Houston Museum of Natural Science News
Museum News is HMNS’ bimonthly magazine, highlighting the Museum’s upcoming events, exhibitions, films, educational programs and more! Printed copies of Museum News are mailed to HMNS Members – learn more about the benefits of Membership!
news NOVEMBER / DECEMBER 2013 VOLUME 18, NUMBER 6 www.hmns.org WELCH HALL OF CHEMISTRY OPENS NOVEMBER 8 In holidays at hmns WORTHAM GIANT SCREEN THEATRE Watch your favorite holiday comedies on the giant screen: Elf and Home Alone. Also catch the new documentary Jerusalem 3D. More details on page 12. 2 Holidays at HMNS H M N S I N T H I S I S S U E • H O L I D AY S AT H M N S 3 Break Out Party General Information 4 -5 Welch Hall of Chemistry 6-7 Scenes from the Stone Age: The Cave Paintings of Lascaux 8-9 Hall of Ancient Egypt 10 - 11 Fabergé: A Brilliant Vision 12 - 13 Wortham Giant Screen Theatre 14 - 15 Burke Baker Planetarium 16 Cockrell Butterfly Center Travel Program 17 George Observatory Wiess Energy Hall 18 - 19 Just For Kids 20 - 21 For Teachers 22 - 23 Events Calendar World Trekkers – Russia Museum Store Trunk Shows FESTIVE SITES AND SMELLS The Museum’s Grand Entry Hall will be sparkling with giant festive trees presented by numerous local organizations, including American Diabetes Association, Children’s Art Project, City ArtWorks, Crossroads School Inc., Family Services of Greater Houston, Girl Scouts of San Jacinto, HMNS Guild, HMNS Youth Education Department, Houston Conchology Society, Marshall Middle Academy of Fine Arts - HISD, Mercury, Texas Children’s Hospital, Tourette Syndrome Association of Texas, Ukrainian American Cultural Club of Houston, Volunteer Interfaith, Caregivers - Southwest. GIFT MEMBERSHIPS Don’t forget to buy HMNS Gift Memberships as holiday gifts. Gift Memberships may be purchased at www.hmns.org, (713) 639-4616 or with the enclosed envelope. Beginning November 23, 2013, we will add another month to your current membership when you purchase a discounted HMNS gift membership. You can earn up to one year of FREE membership by introducing your family and friends to the wonder and adventure of the Houston Museum of Natural Science. Hurry, this offer expires January 5, 2014. 2 www.hmns.org/interact HOLIDAY SHOPPING Check off everyone on your shopping list at the HMNS Museum Stores— amusing science toys for the kids, jewelry for the ladies, and sophisticated and fun gifts for the gents. GET CONNECTED TO HMNS WWW.HMNS.ORG FACEBOOK TWITTER FLICKR PINTEREST INSTAGRAM YOUTUBE VIMEO BLOG.HMNS.ORG BURKE BAKER PLANETARIUM Bring the family to apply science to the season as we investigate the astronomy of the Star of Bethlehem in the Planetarium. H M N S B R E A K O U T PA R T Y • G E N E R A L I N F O R M AT I O N HMNS AT SUGAR LAND 4th Anniversary Event “Breakout Party” Friday, November 1 6 - 9 p.m. Tickets $50 From its start as company-owned land to being named one of the top ten places to live in the nation, Sugar Land has gone through many changes as the community’s needs have grown. Now the city is also home to an outstanding institution—the Houston Museum of Natural Science’s satellite location in Sugar Land. How did a world-class museum become a premier attraction in Fort Bend County? Join us for an evening of celebration and revelation of the “inside stories” about the transformation of our building from prison to museum. You’ll want to be in the know! The evening will feature southern comfort food, cocktails, museum fun and the introduction of new wildlife and fish by local notables. Festive casual attire suggested. Advance event ticket purchase required. Adults only. MAIN CAMPUS GENERAL INFORMATION PARKING Member $5, nonmember $10, all others $20 SUGAR LAND (713) 639-4629 www.hmns.org 5555 Hermann Park Drive Houston, Texas 77030 MEMBERSHIP QUESTIONS (713) 639-4616, TTY (713) 639-4687 firstname.lastname@example.org (281) 313-2277 www.hmns.org/sugarland 13016 University Boulevard Sugar Land, Texas 77479 www.hmns.org/visit HOURS OF OPERATION Monday through Sunday: 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Thanksgiving Weekend: Closed on Thanksgiving Day. November 29 - December 1: 9 a.m. - 6 p.m. Christmas Break: December 21 - January 5: 9 a.m. - 6 p.m. Closed on Christmas Day. FIELD TRIPS For all venues: (713) 639-4659, www.hmns.org/fieldtrip HOURS OF OPERATION BIRTHDAY PARTIES ADVANCE PURCHASES (713) 639-4646, www.hmns.org/birthdays Party