Trust but verify: Was an artifact in our new Hall of Ancient Egypt made from a meteorite?

Back in a June issue of the HMNScoop (our weekly e-newsletter that you should totally be subscribed to, ahem), we told you about an exciting discovery made amongst the artifacts in our new Hall of Ancient Egypt: we suspected that one of them was made from a meteorite!

So we put it to the test. A simple magnetic test, that is. To see if this figurine of a human head, on loan from Chiddingstone Castle in the UK, contained any meteoric iron.

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We turned to our in-house experts to verify or debunk the assertion: Dr. Dirk Van Tuerenhout, our Curator of Anthropology, and James Wooten, our Planetarium Astronomer (and the voice behind your monthly stargazing reports here on BEYONDbones).

The verdict?

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Sorry, folks.

Don’t believe everything that you read, because those scrawled words aren’t telling the truth. The object wasn’t magnetic, and it wasn’t made out of a meteorite, either. Bummer.

But now we know, right?

BEYONDbones 500!

Well, the museum blog has been online for just over a year now. In that time the hard working, science loving employees at the museum have brought you 500 posts on fascinating science facts, special events, and exhibits on display here at the museum. From the far reaches of the night sky to the eating habits of the praying mantis; from how to draw a dinosaur to how to create your own butter.

We have given you an inside look at each of our special traveling exhibits; from Lucy’s Legacy to the Birth of Christianity: A Jewish Story to Genghis Khan. Ever wonder what plants are best for attracting butterflies? Ory helped you pick some out. Can’t figure out if that rock you found is really a meteorite? James explained the difference. Having trouble identifying that spider or insect living under your couch? Erin and Laurie determined whether or not it was poisonous. Jaime let you know what bands were playing here over the summer and Kat Havens guided teachers through experiments for their classes in addition to the many other fascinating posts from the staff here at the museum.

I want to thank our curators who walked us through the exhibits, guest bloggers who expanded on the topic of their lectures, and the dozen of our other bloggers that have brought you 500 posts over the last year.

None of this would be possible though, without our loyal readers. And as we push on into our second year of BEYONDbones, we at HMNS would like to hear more from you. What do you want to read about? What topics are you most interested in? What is your favorite artifact on display at the museum? Please continue to comment on our blog and email suggestions to blogadmin@hmns.org

Mourning the Dearly Departed

August 24 is the last day to see our Geopalooza exhibit. This exhibit features a great many geological treasures: meterorites, trilobites, agates and of course geodes.

To commemorate the departure of this exhibit, and to see if our readers are as adventurous as I hope you are, I am posting these two related images. One is a small handfull of cut and cabochoned gemstones (left), and the other (below) is the GPS coordinate of where this cache can be found. That’s right – I have hidden a small amount of gemstones – and if you can find them, you can have them.

The gems are not buried. They are currently residing on public property. Finding them will not require dismantling fixtures or machinery. By my reckoning, they are a very short walk from the GPS coordinates listed. All that is needed to make these gems yours is a GPS unit.

I will even give you a hint and say that after you have found your gems, you will be close enough to the Museum that you can come compare your stones to the crystals in Geopalooza or the Mineral Hall. The number of paces needed to complete the “short walk” is indicated in the title of the blog, both in number and very close to heading (direction) you should walk. If you find the gems, leave us a comment below to let us know – and perhaps we can hide another set for someone else to find. 

Science Doesn’t Sleep (4.30.08)

Home Cinema Sunday. Popcorn Sunday.
Creative Commons License photo credit: kozumel

So here’s what went down since you logged off.

I think I’ll go with the Raisinettes next time. A new study shows a higher incidence of lung disease among popcorn-factory workers.  

An Australian geologist has found a rare meteorite impact crater - using Google Earth. What can you find?

Pro athletes already seem superhuman – what happens if they start being genetically engineered? SciGuy has an interesting take on whether genetics are the steroids of the future.

 Did you catch the Messenger this month? If not, the Sydney Observatory has a great photo post about the changing brightness of Mars.

Hurry up, Jr. – your bald eagle stew is getting cold! The best way to save an endangered species might be to get people to eat it.