Bumpy Road Ahead For NASA’s Osiris-REX 20 Mar 2019, 9:19 pm
Asteroid Bennu is turning out to be a hazardous place for the NASA spacecraft to sample: It has uneven, rugged terrain and occasionally even hurls rocks into space.
Amazing Images Capture Giant Fireball Exploding Over the Bering Sea 20 Mar 2019, 4:13 pm
A powerful fireball exploded over the wilds of eastern Russia last December. Satellites captured the whole thing.
The post Amazing Images Capture Giant Fireball Exploding Over the Bering Sea appeared first on Sky & Telescope.
It’s Spring! Time to Visit the Bright Galaxies of Leo I 20 Mar 2019, 11:55 am
Springtime is galaxy time. Only 30 million light years away, the Leo I Group and nearby Leo Triplet entice the eye with an assortment of bright spiral and elliptical galaxies. Welcome to spring! The new season begins (or began depending on when you read this) at 5:58 p.m. EDT on March 20th. That's also the night of the full moon, a perfect time NOT observe today's featured galaxies. But the […]
The post It’s Spring! Time to Visit the Bright Galaxies of Leo I appeared first on Sky & Telescope.
New Results Probe the Origin of “Ultima Thule” 19 Mar 2019, 9:52 am
As observations trickle in from NASA's New Horizons spacecraft, mission scientists have new insights on how their two-lobed target formed in the Kuiper Belt.
Jyotirvidya Parisanstha 18 Mar 2019, 10:10 am
NAME Jyotirvidya Parisanstha ADDRESS Tilak Smarak Mandir, Tilak Road Sadashiv Peth, Maharashtra Pune, India 411030 CONTACT Suhas Gurjar PHONE 09850076715 EMAIL firstname.lastname@example.org URL http://www.jvp.org.in NUMBER OF MEMBERS 500+ CLUB DESCRIPTION India's Oldest Astronomy Club Established in 1944 Active in various fields of astronomy: Monthly Overnight Sky shows Basic Astronomy Course Book Library Telescope Liabrary Exhibitions Lectures Serious sky observations like Variable Stars, Asteroid Occultations, Meteor observations Educational tours to […]
MUVE Begins Habitat Resilience Efforts at East Greynolds Park 22 Jan 2019, 4:03 pm
Our Museum Volunteers for the Environment (MUVE) team has officially begun work on the East Greynolds Park restoration site, where we’ll aim to balance the park’s natural environment. It’s our goal to increase our native plant species while reducing the occurrence of destructive invasive species, creating a more sustainable ecosystem and strengthening the park’s defense against sea level rise. And while we may be just getting started, we’re excited to report that our volunteer citizen scientists are well on their way to restoring East Greynolds Park into a thriving natural habitat! Here’s how we’ll get it done.
Putting the Man-Groove Back into Maule Lake
Maule Lake, a former rock mining pit that connects Dade County’s last wild and naturally flowing Oleta River to Biscayne Bay, is getting a much-needed face-lift with this restoration. At the turn of the century, Maule Lake became a metaphorical gold mine for the real estate giants shaping South Florida’s murky landscape. In need of fill to build the railways, roads and buildings that line our shorelines today, developers dredged the lake to form a rock quarry, decimating very dense mangrove forests.
Though today we know that mangrove wetlands are extremely important to our natural ecosystems, that wasn’t necessarily the case when Maule Lake was formed. Mangroves’ benefits are wide-ranging: They trap harmful greenhouse gases, maintain freshwater’s cleanliness, refuge important commercial fish in their juvenile stages, and protect coastlines against rising sea levels and storm surges. Here in Miami, we have three native species of mangrove: red (Rhizophora mangle), white (Laguncularia racemosa) and black (Avicennia germinans) and a closely associated species, buttonwood (Conocarpus erectus), all of which are found at East Greynolds Park.