Smarty at Main Campus and Sugar Land; (281) 242-3055 Challenger Birthday Mission at the George Observatory. (713) 639-4629 Monday - Sunday: 8 a.m. - 5 p.m. Online at www.store.hmns.org Handling fee for phone orders only. BUILDING RENTAL SPECIAL EVENTS (713) 639-4749, www.rentthemuseum.org MEMBER TICKETS GEORGE OBSERVATORY (281) 242-3055 www.hmns.org/observatory Located in Brazos Bend State Park. Park entrance fee: $7 per person; free for ages 12 & under. Thursday - Friday: 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. Saturday: 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Sunday: noon to 5 p.m. Monday - Wednesday: only field trips with advance booking. Thanksgiving Week: November 25 - 27: 9 a.m. - 5 p.m. Closed on Thanksgiving Day November 29: 9 a.m. - 5 p.m. Christmas Break: December 21 - 31: 9 a.m. - 5 p.m. (Sundays: noon - 5 p.m.) Closed on Christmas Day January 1: noon - 5 p.m. January 6 - 7: 9 a.m. - 5 p.m. Number of discounted tickets by membership level: Individual, Student & Senior, 1; Dual, 2; Family level & above, 2 adults & 4 children. WELCH DON’T OVERREACT! HMNS WELCH HALL OF CHEMISTRY HALL OF CHEMISTRY HISTORY OF THE UNIVERSE Travel from the very beginning of the Universe over thirteen billion years ago to the modern world, and even glimpse the future. As the musician Moby put it in his 2002 hit, “We are all made of stars.” Our Chemistry Hall is moving—and doubling in size—this November. be aware that, just as in the real world, many elements are in short supply. Once your molecule is complete, you can learn its useful characteristics. The new Welch Hall of Chemistry introduces chemistry as the fundamental basis of the natural world—rather than as the dry, abstracted and formulaic discipline that is traditionally presented. Visitors will leave the hall understanding the origins of the Universe and the profound role chemistry plays in our lives. Relocated to the lower level, the new exhibition features state-of-the-art, gigantic touch screens that numerous people can use at the same time. These enormous screens allow visitors to experience chemistry in an exciting new way—and hopefully will inspire a new generation of scientists to keep solving the world’s problems. The Welch Foundation has offered continued support to HMNS to keep the chemistry exhibition current for fifty years. Below you can find a brief preview of some of the electrifying new exhibits you’ll enjoy when you visit. 4 www.hmns.org/exhibits CARBON CYCLE Explore the chemical balance that regulates the temperature of Earth’s atmosphere, from the expulsion of CO2 by volcanoes to the sequestration of carbon as calcium carbonate in plants and algae. POWERS OF 10 Explore the powers of 10, navigating from the smallest subatomic particles to the expanse of the observable universe, with strands of DNA and ecosystems in between. INTERACTIVE PERIODIC TABLE MOLECULE BUILDER Creativity is a major component of chemistry! You can construct molecules from elemental building blocks, but Experiment with what different elements can do. This interactive, computer-based periodic table illustrates how chemical reactions happen by mixing elements together that you select right on the table! WELCH HALL OF CHEMISTRY EVENTS MEMBERS ONLY EVENT Friday, November 8, 6 - 10 p.m. Saturday, November 9, 6 - 10 p.m. FREE for members! EXXONMOBIL TEACHER TUESDAY “Mixtures and More: Chemistry Activities for Grades K-2” Tuesday, December 10 5 - 8 p.m. (more info on page 21) STAR CREATION Each star is different. Their individual compositions play a role in their size, color, light and temperature. Learn how stars are born and how each one is unique. See both in one night: the newly redesigned Welch Hall of Chemistry and Scenes from the Stone Age: The Cave Paintings of Lascaux. Children’s crafts, cash bar and refreshments. Reserve early—this event will sell out! Admission to the members-only events requires a reservation. Please call (713) 639-4629 to reserve your spot. HMNS WELCH HALL OF CHEMISTRY BEHIND-THE-SCENES TOUR Tuesday, December 17 6 p.m. Tickets $30, Members $20 CULTURAL FEAST “Chemistry of the Cocktail2” Thursday, February 20 7 p.m. Hosted at Brennan’s Tickets $115, Members $95 SHELL EDUCATORS’ PREVIEW New Welch Hall of Chemistry Wednesday, November 20, 4 - 7 p.m. (more info on page 21) 5 www.hmns.org/exhibits BIOLUMINESCENCE Catch a firefly and explore the chemical secrets of its glowing