On the Fourth Day of HMNS…Discover The Star of Bethlehem

Discover The Star of Bethlehem this holiday.

There’s always a lot happening at the Houston Museum of Natural Science – especially during the holiday season. We’ve put together 12 ideas for fabulous family fun for you, which we’re sharing here every day until Christmas Eve. You can also check them all out now at the spiffy new 12 Days of HMNS web site. For the fourth day of HMNS, go behind-the-scenes of the film The Star of Bethlehem, a holiday tradition in the Burke Baker Planetarium. (Of course, each day’s idea can be done on any day this holiday – and in some cases, all year.)

Many are familiar with the Biblical Star of Bethlehem – the bright star that the wise men followed to reach the birthplace of Jesus of Nazareth. But – what was the historical, astronomical event that initiated this story? What was the Star of Bethlehem? What did the wise men see?

These are questions that have puzzled biblical scholars and scientists alike. And every year, audiences can explore the latest archaeo-astronomy research into this fascinating topic. In the video below, go behind-the-scenes with Adam, one of our Planetarium astronomers, as he updates the film for this year.

Check out the first three days of HMNS:
On the first day of HMNS, discover The Birth of Christianity.
On the second day of HMNS, shop for Sci-tastic gifts.
On the third day of HMNS, meet Prancer the reindeer.

Live from the Field: Until Next Time…

 That’s all folks: digging’s done for this year.

For the past week and a half, the HMNS paleontology team – led by Dr. Robert Bakker – has been back in Seymour, TX, digging for Dimetrodon at a site they’ve now been working for several years. (You can read more of what’s been found already in our daily blog from the field in 2007). Today, they said goodbye to the site for several months, after leaving it covered and safe for the coming winter weather, and pulling out a ton (possibly literally) of new material to study and prepare until then.

David Temple – our associate curator of paleontology and a one of our BEYONDbones bloggers- provides this series’ farewell podcast with a wrapup of their discoveries – and a review of the local cuisine.


Never fear! If you miss the daily update, stop by the museum – members of the team and Museum volunteers often work to preserve these fossils in public areas, like the Paleontology Hall or the Dinosaur Mummy CSI exhibition. You can also check out earlier updates from this dig trip:

Day One: Live from the Fossil Field
Day Two: The Smoking Gun
Day Three: New Discoveries
Day Four: Secondontosaurus Found?
Day Five: Mad Max
Day Six: Fossil Prep
Day Seven: Trench Warfare
Day Eight and Nine: Two for One!

Live from the Field: Two for One!

A Dimetrodon vertebra,
found at the team’s dig site.

Our paleontology team – led by Dr. Robert Bakker – is back in Seymour, TX, digging for Dimetrodon at a site they’ve now been working for several years. (You can read more of what’s been found already in our daily blog from the field in 2007). Today, they’re wrapping things up to come back to Houston – and they’ve sent us two updates.

In the first, David Temple – our associate curator of paleontology and a one of our BEYONDbones bloggers, talks about the darker side of Texas paleontology - cactus spines – and how you protect a dig site for the winter weather.


In the second, we’re pleased to bring you an update from Tim Quarles. Tim was a member of the team that found and excavated Leonardo, the famous mummified dinosaur that is now on display here in Houston. He was also there for our recent trip to Malta, where Leonardo was found. So, the team was thrilled that he happened to be in Texas for a few days, and was able to stop by our dig site.  In his update, Tim gives us his impressions from digging in the Permian for the first time.


You can also check out earlier updates from this dig trip:

Day One: Live from the Fossil Field
Day Two: The Smoking Gun
Day Three: New Discoveries
Day Four: Secondontosaurus Found?
Day Five: Mad Max
Day Six: Fossil Prep
Day Seven: Trench Warfare

Live From the Field: Trench Warfare

Dr. Bakker leads a group of volunteers in carefully
excavating a plaster jacket filled with fossils and
matrix from the Seymour dig site the team has
been reporting from this week. They’re bringing
back several new jackets to work on over the
next few months.

Our paleontology team – led by Dr. Robert Bakker – is back in Seymour, TX this week, digging for Dimetrodon at a site they’ve now been working for several years. (You can read more of what’s been found already in our daily blog from the field in 2007).

Today’s update comes David Temple – our associate curator of paleontology and a one of our BEYONDbones bloggers. They’re wrapping up the dig, and he fills us in on the progress from yesterday, as well as what’s in store for the team today.

They’ll finish jacketing and removing as many fossils as they can from the site, and prepare what’s left to be sheltered until they return. They face two challenges: limited time and a paleontologist’s worst nightmare: rain.

Click the podcast below to listen in:


You can also check out earlier updates from this dig trip:

Day One: Live from the Fossil Field
Day Two: The Smoking Gun
Day Three: New Discoveries
Day Four: Secondontosaurus Found?
Day Five: Mad Max
Day Six: Fossil Prep