Unfortunately, hydrological changes have led to the unchecked, rampant growth of salt tolerant invasive plant species, such as Brazilian pepper (Schinus terebinthifolia) and mahoe (Thespesia populnea). These invasive species can, in some cases, cause severe stress to our native mangroves, because they now have to compete with these new intruders for limited resources. Because these species rarely have any natural predators, they’re often free to take over whichever environment they wind up calling home. Rather than put up a fight, our native mangroves tend to alter their own habits, which ultimately causes the entire ecosystem harm. Sadly, invasive species are often propagated by human activity – the releasing of pets into the wild, the movement of boats around the world, and the cultivation and planting of non-native plants can all cause invasive species to grow and spread.
Restoring Peace Among The Natives and The Newbies
At our restoration site, invasive plants are currently outcompeting our essential natural mangroves, and the MUVE team has been tasked with restoring harmony among these warring species. Using quadrats, the MUVE team and their partners from Miami-Dade County and The Nature Conservancy recorded which plants are currently found at the site and how they affect the larger ecosystem. After this initial recording, our volunteers got to work removing invasive trees and planting native mangroves and other saltwater wetland plants.
New measurements will be taken every three months until restoration is completed, and this type of robust scientific study is exactly the stuff that scientists’ dreams are made of. Using this recorded data, our MUVE team will easily be able to determine important ecological changes mediated by volunteer’s efforts.
While this battle has only just begun, this practice will eventually restore the original hydrology of the site and encourage the healthy development of vital native habitats for more mangroves to grow. Soon, East Greynolds Park will be more resilient against sea level rise and better prepared to withstand anything nature throws its way.
MUVE is generously sponsored by Wells Fargo, FedEx and the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation.
This blog post is sponsored by US Storage Centers.
The post MUVE Begins Habitat Resilience Efforts at East Greynolds Park appeared first on Frost Science.
Top 5 Things You Didn’t Know About Sharks 25 Jul 2018, 7:07 pm
Gazing up through the 31-foot oculus lens into the Gulf Stream Aquarium gives you an unmatched view of one of the world’s most powerful ocean currents on the planet, home to one of the ocean’s apex predators: sharks.
In honor of the Discovery Channel’s Shark Week celebrating 30 years on air, we’re counting down our top five favorite shark facts. Our very own Andy Dehart, Vice President of Animal Husbandry and Marine Conversation, is a shark expert and has been featured in numerous Shark Week productions on the Discovery Channel as a Shark Advisor.
Count ‘em Out
There are over 400 species of sharks in the world. Sounds like a lot? Well, there’s nine different species of hammerheads alone! At Frost Science, our Gulf Stream Aquarium is home to scalloped hammerhead sharks.
Biggies and Smalls
Sharks have quite the range, but more than half of all shark species will never be larger than three feet long. The largest shark? That’s the whale shark, they can reach lengths of up to 40 feet! On the other end of the scale, dwarf lantern sharks only get as big as eight inches.
The Odds are in Your Favor
Did Jaws scare you? This should ease your fears… Shark bites are actually rare, there’s less than 100 shark bites reported globally each year. Of those bites, only about five are fatal.
There’s a Catch
Sharks should fear us far more than we should fear them. Annually, humans are responsible for the deaths of over 73 million sharks across the globe. That’s about 200,000 sharks per day, or 8,333 per hour. The main culprits? Targeted fishing of sharks and bycatch, where sharks get trapped while other seafood is being fished.
Skin of the Teeth
Shark skin is actually covered in dermal denticles. Instead of resembling fish scales, sharks have what more closely resembles modified teeth. The silky sharks in our Gulf Stream Aquarium stand out for more than just their beauty—they got their name because their skin is significantly smoother than other shark species.
Despite their power, sharks are no match for humans. Sharks are slow to mature and have fewer offspring than other commercial fish like tuna, snapper or grouper. Visit Frost Science to learn more about sharks, and the work we’re doing to ensure they are protected.