abdomen. simple rules affect complex systems. See how one small molecule can affect an outcome in dramatic and unexpected way. LIVE CHEMISTRY SHOWS Fizz! Bubble! React! Docents will perform live chemistry demonstrations several times a day—with assistance from the audience, of course. Don’t miss seeing mesmerizing polymers and show-stopping chemical reactions. THE GAME OF LIFE This modern take on the classic board game—invented in 1970 by mathematician John Conway—gives visitors a better understanding of how CHEMISTRY LAB The chemistry lab section will highlight careers in chemistry, featuring local scientists and their life-changing innovations. H M N S S C E N E S F R O M T H E S T O N E A G E : T H E C AV E PA I N T I N G S O F L A S C A U X SCENES FROM THE STONE AGE: THE CAVE PAINTINGS OF LASCAUX ACROSS TIME AND SPACE: PREHISTORIC FRENCH CAVE ART COMING TO TEXAS In the early days of World War II, on September 12, 1940, four boys and a dog entered a cave in southwestern France. Inside, they encountered prehistoric art last seen by human beings thousands of years ago. Lascaux cave, a 200-meter-long complex of fragile underground chambers, contains 900 of the most perfect surviving examples of prehistoric art. At the time of discovery, they exceeded in quality and quantity anything that had previously been discovered in Europe. These 900 images show aurochs (extinct ancestors of domestic cattle), wild horses, bison and ibexes—some at rest, some running or jumping, all dated to between 15,000 and 18,000 years ago. Hunter-gatherers crushed minerals to create paints in red, ochre, brown and black. Whether the site was of religious or social importance is unknown. For fifteen years, from 1948 to 1963, Lascaux cave was open to the public. Public access ceased in 1963. Twenty years later, in 1983, a complete lifesized facsimile of a portion of the caves and paintings—Lascaux Two—opened nearby. The current exhibition, known as Lascaux Three, displays art from sections never before replicated for the general public. You will be able to walk through reconstructed sections of the cave, see the imagery on the walls, and learn more the latest analysis of how the paintings were made. Interactive portions of the display challenge you to copy cave art on a computer in free hand. You can also expect to have a close encounter with four very lifelike models of Cro-Magnon individuals, anatomically modern humans much like us. While the Lascaux art has proven to be timeless, the opportunity to see it up close is more limited. Scenes from the Stone Age: The Cave Paintings of Lascaux will be on display at HMNS October 18, 2013 to March 23, 2014. Scenes from the Stone Age: The Cave Paintings of Lascaux was created by the General Council of Dordogne, with support provided by the Regional Council of Aquitaine, the French Ministry of Culture and Communication, and the European Union. The worldwide tour is organized by the SPL Lascaux, international exhibition. Official sponsors are Delpeyrat and Maïsadour. 6 www.hmns.org/lascaux MEMBERS EVENT Friday, November 8 6 - 10 p.m. Saturday, November 9 6 - 10 p.m. FREE for members! See both in one night: the newly redesigned Hall of Chemistry and Scenes from the Stone Age: The Cave Paintings of Lascaux. Children’s crafts, cash bar and refreshments. Reserve early- this event will sell out! Please call (713) 639-4629 to reserve your spot. Admission to this exclusive event requires a reservation. FILM SCREENING Cave of Forgotten Dreams Tuesday, November 19 6:30 p.m. Tickets $18, Members $12 In 1994, scientists discovered a cave in the south of France perfectly preserved for over 20,000 years and containing the earliest known human paintings. Take a glimpse inside the Chauvet Cave in this spectacular 3D documentary by Werner Herzog. Since this cave is not open to the public, the film offers the only way to view this marvelous site. BEHIND-THE-SCENES TOURS Tuesday, November 26 6 p.m. Tuesday, December 17 6 p.m. Tickets $30, Members $20 H M N S S C E N E S F R O M T H E S T O N E A G E : T H E C AV E PA I N T I N G S O F L A S C A U X CO-SPONSORED BY HMNS Rock Art: Windows to Our Human Ancestors Tuesdays, February 18 - March 25 This course features sessions by anthropologists and art historians, including Muriel Mauriac, curator of the Lascaux Cave in Dordogne, France. Registration and more information at gscs.rice.edu or (713) 348-4803. HMNS