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FaviconThis Week’s Sky at a Glance, May 24 – June 1 24 May 2019, 5:32 am

The Summer Triangle is making its appearance in the east these evenings, one star after another: Vega, Deneb, then Altair.

The post This Week’s Sky at a Glance, May 24 – June 1 appeared first on Sky & Telescope.

FaviconWas ‘Oumuamua a Fragment from a Disintegrated Comet? 23 May 2019, 1:19 pm

A new study suggests that ‘Oumuamua’s strange trajectory back out to interstellar space can be explained if the object had the density of air.

The post Was ‘Oumuamua a Fragment from a Disintegrated Comet? appeared first on Sky & Telescope.

Frost Science

FaviconMembers Matter at Frost Science 30 Apr 2019, 4:23 pm

May 2019 marks our second annual Member Appreciation Month at Frost Science, and there are so many reasons why our Members Matter! Thanks to you, we’re able to offer some of the most groundbreaking exhibitions, science learning programs and events in Miami, and we want to show our appreciation all month long.

Members aren’t the only thing we’re celebrating in May. The United Nations General Assembly and UNESCO have officially declared 2019 the International Year of the Periodic Table of Elements!

Because we love to geek out, we’re combining our enthusiasm for our members and our elements for some extra fun this month. During the month of May, in addition to a sneak peeks of our new special summer exhibition and members-only demos, discussions, discounts and treats, you’ll receive some extra-cool perks. And of course, members always receive free admission to the museum and a 10% discount at Food@Science and the Science Store.

Ready to learn more about those member benefits? Read below to check them out!

The Member Element

Our members are the most important element at Frost Science! In honor of the International Year of the Periodic Table of Elements, we’ve designed a commemorative ‘Members Matter’ element button. Frost Science members can pick up an exclusive ‘Members Matter’ element button (while supplies last) during their visit to the museum this summer – wear it, pin it and post it with scientific pride – and share your favorite photos and moments with us at @frostscience using our hashtags #ItsScienceMiami and #FrostScience.

Matter of Tote

Because you matter to us, all renewals from May 1 through June 30, 2019 will be eligible to receive a free chemistry-inspired tote (while supplies last)! Renew your membership today and stop by the membership office to pick up your reusable cotton tote, limit one per membership household.

Café Cookies

Stop by Food@Science, our onsite café, in May and receive a complimentary cookie with a meal entrée purchase (bowl or sandwich), courtesy of our friends at Constellation Culinary Group. Make sure to show your membership card! (cookie offer not valid on purchases at Coffee@Science)

Save the Date

Frost Science members are invited to be the first to experience our newest special exhibition, The Secret World Inside You on Friday, May 24 from 6:30 p.m. to 9 p.m. Presented locally by Nicklaus Children’s Hospital, The Secret World Inside You uses larger-than-life models, computer interactives, videos, art installations and a live presentation to explore the rapidly evolving science revolutionizing how we view human health and understand the inner workings of our bodies. Afterwards, dance the night away in the MeLaβ, check out our brand new “Microbes and You” live presentation, and commemorate the evening with a pic in our specially-themed microbiome photo booth. Click here to register now.

Coming Soon

It’s been a wonderful two years serving our community, and we’re just getting started! Wait until you see what we have in store for you later this year: Our new fall exhibition, Numbers in Nature: A Mirror Maze, opens October 2019, and you won’t want to miss the science (and math!) behind nature’s patterns.

The post Members Matter at Frost Science appeared first on Frost Science.

FaviconFrost Science Awarded LEED Green Building Certification 17 Apr 2019, 11:44 am

On Thursday, April 18, Frost Science announced that it had been awarded LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) Gold Certification for its outstanding practice in the design, construction and operation of a sustainable and energy-efficient facility. The LEED rating system, developed by the U.S. Green Building Council (USGBC), is the foremost program recognizing buildings, homes and communities that are designed, constructed, maintained and operated for improved environmental and human health performance.

“From the conception of this world-class project, it was imperative that the museum would function in the most innovative yet efficient manner possible,” said Frank Steslow, President & CEO of the Phillip and Patricia Frost Museum of Science. “We are honored to receive LEED Gold Certification and will continue to raise awareness through our building and programs of positive steps every visitor can take to improve the environment.”

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Sustainability is at the heart of Frost Science’s mission. Sitting on four acres within Downtown Miami’s waterfront Maurice A. Ferré Park, the 250,000-square-foot institution is divided into four distinct buildings: the Aquarium, the Frost Planetarium, and the North and West Wings. The building and grounds are designed to express the best practices in green building design, construction and operation, as well as utilize the latest green technologies. The museum also offers a self-guided “Behind the Build” tour around the campus, where guests can learn more about the design concept of the building, the institution’s environmentally friendly best practices, and behind-the-scenes information about its construction and operation.