1,000,000 Visitors…and Counting! 20 Jun 2018, 12:51 pm
Today, Wednesday, June 20, 2018, the Phillip and Patricia Frost Museum of Science in Downtown Miami’s Museum Park welcomed its one millionth visitor since opening on May 8, 2017. Over the past year, Frost Science has continuously transformed the visitor experience including new exhibitions, special events and programming, along with new educational offerings such as enhanced field trips, camps, overnights and more.
“With the hard work of our team and the support of our community, we are proud to meet this milestone and welcome our one millionth visitor within 13 months of our opening,” said Frost Science President and CEO Frank Steslow. “Frost Science has been welcomed with open arms by residents and guests alike and we are certainly proud of the accomplishments we have made. Together, we have laid the foundation for science-learning and discovery in Miami-Dade County. We will continue to offer new and novel ways for our community to explore the power of science.”
“When we opened the Phillip and Patricia Frost Museum of Science, it was the fruition of a vision to provide our Miami-Dade County residents and visitors access to a world-class, state-of-the-art science museum,” says Miami-Dade County Mayor Carlos Gimenez. “A year later, as the museum welcomes its millionth visitor, that vision is fulfilled and we are excited to see that our community has been taking advantage of this great place that educates children and families on science and technology in fun, inspiring and innovative ways! I am proud of the technological and educational contributions Frost Science makes to our community and wish them much continued success.”
To mark the occasion, the one-millionth visitor, Gisel De Renzo, along with her family, was surprised with a 7-night Caribbean cruise courtesy of Royal Caribbean International. Gisel De Renzo also won a Frost Science gift bag with branded items, a $100 gift card to Frost Science and “1 million minutes of science” (a two-year Family PLUS level membership). Gisel De Renzo then went on to enjoy a special museum experience including an animal encounter. Within the hour of the one millionth visitor, all museum guests enjoyed complimentary snacks by local donut shop, Happy Place Donuts, and a special Frost Science giveaway.
“Culture and education serve as necessary ingredients for the City of Miami to evolve into a truly global city. Thanks to institutions like Frost Science, Miami offers both,” said City of Miami Mayor Francis Suarez. “This vibrant museum attracts visitors from all over the world and engages them through fascinating exhibitions, adding yet another layer to Miami’s array of unique activities. By welcoming their one-millionth visitor, Frost Science validates its value as a key player in helping us expand our global reach and enhance our status as a thriving national and international destination.”
Frost Science has welcomed several groundbreaking special exhibitions to its campus since opening, including The Power of Poison: From the Depths of the Sea to Your Own Backyard, SPACE: An Out-of-Gravity Experience, BRAIN: The Inside Story, Monster Fish: In Search of the Last River Giants, SEEING: What Are You Looking At? and The Mechanicals. The museum has continued to grow with supporting grants and generous donations from foundations and corporate partners. Frost Science also had a record-breaking day during the total solar eclipse in August, welcoming over 8,500 guests to experience this once-in-a-lifetime event. Throughout the year, Frost Science has hosted distinguished guests and notable speakers including Cara Santa Maria, Nick Uhas, Dr. Wallace J. Nichols and more.
“With the opening of the Phillip and Patricia Frost Museum of Science, alongside the Arsht Center and Pérez Art Museum Miami, Miami’s cultural hub is nearly complete,” said Alberto Ibargüen, president of The John S. and James L. Knight Foundation, a major funder of all three institutions. “Frost Science is a major part of a cultural attraction that is drawing the world, and a multimedia learning space that lets thousands of school children a year engage hands-on with science.”
“The opening of the Phillip and Patricia Frost Museum of Science has further elevated the appeal of Miami and its attractions, which are among the most unique and exotic in the world,” says William D. Talbert, III, CDME, President & CEO of the Greater Miami Convention & Visitors Bureau. “From its magnificent design and stunning waterfront location on Biscayne Bay to its exceptional exhibits and programming, visitors from around the globe are eager to experience Frost Science’s extraordinary offerings.”