Members receive a discount for this course. RICE CONTINUING STUDIES COURSES FAMILY TALK “Our Own Backyard: Ancient Texas Art” Carolyn Boyd, Ph.D. Director, SHUMLA School Sunday, November 17 2 p.m. Free with Museum Admission Art rocks! Did you know that intricate and beautiful rock art exists in Texas? Discover ancient Texas art treasures at a presentation geared to families by an anthropologist who works to connect people of all ages with land and cultural heritage. Afterwards, create your own rock art. This event is cosponsored by the Archaeological Institute of America – Houston Society. HANDS-ON CLASS FOR ADULTS “Reinventing Stone Age Tools” Wednesday, December 4 6 p.m. Tickets $80, Members $65 Discover how antler, stone and bone can be used to fashion a Paleolithic survival knife through proper percussion and pressure methods. Learn how to make an arrowhead by pressure alone, and craft a simple stone knife using traditional hand tools. Your lithic art is yours to keep for your collection. Paleolithic archaeologist Gus Costa, Ph.D., will teach the prehistoric skills needed to master the ancient art of stone tool making. All materials, tools and safety equipment will be provided. EXCURSION Texas Cave Art Saturday, February 8 8 a.m. Tickets $345, Members $265 Witness the best-preserved cave art sites in North America, spanning back 4,000 years ago—the Lower Pecos Canyonlands. The group will tour several sites at White Shaman and Seminole Canyon with archaeologist guides from SHUMLA. Visit www.hmns.org/travel for more info. 7 www.hmns.org/lascaux DISTINGUISHED LECTURE “Dark Cave, Bright Visions: Life & Art in Ice Age Europe” Randall White, Ph.D. New York University Tuesday, November 12 6:30 p.m. Tickets $18, Members $12 Learn about the art and interests of the people who lived in caves such as Lascaux. Explore the social systems and the possible meanings of the symbols in which the art was created. In what way does this magnificent art reveal the worldview and life of the people of the Paleolithic era? This lecture is cosponsored by the Archaeological Institute of America – Houston Society and The Leakey Foundation. HMNS HALL OF ANCIENT EGYPT NEW PER M ANENT HALL - NOW OPEN ! five names, his two most used names— his birth name and throne name—were written inside oval cartouches to protect and identify them. This identification cut both ways—kings who fell from favor had their names ruthlessly expunged from their monuments. Now, almost two centuries removed from the initial decoding of this ancient hieroglyphic writing system, we are in a better position to answer the question “How did the ancient Egyptians keep track of all their kings?” The answer is straightforward—they wrote various king lists, carved into stone or inked on papyrus. 8 www.hmns.org/egypt ANCIENT KING LISTS TRACK THE PHARAOHS One of the first clues that helped decipher ancient Egyptian hieroglyphic writing was the identification of a royal name on the Rosetta Stone. This name was carved inside what we call a cartouche, an oval-shaped border typically used to surround a royal name. Upon his succession to the throne, the king took four names in addition to his birth name. Creating this royal titulary gave the king and his advisers the opportunity to put forward a program for his reign, favoring one god or part of the country above others. Of the king’s The Palermo Stone is a fragmentary list with names of pharaohs from the first dynasty through the fifth dynasty. The Turin King List was written on papyrus; it forms the basis of our understanding of most of Egypt’s chronology before the reign of Ramesses II. Visitors can see various examples of cartouches with royal names in the Hall of Ancient Egypt. Among these are a ring with the cartouche of Ramesses II, a shell amulet with the name of a pharaoh Senwosret, a re-used cartouche showing the name of Sety II, and one bearing the name of Nectanebo I, one of the last native-born rulers of Egypt. Photos by Janell Nelson HMNS HALL OF ANCIENT EGYPT DISTINGUISHED LECTURE “Preserving Egypt’s Cultural Heritage” Dina Aboul Saad, American Research Center in Egypt Thursday, November 7 6:30 p.m. Tickets $18, Members $12 Ancient Egyptian, Roman, Coptic and Islamic sites further our understanding of the rich cultural history of Egypt. In recent years the American Research Center in Egypt (ARCE) has conducted large-scale preservation and training activities