New Year, Clear Skies | January Sky Happenings 2024

Editor’s Note: We are looking up as HMNS Astronomer James Wooten jumps into the new year with January sky happenings, including perihelion. Saturn is well placed for observing in early evening.  Face south-southwest at dusk to observe it. Jupiter is prominent high in the sky, almost overhead at nightfall.  No star at night is as […]

Earth’s Aphelion | July 2023 Sky Happenings

Editor’s Note: We are looking up as HMNS Astronomer James Wooten explains the sky happenings for the month of July, Earth’s aphelion and the sweltering Texas heat. Venus remains in the evening sky for one more month.  It is high in the west at dusk as July begins.  However you can watch as Venus appears slightly […]

New Moon Marks End of Ramadan | April 2023 Sky Happenings

Editor’s Note: We are looking up as HMNS Astronomer James Wooten explains the sky happenings for the month of April and a New Moon that helps mark the ending of the celebration of Ramadan. Venus is even higher in the evening sky this month.  It is slightly higher in the west at dusk each evening.  […]

Indigenous Cowboys: The Living History of Native Americans in Rodeo

Editor’s Note: Anna Dean, Collections Technician, highlights the Indigenous influences found in a cultural phenomenon known as the rodeo. It’s Rodeo season in Houston, which means that dozens of athletes from across the United States and Canada will be competing in events like steer wrestling, barrel racing, and bull riding. Among these contestants are three […]

What to do with leftover holiday plants

Editor’s Note: Not quite sure what to do with those holiday plants? Jeff Cummins of the Cockrell Butterfly Center lends a few suggestions. The winter holiday season has ended, the decorations are packed up for next year, the house is more or less back to normal, and we’ve [mostly] recovered from the festivities… but what […]

Perihelion | January 2023 Sky Happenings

Editor’s Note: It is a new year and we continue looking up as HMNS Astronomer James Wooten explains the sky happenings for the month of January, including the science behind perihelion. Jupiter is still in the evening sky; look for it in the south southwest at nightfall.  Jupiter is brighter than any star we ever […]

Where do baby bugs come from?

Not everyone thinks bugs are cute… but what about their babies?! Just like their vertebrate counterparts, baby bugs will often elicit an “awwwwwww!” Many of the residents of the Cockrell Butterfly Center’s insect zoo were bred and raised in-house (especially Orthoptera and Phasmida). Eggs are collected and incubated until tiny little babies hatch out. Their […]

Passionvines | A Passion for Survival

Most reading this are familiar with the life cycle of a butterfly. An egg is laid on its host plant, the egg hatches into a caterpillar, the caterpillar eats the plant, the caterpillar forms a chrysalis, and then an adult butterfly emerges to continue the cycle. It’s easy to think of the plants in this […]

Why that Rock in Your Backyard is (Almost) Never a Dinosaur Egg

Man sits in dirty taking photo of large fossilized bone peeking out of the earth

At least once a week, David Temple receives a breathless message about an oddly-shaped rock or stony object some individual came across in their backyard or while on a nature hike. Almost everyone thinks they have found a priceless paleontological artifact that will change their lives forever. Sorry, but it’s not a dinosaur egg. As […]

Buck Off, Buck Moth | Houston Area Stingers

It’s springtime, and we all know what that means! Bright and cheerful flora; adorable, baby animals; a newfound will to embrace the mentality that life is a breath of fresh air/a box of chocolates/any other idiom that instills hope and wonder… But also… stinging caterpillars. The gift that keeps on giving… rashes, burning sensations, nausea, […]


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