Using the Power of Nature to Fight the Effects of Sea Level Rise 18 Jun 2018, 1:52 pm
South Florida is blessed with water. With an ocean to its east and south and the largest freshwater wetland in North America located to the west, it’s a veritable aquatic paradise. Come rainy season, water comes from the skies as well, with our frequent rains providing ample water for drinking, irrigation and aquatic activities.
But too much of it, particularly from the ocean, can stress our coastal integrity and threaten our very existence. Florida has more residents at risk from the consequences of climate change than any other U.S. state. Globally, South Florida faces the highest risk from the effects of sea level rise in terms of the potential loss of billions of dollars of infrastructure. Sea level rise implies a host of effects that go beyond rising sea levels, including flash floods, urban heat, sea water intrusion into the aquifer and beach erosion.
The gloomiest predictions are based on inaction and continuing a “business as usual” mentality. But the situation isn’t hopeless—in fact, it’s one we can tackle as a community. The more we do and the better we adapt, the softer the landing.
Sea levels are rising in South Florida about six times faster than the worldwide average, yet Miami residents point to a lack of information and a shortage of opportunities to make a positive difference. Frost Science’s Museum Volunteers for the Environment (MUVE) initiative engages local residents by restoring living coastlines. This restoration helps protect their communities and enables individuals to take ownership of adapting to climate change.
Yet, perhaps the best tool in Frost Science’s arsenal is the ability to inform and engage thousands of visitors through original exhibitions. Frost Science was built with a special feature called “flexible furniture.” With plumbing and electricity built into the floor of The Dive level of our Aquarium, we are able to change many of our table top exhibits. Just like a changing coastline, this allows us to continually offer new content to our visitors.
Recently, Wells Fargo, via the National Fish and Wildlife Resilient Cities program, in partnership with the City of Miami and Miami-Dade County, recognized this attribute with a major grant to Frost Science. The funding will help restore three living shorelines around Greater Miami while giving Frost Science the ability to create a series of original flexible exhibits that explain how local coastal ecosystems are protecting us from sea level rise. These exhibits are going live this month in conjunction with The Power of Poison: From the Depth of the Sea to Your Own Backyard and Da Vinci – Inventions special exhibitions.
The first sea level rise-themed table top exhibits touch on the power of living shorelines (think: mangroves and dunes instead of seawalls) to protect inland areas from sea level rise and storm surge. We’ve all seen the images of sea walls being breached by waves during Hurricane Irma, rendering them useless. Green shorelines use their living structures to anchor sand in place (dunes), stay above the water through elevated roots (mangroves) and diminish the power of waves using their leaves and roots (saltwater grasses).
But the power of native habitats actually starts offshore, where coral reefs can absorb up to 97% of the power of incoming waves. Taken together, it’s hard not to appreciate these “hard-working habitats.”
Other table top exhibits feature our new Topo Box, an interactive, 3D topographic map that enables visitors to create their own landscapes and shorelines—from snow-capped mountains to the deep sea. Wiggling fingers overhead creates rainstorms, allowing visitors to explore how water moves through the environment and how large weather events might affect areas impacted by sea level rise.
In addition to the Topo Box, the Science Portal allows you to see live video, images and data feeds from research projects around the world. You can also use it to sign up as a MUVE volunteer.
Humans and nature are working together to help South Florida adapt to sea level rise. Plan a visit to Frost Science and see for yourself!
The post Using the Power of Nature to Fight the Effects of Sea Level Rise appeared first on Frost Science.
Pushing Back Against Poison 6 Jun 2018, 4:42 pm
As part of the museum’s #ToxinTakeoverMiami, we invited Wendy Stephan of the Florida Poison Information Center-Miami to share her insight.