at important archaeological sites throughout Egypt in collaboration with Egyptian colleagues and the Ministry of State for Antiquities. ARCE has also responded to urgent needs in Egypt since the events of January 2011. This program is cosponsored by the Egyptian American Society of Houston. CULTURAL FEAST DINNER “Banqueting in Ancient Egypt” Thursday, November 21 7 p.m. Hosted at Américas Tickets $102, Members $92 Tomb scenes and hieroglyphic inscriptions provide glimpses of what banquets were like in ancient Egypt. In addition to food and drink, high-ranking Egyptian hosts offered luxurious décor and entertainment to guests dressed in their finest clothing and exhibiting their best manners. Chef David Cordúa has crafted a menu inspired by Egyptian foods, flavorings, and drinks consumed at such banquets, while culinary historian Merrianne Timko traces the history of banqueting in ancient Egypt. 9 www.hmns.org/egypt BEHIND-THE-SCENES TOUR Tuesday, November 26 6 p.m. Tickets $30, Members $20 HANDS-ON CLASS “Beginning Hieroglyphs” Wednesday, November 13 6 p.m. Tickets $35, Members $20 People have long been fascinated by ancient Egyptian hieroglyphs. Egyptologist Merrianne Timko will explain some of the basic elements of hieroglyphic inscriptions while providing an overview of the fascination with hieroglyphs over the centuries. BURKE-BAKER PLANETARIUM Stars of the Pharaohs Five thousand years ago ancient Egyptian astronomers created the first solar calendar, aligned their temples and pyramids, and told time by the stars. A BRILLIANT VISION C U R R E N T LY O N E X H I B I T I O N HMNS FABERGÉ: A BRILLIANT VISION THE GIFT OF FABERGÉ As we enter the festive season of gift giving and extended visits with family and friends, patrons visiting Fabergé: A Brilliant Vision will have the opportunity to make connections with personal gifts from the historic Romanov family. Immersing themselves in the exhibit, visitors will witness the importance of family and friends to the royal family of Russia. Unique gifts from the Romanovs to family members and close friends were common, and some of these exquisite artifacts are now on display at the Houston Museum of Natural Science for you to enjoy this holiday season. Several of the Romanov family treasures on display consist of wooden frames holding private family photos. Patrons will see Alexander, Nicholas, and even young Anastasia. The royal family preferred to give personal photos in wooden frames with small, enameled Fabergé embellishments. The wooden frames convey a sense of warmth and friendship, while the embellishments remind the gift recipient of the status of the giver. There are other, more elaborate gifts, on display as well, such as the lily-ofthe-valley brooch given to Baroness Ungern-Sternberg in June of 1898 to celebrate the birth of her daughter. Empress Alexandra Feodorovna even wrote a personal note to the Baroness, stating, “the brooch is for you as a wee remembrance of a dear friend.” The delicate beauty of the brooch and the handwritten note assures us that friends were an important part of the Romanov family circle. Another noteworthy gift on display is the Fire Screen Frame. Considered one of the finest examples of gold work ever produced by Fabergé, this frame was a gift to the Dowager Empress Maria. The details rendered with green, white, yellow, and rose gold are breathtaking. The pictures within the frame are of Tsar Nicholas II and his wife, Tsarina Alexandra Feodorovna. Likely inspired by a fire screen in the Dowager Empress’ apartment, where she would have entertained her own family and friends, the intricacy and thought put into this elegant gift are clearly discerned in the work. As you share the holidays ahead with family and friends we hope that you will visit HMNS and enjoy the beautiful gifts on display in Fabergé: A Brilliant Vision. 