“Frost Science’s LEED certification demonstrates tremendous green building leadership,” said Mahesh Ramanujam, president and CEO, USGBC. “LEED was created to make the world a better place and revolutionize the built environment by providing everyone with healthy, green, and high-performing buildings. Frost Science serves as a prime example of how the work of innovative building projects can use local solutions to make a global impact on the environment.”

From the outset, green construction and building materials were selected, including rapidly renewable materials for exhibits, regional material usage, selection of building materials with high levels of recycled content, and low-chemical-emitting building materials and paints. Additionally, the building implemented recycling of construction waste and integrated “blast furnace slag,” a byproduct of iron and steel production, as concrete technology in the building. Through a rigorous points-based system, LEED evaluates projects on siting, sustainability, water efficiency, use of reusable energy sources, and recycled materials, as well as indoor environmental quality and design innovations, among other factors. Frost Science achieved the Gold LEED certification for implementing practical and measurable strategies and solutions aimed at achieving high performance in: sustainable site development, water savings, energy efficiency, materials selection, and indoor environmental quality. The certification identifies Frost Science as a leader in creating healthy experiences and conserving precious resources.

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One of Frost Science’s most impressive elements is the water system created for the unique building. Rainwater is collected for use as HVAC makeup water and to irrigate the rooftop gardens (estimated 350,000 gallons per year in city water savings), and a gray water collection system is utilized for flushing toilets and urinals (estimated 250,000 gallons per year in city water savings). The Florida Power & Light Company Solar Terrace on the museum’s sixth-floor rooftop houses a solar farm of photovoltaic solar panels, providing about 66 kW of photovoltaics (218 panels total) calculated to power about two percent of the buildings’ full load. Additionally, the solar trees on the Science Plaza provide approximately 6kW of photovoltaics.

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Public transportation options via bus and an onsite Metromover station are adjacent to the museum. Under-building parking is available to prevent heat islands typically caused by parking lots exposed to direct sunlight, along with ample electric vehicle charging stations.

To learn more about the museum’s building, click here.

The post Frost Science Awarded LEED Green Building Certification appeared first on Frost Science.

FaviconMUVE 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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

FaviconTop 5 Things You Didn’t Know About Sharks 25 Jul 2018, 7:07 pm

© Zach Ransom Photography

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.

A post shared by 🤟Kaleidoscapes™ (@kaleido.scapes) on

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.

The post Top 5 Things You Didn’t Know About Sharks appeared first on Frost Science.

Favicon1,000,000 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.”

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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.

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“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.”

The post 1,000,000 Visitors…and Counting! appeared first on Frost Science.

StarDate Online - Your guide to the universe

FaviconOmega Centauri 24 May 2019, 1:00 am

Omega Centauri is an intimate place for stars. The cluster contains millions of stars packed into a ball a few dozen light-years across. On average, the planets in its core are separated by just one-sixth of a light-year. By comparison, the closest star system to the Sun is more than four light-years away. That means the skies of any planet in the cluster would be ablaze with stars.

A recent study, though, found that it’s unlikely that anyone is there to enjoy the view.

The team was led by Stephen Kane of the University of California-Riverside. It used Hubble Space Telescope to study almost a half-million stars in the center of Omega Centauri, which may be the core of a small galaxy that was consumed by the Milky Way.

The researchers calculated the habitable zone of each star — the distance from the star where conditions are best suited for life. They then calculated the interactions between stars.

They found that, on average, each star passes especially close to a neighbor every million years or so. The pull of the passing stars would make the habitable zones unstable — a planet could be pulled out of the zone. So it would be tough for life to form in the core of Omega Centauri — and just as tough for it to survive.

Omega Centauri is bright enough to see with the unaided eye. But you need to be in the southern third of the U.S. to find it. Right now, it’s quite low in the south about 11 p.m. It looks like a fuzzy star.

Script by Damond Benningfield

StarDate: 
Friday, May 24, 2019
Teaser: 
Scrambling the chances for life

FaviconOmega Centauri 24 May 2019, 1:00 am

Omega Centauri contains millions of stars packed into a ball a few dozen light-years across. It is bright enough to see with the eye alone, but only from the southern third of the U.S. It is quite low in the south about 11 p.m. and looks like a fuzzy star.

FaviconLoud and Clear 23 May 2019, 1:00 am

Lanes of dark dust punctuated by bright stellar nurseries highlight the center of Centaurus A, a distant galaxy that is one of the brightest in the night sky. The galaxy, also known as NGC 5128, also is a major source of radio waves. They come from the galaxy's core and from "jets" that shoot into space above and below the core. The dust lanes and radio waves suggest that Centaurus A may be the result of a recent merger between two smaller galaxies. [ESO]

Centaurus A
Galaxy Centaurus A

FaviconCentaurus A 23 May 2019, 1:00 am

Galaxy Centaurus A

Lanes of dark dust punctuated by bright stellar nurseries highlight the center of Centaurus A, a distant galaxy that is one of the brightest in the night sky. The galaxy, also known as NGC 5128, also is a major source of radio waves. They come from the galaxy's core and from "jets" that shoot into space above and below the core. The dust lanes and radio waves suggest that Centaurus A may be the result of a recent merger between two smaller galaxies. [ESO]

Centaurus A is the fifth-brightest galaxy in the night sky, so it’s an easy target for telescopes and binoculars. But it’s what they can’t see that makes Centaurus A one of the most interesting galaxies around.