As educator and epidemiologist for the regional poison control center in South Florida, I get an inside view into the fascinating world of poison. My training in public health (and experience as a parent) have been great preparation for my work educating on an always-changing array of hazards. About a week after I started work at our center at Jackson Memorial Hospital/University of Miami Medical Center, I arrived to find my colleagues in hazmat suits. It turned out to be a drill for the hospital’s decontamination team, but I did briefly wonder if every day at the poison center would be so exciting!
For the most part, the 55 poison centers around the U.S. see similar poisonings from day to day. Why? Every Target or Walmart carries the same cleaners and cosmetics. Prescription-strength and over-the-counter medications are also comparable in Miami or Minneapolis. But locally, we do have some unique poisons that stump even doctors. Among the 250 calls we process each day, we might treat tropical marine poisonings, exposures to exotic plants, and/or herbal concoctions from around the world.
Imagine licking an ice cream cone and having it burn your tongue. Or walking across a tile floor that feels like it’s on fire. These odd sensations are a tell-tale symptom of ciguatera fish poisoning. Ciguatera results from eating a reef fish containing a high concentration of a powerful neurotoxin. Besides “reversal of hot and cold” sensations, ciguatera can also cause diarrhea, vomiting, muscle aches and weakness. If not treated within the first 72 hours, symptoms can last for weeks or even months.
You might think a plant called “angel’s trumpet” would be harmlessly pretty. Not so. People who eat this plant (or sip a tea from its leaves) may find out the hard way that this plant is a killer. Most of the deaths from Brugmansia in the United States occur in our area. Symptoms can include rapid heart rate, hallucinations, increased body temperature, dilated eyes, and flushed face. Our hot weather makes it more likely that victims will dangerously dehydrate and not survive.
Have you ever taken a supplement to stay healthy? One case we treated involved the consumption of a liquid brought from Asia known as “snake wine.” Yes, there was a snake, unknown herbs (and a scorpion!) marinating in bottle of wine in the photo snapped at a local emergency room. Apparently, the person who sipped this supposed cancer preventive was not feeling well at all!
But our work is not all weird or dramatic. Early in my role as educator, I asked Earlene, one of our poison specialists, if she was treating anything exciting. She smiled kindly and said, “No, it’s been the best sort of day – I’ve gotten to tell my callers that everything’s going to be just fine.” As darkly fascinating as work at the poison center can be, she reminded me of the best part of our job – providing accurate information and reassurance to our callers, every day.
For more information about Florida’s Poison Control Centers visit our table every weekend at Frost Science, www.floridapoisoncontrol.org, or call 1-800-222-1222 for immediate assistance with any poisoning or poison-related question.
The Power of Poison is on view through Monday, September 3, 2018 inside the Hsiao Family Special Exhibition Gallery on the first floor of the museum. The exhibition is supported locally by Jackson Health System and Florida Poison Information Center-Miami. The Power of Poison is organized by the American Museum of Natural History, New York (www.amnh.org).
Moon and Spica 21 Mar 2019, 1:00 am
Look for the Moon climbing into good view by about 10 or 10:30 p.m. the next couple of nights. The bright star Spica will stand to the lower right of the Moon tonight, and to the upper right tomorrow night.
Moon and Spica 21 Mar 2019, 1:00 am
By Earthly standards, a hard vacuum surrounds the surface of the Moon. Yet it’s not a complete vacuum — the Moon has a thin atmosphere.
Much of the material that makes up the atmosphere comes from the surface. It’s kicked off of rocks and dirt by the solar wind or by impacts by tiny space rocks.
And some of the material may come from inside the Moon — mainly from dormant volcanoes.
Billions of years ago, volcanic activity might have given the Moon a much thicker atmosphere. Bombardment by giant space rocks punched holes in the crust. That allowed molten rock to spill onto the surface. The magma contained hydrogen, oxygen, and other gases. Researchers say that some of the gases — including water vapor — could have formed an atmosphere that was thicker than that of present-day Mars. And it could have lasted for up to 70 million years.