10 www.hmns.org/exhibits DISTINGUISHED LECTURE “Fabergé Gifts of the Romanov Family” Wednesday, December 4 2 p.m. In Imperial Russia, gift giving was a way to express endearing sentiment to loved ones, or was often a diplomatic gesture—or in some occasions a combination of both. Dorothy McFerrin will tell the stories associated with beautiful pieces commissioned as gifts from the Romanov family and crafted by Fabergé. In this presentation you will also learn of the web of Romanov royalty throughout Europe in the nineteenth century. Following the lecture, Dorothy McFerrin will sign copies of her new book From a Snowflake to an Iceberg. Those in attendance will receive a discount on the book. 11 HMNS FABERGÉ: A BRILLIANT VISION www.hmns.org/exhibits NEW BOOK NOW AVAILABLE From a Snowflake to an Iceberg The McFerrin Collection has quickly become one of the world’s most significant private Fabergé collections. Their collection is now chronicled in a beautiful new book with exquisite pictures of Fabergé masterworks along with the Romanov family and other patrons of the House of Fabergé. Signed and unsigned copies are available. The book is only available at the HMNS Museum Store and museumstore.hmns.org. Films and showtimes may change. Please visit www.hmns.org WORTHAM GIANT S H M N S W O R T H A M G I A N T S C R E E N T H E AT R E 12 www.hmns.org/giantscreen NOW PLAYING THROUGH DECEMBER Soar above the Holy Land and explore one of the oldest and most mythic cities in the world. In Jerusalem, IMAX® 3D puts the spectacular ancient city front and center—and often above and below—as it traverses a land considered holy to the three major Abrahamic religions: Judaism, Christianity and Islam. Three teenagers who call the city home respectively represent each religion in the film. The documentary gives audiences a rare glimpse of the city fought over more than any other place in history, a place conquered and destroyed, rebuilt and reinvented repeatedly over 5,000 years. Due to the popularity of this film we have added additional shows in November and December. Booking in advance is advisable. EVENING SCREENING Tuesday, December 10 6 p.m. Tickets $18, Members $12 Join Dr. Matthias Henze of Rice University for a special evening screening of Jerusalem. Dr. Henze will provide commentary on historical and modern aspects of the city and entertain questions following the film. Descriptions available at www.hmns.org. Proceeds from the sale of all Wortham Giant Screen film tic g for current schedule and more information about each film. SCREEN THEATRE H M N S W O R T H A M G I A N T S C R E E N T H E AT R E Misrepresented, maligned and on the verge of extinction, the great white shark is an iconic predator—the creature we love to fear. Great White Shark will explore the great white’s place in our imaginations, in our fears, and in the reality of its role at the top of the oceanic food chain. The film will concentrate on key aggregation points around the world: Mexico, South Africa, Los Angeles and New Zealand. Key figures in the history of shark research and people whose lives have been changed by contact with the great white will tell us of their experiences, culminating in a direct encounter between man and shark. Tickets $5 So nice we’re doing it twice — twice a month, that is. HMNS brings you a screening of retro/classic/nostalgic films in our decidedly modern giant-screen digital theatre. Join us for the following films and journey back in time and share a unique Friday family film night. Home Alone Friday, November 1, 7 p.m. An 8-year-old boy, accidentally left behind when his family flies to France for Christmas, has to defend his home against idiotic burglars. Elf Friday, November 29, 7 p.m. After inadvertently wreaking havoc on the elf community due to his ungainly size, a man raised as an elf at the North Pole is sent to the U.S. in search of his true identity. 13 www.hmns.org/giantscreen It’s a natural history epic, a compelling detective story, and scientific adventure at its best. It took Dr. Fred Urquhart almost 40 years to discover the monarch butterflies’ secret hideaway and prove the most incredible migration on Earth. ckets help further the Houston Museum of Natural Science’s nonprofit mission. Your support counts! Burke Baker H M N S B U R K E B A K E R P L A N E TA R I U M diameter of the Sun’s surface. The Sun vaporizes a comet’s gases and pushes away the comet’s dust to create a spectacular tail. The closer a comet comes to the Sun, the greater the effect, unless the comet comes too close. The Sun may make Comet ISON very bright, break it into a few pieces that could also be spectacular, or completely destroy the comet. Comet ISON encounters the Sun on Thanksgiving Day. On the following day, we will know if we have a fantastic comet to watch over the holidays or if the comet has disappeared. The Planetarium’s new Impact! show includes an update on Comet ISON and the latest discoveries about the comets and asteroids that lurk in our neighborhood. 