night, so it will be obvious when you look up at dusk. During June, watch Venus gradually close the gap on Jupiter, until they are just over one-third of one degree apart on the evening of June 30.

Saturn is now in the southeastern sky at dusk. Although it is not as brilliant as Venus or Jupiter, it outshines the stars around it, so it’s also easy to see. 

Mars is lost in the glare of the Sun. Conjunction (Mars in line with Earth and Sun, behind the Sun) is June 14.

The Big Dipper is above the North Star, with its handle pointing up. From that handle, you can ‘arc to Arcturus’ and then ‘speed on to Spica’; those stars are in the south at dusk. Leo, the Lion, is high in the west at dusk. Venus and Jupiter come together right in front of Leo’s face, marked by stars in the shape of a sickle, or a backwards question mark.

Antares, brightest star of Scorpius, the Scorpion, is in the southeast, with the ‘teapot’ of Sagittarius rising behind it. Saturn is right above the scorpion’s head. The Summer Triangle has fully risen in the northeast. The stars of summer are here.

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Moon Phases in June 2015:

Full: June 2, 11:19 a.m.

Last Quarter: June 9, 10:42 a.m.

New: June 16, 9:05 a.m.

First Quarter: June 24, 6:03 a.m.

At 11:38 a.m. on Sunday, June 21, the sun is directly overhead at the Tropic of Cancer, the farthest point north where it can be overhead. This puts the Sun as high as possible in our skies, and marks the summer solstice. Of all the days of the year, we’ll have the most daylight and the least night on June 21. In the southern hemisphere, the sun is as low as possible in the sky as they experience the least daylight and the longest night of the year. It’s the winter solstice down there.

Due to the equation of time, the latest sunset occurs for us on June 30, not June 21. Thus, if we sleep through sunrise and watch sunset, as most of us do, days seem to lengthen all the way to the end of the month.

For more information about shows at the Burke Baker Planetarium, visit the 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. I generally do one such tour on short June evenings.

Clear Skies!

Mark Your Calendars for these events happening at HMNS 6/1-6/7

Bust out your planners, calendars, and PDAs (if you are throwback like that), it’s time to mark your calendars for the HMNS events of this week!  

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Xplorations Summer Science Adventures Begin Monday, June 1st 
Xplorations Summer Science Adventures are week-long, hands-on science summer camps featuring science activities for children ages 6 – 12. Camps are held Monday – Friday from 10 am – 3 pm. For an additional weekly fee, care is available before camp begins each day, from 8 – 10 am, and after camp ends, from 3 – 5:30 pm.

Lecture – Unmasked: Mysteries Of Ancient Shu Kingdom And Its Bronze Art By Liu Yang
Tuesday, June 2
6:30 p.m.
Human and semi-human bronze masks showing fantastic features with large eyes with projecting pupils, strongly curled nostrils and tight-lipped mouths are the most astonishing of the finds of a cache of ancient artifacts in Sanxingdui, China. Several are covered in gold. Did these bronze masked figures represent deities, ancestors, priests or shamans? What are the ritual practice and symbolism hidden behind the false faces? The little that is known about the people who resided in the ancient Shu kingdom is gleaned from the archaeological pits in Sanxingdui, only excavated in 1986. Leading authority on Sanxingdui culture, Dr. Liu Yang of the Minneapolis Institute of Arts will provide a fascinating look into the mysterious Sanxingdui culture and the masks of mystery

End Of School Year Celebration And Carnival!
HMNS at Sugar Land 
Thursday, June 4
12:00 p.m.
Looking for a fun way to celebrate the last day of school? We have the solution! Gather all your friends and join us for an exclusive special event featuring activities, crafts, bounce games, pizza and more. Come celebrate the end of school and the opening of our summer exhibit, Body Carnival, with an afternoon of fun. It’s sure to be a unique way to end the school year and kick off the summer break! Tickets are $5 each.

Rocket Day At The George Expedition Center!
George Observatory
Saturday, June 6
10:00 a.m.
Bring your junior Rocket enthusiasts out for a day of rocket launches and a Expedition to the Moon! Boys and girls learn about rockets and how they work, build a water rocket and then launch it. After the launches, we blast into space aboard the S.S. Observer for a simulated spaceflight. Kids become astronauts and use teamwork and problem-solving to accomplish their Expedition. Fun for all! The Expedition Center will be open for children and adults to sign up to fly on a simulated space flight to the Moon. Usually only open to groups with reservations, for this special event, individuals can sign up to participate. The Expedition is most appropriate for ages 7 and up. Children ages 7-9 need an adult present. George Observatory telescope tickets will go on sale at 5 pm for $5 for regular public viewing after the Expeditions. Don’t miss this special opportunity to participate in real astronaut training!

Seeing Stars with James Wooten: Restored Gueymard offers views of brilliant Jupiter this May

Star Map May 2015Mercury is low in the west-northwest, below and slightly to the right. It remains visible for the first half of May before returning towards the Sun.

Venus is in the west at dusk. Look high over the point of sunset for the brightest thing there. 

Jupiter is now high in the west as soon as night falls. Jupiter outshines all stars we ever see at night, so it will be obvious when you look up at dusk.   

Saturn enters the evening sky this month. It rises May 1 by 9:40 p.m. By May 22, it is up literally all night; it rises at sundown and sets at sunrise. This is because Earth is aligned between the Sun and Saturn on that date. We therefore say that Saturn is at opposition. 

Mars is lost in the glare of the Sun.

A swath of brilliant winter stars sets in the west at dusk. Orion, the Hunter, is still visible in the west as May begins. His two dogs, represented by Sirius and Procyon, are to his left.  Gemini, the Twins, are above Orion. The Big Dipper is above the North Star, with its handle pointing to the right. From that handle, you can ‘arc to Arcturus’ and then ‘speed on to Spica’; those stars are high in the east and in the south, respectively, at dusk. Leo, the Lion, passes almost overhead at dusk.

As Orion and Taurus set, look for Antares, brightest star of Scorpius, the Scorpion, to rise in the southeast. Saturn will be right on the Scorpion’s head, above Antares. At the same time, Vega, brightest star of the Summer Triangle, appears low in the northeast. These stars remind us that summer is on the way.Phases10-9x-3w

Moon Phases in May 2015

Full: May 3, 10:42 pm

Last Quarter: May 11, 5:36 am

New: May 18, 11:13 pm

First Quarter: May 25, 12:19 pm

Click here for the Burke Baker Planetarium schedule.

In case you missed the news, the main telescope at George Observatory is once again fully operational. Thanks in large part to public support, we were able to get our mirror cleaned and then reinstalled. The newly refurbished mirror was opened to the public last weekend. Come join us on clear Saturday nights at the George!

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. I generally do one such tour on short May evenings.

Clear skies!