Images of the galaxy show a bright blob of stars with wide, dark dust lanes in front of it. That suggests that Centaurus A is the result of a recent merger between two galaxies. New stars are being born in bunches along the dust lanes.

In 1949, radio astronomers found that the galaxy was one of the “loudest” around. The radio waves come from the galaxy’s core and from “jets” that shoot into space above and below the core. They’re almost two million light-years long.

The radio waves are powered by a black hole that’s probably about 55 million times the mass of the Sun. Gas is funneled toward the black hole, perhaps as a result of the merger. As it spirals toward the black hole, it’s heated to millions of degrees. That rips atoms apart, giving them an electric charge. Powerful magnetic fields around the black hole then fling some of the particles out into space, causing them to emit radio waves.

As seen from the United States, Centaurus A stands almost due south as night falls now. It’s best viewed from south of about Dallas or Albuquerque, where it stands a little higher in the sky. Through binoculars, the galaxy looks like a hazy patch of light. It’s just a few degrees above Omega Centauri, a bright star cluster. More about that tomorrow.

Script by Damond Benningfield

StarDate: 
Thursday, May 23, 2019
Teaser: 
A galaxy that’s bright and loud
Galaxy Centaurus A
Galaxy Centaurus A

FaviconChanging the Guard 23 May 2019, 1:00 am

Some of the brightest stars of winter are dropping from the evening sky. Low in the west at nightfall, look for bright white Procyon in Canis Minor, the little dog. The “twins” of Gemini, Pollux and Castor, are well to the upper right of Procyon.

ESOcast HD

ESOcast is a video podcast series dedicated to bringing you the latest news and research from ESO, the European Southern Observatory. Here we explore the Universe's ultimate frontier with our host Doctor J, a.k.a. Dr. Joe Liske.

FaviconESOcast 201 Light: ATTRACT 23 May 2019, 11:00 am

FaviconESOcast 200 Light: ESO helps map the Galaxy 2 May 2019, 9:00 am

FaviconESOcast 199 Light: Astronomers Capture First Image of a Black Hole 10 Apr 2019, 9:07 am

The Event Horizon Telescope (EHT) -- a planet-scale array of eight ground-based radio telescopes forged through international collaboration -- was designed to capture images of a black hole. In coordinated press conferences across the globe, EHT researchers revealed that they succeeded, unveiling the first direct visual evidence of a supermassive black hole and its shadow.

FaviconESOcast 198 Light: La Silla Observatory turns 50! 29 Mar 2019, 10:00 am

Since its inauguration in 1969, ESO’s La Silla Observatory has been at the forefront of astronomy. Its suite of state-of-the-art instruments has allowed astronomers to make ground-breaking discoveries and paved the way for future generations of telescopes.

FaviconESOcast 197 Light: GRAVITY uncovers stormy exoplanet skies 27 Mar 2019, 7:00 am

HD - NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory

High-definition (HD) videos from NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory feature the latest news on space and science findings from JPL and NASA. Topics include discoveries made by spacecraft studying planets in our solar system, including Mars, Saturn and our home planet, Earth. Missions also study stars and galaxies in our universe.

FaviconNASA’s Curiosity Finds Climate Clues on a Martian Mountain 15 May 2019, 3:00 am



After spending the better part of a year exploring Mars' Vera Rubin Ridge, NASA's Curiosity Mars rover has moved to a new part of Mount Sharp.



FaviconWhat's Up - May 2019 2 May 2019, 3:00 am



What's up in the May sky? A meteor shower produced by debris from Halley's Comet, asteroids named after dinosaurs and a "blue moon" on May 18th.



FaviconNASA's OCO-3: A New View of Carbon 2 Apr 2019, 3:00 am



NASA's OCO-3 mission is ready for launch to the International Space Station. This follow-on to OCO-2 brings new techniques and new technologies to carbon dioxide observations of Earth from space.



FaviconWhat's Up - April 2019 2 Apr 2019, 3:00 am



What can you see in the April sky? The Moon visits Mars in the evening, and later joins Saturn and Jupiter for a spot of tea. Also, how to find Polaris, the North Star.



FaviconWhat's Up - March 2019 28 Feb 2019, 3:00 am



What can you see in the March sky? Jupiter and other planets in the morning, a change of seasons and an open star cluster called the Beehive.