14 www.hmns.org/planetarium Impact! Encounters with Comets, Meteors and Asteroids Millions of asteroids and comets lurk among the planets—left over bits and pieces from our solar system’s formation four and a half billion years ago. Because of this celestial debris, we live in a dangerous cosmic shooting gallery where projectiles still shape the surfaces of the planets and moons. Most recently, without warning on February 15, 2013, an asteroid fragment struck Siberia and exploded over a populated area close to the Russian city of Chelyabinsk. Dozens of video cameras captured the meteor’s descent and the shadows it cast, making it the most documented meteor event in history. There were no deaths, but about 1,500 injuries occurred, mostly cuts from glass that broke due to the force of the shock wave produced when the meteor broke up in the atmosphere. Sound waves from this explosion circled Earth several times. Meanwhile we have a new comet coming our way this fall. Its name is Comet ISON and we think it has never approached the sun before. For billions of years this icy rock has probably floated in the Oort Cloud, far beyond the planets. Perhaps an impact with another ice ball sent Comet ISON sunward. It was discovered in the fall of 2012 and we have been waiting to see it up close for over a year. Comet ISON is a sungrazer, a comet whose orbit takes it within a solar This photo from the Hubble Space Telescope shows the shape of Comet ISON, a fuzzy object with a tail. Comet ISON Viewing in Houston November 29 – December 1 Houstonians with binoculars can probably spot Comet ISON it in the early morning November sky. On November 18, Comet ISON is less than one degree north of the bright star Planetarium Spica. On November 23, it is less than 5 degrees (about two thumb widths) south southwest of Mercury and Saturn. On November 28 at about 5 p.m., while we’re recovering from Thanksgiving dinner, Comet ISON will pass within a solar diameter of the Sun. Comet ISON Briefings at HMNS November 29 – December 1 To find out whether ISON survives its close encounter with the Sun and how to see it in December’s morning sky, come to the Burke Baker Planetarium Friday through Sunday of Thanksgiving weekend. An ISON update will precede each Planetarium show. A L S O S H OW I NG H M N S B U R K E B A K E R P L A N E TA R I U M F O R S C H O O L G RO U P S O N LY BEHIND-THE-SCENES Presented by Dr. Carolyn Sumners, HMNS VP of Astronomy Tickets $18, Members $12 “Tracking Comet ISON and Other Possible IMPACTS” Thursday, December 5 6 p.m. Comets and asteroids that roam the inner solar system and are a possible threat to Earth. Comet ISON will be grazing the Sun on November 28, and if it survives, it may come within our view. Dr. Sumners will give an update on Comet ISON and other incoming objects. Includes viewing of Impact! “Searching for the Star of Bethlehem” Monday, December 16 6 p.m. Learn the science behind the Star of Bethlehem—star, planet, comet or miracle? Explore the leading theories of the heavenly light that might have guided the wise men from the east to Bethlehem. Includes showing of Star of Bethlehem. 15 www.hmns.org/planetarium H M N S C O C K R E L L B U T T E R F LY C E N T E R • T R AV E L P R O G R A M WE HAVE A NEW “IDEA” IN OUR GREENHOUSES! Idea leuconoe, an Asian butterfly species that goes by the common names of Rice Paper butterfly, Paper Kite, or Tree Nymph (take your pick), is a butterfly you are sure to see every time you come to the Butterfly Center. Their large size and graceful sailing flight make them one of the most conspicuous members of our butterfly fauna. Many people note their resemblance— not in color but in shape and pattern—to the North American Monarch butterfly, and indeed, they are in the same family, the Danaidae or Milkweed butterflies. Predators avoid these interesting butterflies because their habit of feeding on milkweed as caterpillars gives the adult butterflies a bitter, noxious taste. We import our Rice Papers from Malaysia and the Philippines, but recently we have succeeded in raising a few in our greenhouses. The caterpillars are spectacular—similar to Monarch caterpillars but much fancier, with five pairs of tubercles instead of two, and some bright red spots on their sides. A favorite show-and-tell in the Butterfly Center is to demonstrate the fantastic “hair pencils” of the male Rice Papers. These feather-duster-like structures are scented with a pheromone designed to seduce females and are extruded from the tip of the abdomen during courtship. Ooh-la-la! T R AV E L P R O G R A M MORE INFORMATION AT WWW.HMNS.ORG/TRAVEL Texas Cave Art: Exploring the Lower Pecos Canyonlands February 7 - 9, 2014 Visit sites not accessible to the public with Dr. Dirk Van Tuerenhout and anthropology researchers. (More info on page 7.) 