The Moon’s gravity just isn’t strong enough to hold on to that much “air,” though. The solar wind stripped most of it away, blowing it off into space.
But some of the water may have fallen back to the surface. And some of it may still be on the Moon today. It’s hidden in the bottoms of craters at the lunar poles, which are always in shadow — icy traces of a vanished atmosphere.
Look for the Moon climbing into good view by about 10 or 10:30 the next couple of nights. The bright star Spica will stand to the lower right of the Moon tonight, and to the upper right tomorrow night.
StarDate:Thursday, March 21, 2019
Teaser:The Moon’s thin atmosphere
More Vernal Equinox 20 Mar 2019, 1:00 am
The Moon will be full tonight, just hours after the start of spring in the northern hemisphere. It will be a “supermoon,” which means it will look a little bigger and brighter than average.
More Vernal Equinox 20 Mar 2019, 1:00 am
Spring begins in the northern hemisphere today, as the Sun crosses the equator heading north. For many of us in modern times, that moment — the spring equinox — is little more than a notation on the calendar. But to many cultures in bygone centuries, it was a time for celebration, as the Sun warmed the earth and banished the long, cold nights of winter.
For the Lakota of the Great Plains, the equinox marked the beginning of a new year. They commemorated the event with the start of a journey across the Black Hills. Sometimes, only medicine men or tribal elders made the trek; at other times, entire tribes were involved.
The spring journey celebrated a connection between the stars and the land. Several Lakota constellations represented prominent features in the Black Hills. In fact, one large constellation represented the entire mountain range.
The spring journey began when the Sun entered Cansasa Ipusye — the Dried Willow. The constellation includes stars of present-day Aries, which is high in the southeast as night falls. It culminated at the Hill of the Bears Lodge, a tower of volcanic rock in Wyoming that’s also known as Devils Tower. It’s represented in the sky by the stars of Gemini. Sun Dance ceremonies there affirmed the connection between the people and the sky and celebrated the completion of one full circle of life — and the beginning of another.
Tomorrow: giving the Moon some air.
StarDate:Wednesday, March 20, 2019
Teaser:The start of a cosmic journey
Vernal Equinox 19 Mar 2019, 1:00 am
Spring begins in the northern hemisphere tomorrow as the Sun crosses the equator from south to north, a moment known as the vernal equinox.
ESOcast 196 Light: 20 Years of exploring the Universe 14 Mar 2019, 10:00 amESO is celebrating the twentieth anniversary of one of the VLT’s most versatile instruments, the FOcal Reducer and low dispersion Spectrograph -- FORS2.
ESOcast 195 Light: A Cosmic Bat in Flight 14 Mar 2019, 10:00 amHidden in one of the darkest corners of the Orion constellation, this Cosmic Bat is spreading its hazy wings through interstellar space two thousand light-years away.
ESOcast 194: Cutting Edge of Contemporary Astronomy 18 Feb 2019, 4:00 amIn this ESOcast, six astronomers tell us about the hottest topics in contemporary astronomy. Covering topics ranging from dark matter to exoplanets, these astronomers make the case for why these cutting-edge fields deserve time at ESO's telescopes.
ESOcast 193 Light: Bubbles of Brand New Stars 6 Feb 2019, 11:00 amThis dazzling region of newly-forming stars in the Large Magellanic Cloud (LMC) was captured by the Multi Unit Spectroscopic Explorer instrument on ESO’s Very Large Telescope. The relatively small amount of dust in the LMC and MUSE’s acute vision allowed intricate details of the region to be picked out in visible light.
ESOcast 192 Light: GRAVITY Resolves a Gravitationally Microlensed Star 23 Jan 2019, 11:00 amThe GRAVITY instrument on ESO's Very Large Telescope Interferometer (VLTI) has seen what seems an impossible sight...
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