16 www.hmns.org/butterflycenter www.hmns.org/travel Jurassic Dinosaurs in Europe September 2013 Paleo Field Experience: Excavating the Texas Red Beds April 2 - 5, 2014 Dr. Bob Bakker and David Temple are leading a small group to the Permian location where the Museum’s fin-backed dimetrodon and boomerang-headed salamander diplocaulus were excavated. Learn more at Travel Night, December 17, 6 p.m. Visit famous Jurassic locales of Germany and Switzerland—including active private quarries not open to the public. These sites have yielded the famous archaeopteryx and many of the specimens collected for HMNS’ new Morian Hall of Paleontology. The group will also tour “sauriermuseums” with local expert paleontologists. Photo by Jean Clottes GEORGEOBSERVATORY The George Observatory is located in Brazos Bend State Park (park entrance fee: $7 per person, free for kids 12 and under). Directions are posted at www.hmns.org/observatory. Current observatory weather conditions can be accessed at www.weatherbug.com, zip code 77461. begin at 3 p.m., 4 p.m., 6 p.m. and 7 p.m. Information and tickets at www.hmns.org/observatory. H M N S G E O R G E O B S E R VAT O R Y • W I E S S E N E R G Y H A L L SKY EVENTS SATURDAYS AT THE GEORGE Telescope Tickets $5, Members $4.50 Discovery Dome Tickets $3, Members $2.50 View the night sky through the large Observatory telescopes every Saturday evening until 10 p.m. Gift Shop, exhibits and Discovery Dome open at 3 p.m. Telescope tickets go on sale at 5 p.m. Viewing begins at dusk. Geminid Meteor Shower Friday, December 13, 5 p.m. - midnight Tickets $5 Although the waxing gibbous Moon will be 91% illuminated this evening, the Geminid meteors tend to be bright and fast, so we may be able to spot some meteors during the peak of the shower from 9 p.m. to midnight. Dress warmly and bring lawn chairs to join us in hunting for meteors. Clouds make it impossible to see meteors, so hope for good weather! FAMILY SPACE DAY Challenger Learning Center Saturdays, November 9 & December 7 Tickets $10 Astronauts of all ages—kids and adults—can fly to the Moon with NASA volunteers. Great fun for the family, ages 7 to adult. Missions 17 WIESS ENERGY HALL HMNS Energy Conservation Club ecc.hmns.org The new HMNS Energy Conservation Club website is up and running. Although the site was created for teachers and club leaders, everyone can visit and learn about energy conservation—our biggest source of energy! ecc.hmns.org is your go-to information source for: classroom energy curriculum and hands-on activities. energy-related events in Houston, …and much more! Take a look and see how fun and easy it can be to implement the four “re’s”—reduce, reuse, repurpose and recycle! www.hmns.org/observatory ecc.hmns.org www.hmns.org/kids HMNS JUST FOR KIDS 18 Be a guest at your own child’s party this year! Let HMNS handle everything for you— the decorations, entertainment, craft, party favors, party coordinator and more. Visit www.hmns.org/birthdays for complete party-planning info, including optional add-ons. Party Smarty Packages Birthday Party Packages include a private party room, tables and chairs for 20 children and 20 adults, a creative craft project, and tour of your chosen venue— Hall of Ancient Egypt, Hall of Paleontology, Cockrell Butterfly Center, or a Planetarium film. Themes: Dinosaur, Butterfly/Bugs, or Astronomy Weekend Parties begin at $350, Members $300 Weekday Parties begin at $250, Members $200 Deluxe Party Packages Not enough you say? You want more? Upgrade to a Deluxe Birthday Party that includes a live show, more guests, a private room inside the designated venue—Bee Hive in the Cockrell Butterfly Center, Morian Overlook in the Hall of Paleontology, or Arnold Space Hall—and much more. Deluxe Themes: Partysaurus, Winged Wonderland, Galactic Gathering Deluxe packages begin at $800. Birthdays with a little Brain Power! Girl Scouts’ Careers in Science In an expansion of the popular Careers in Science program for Girl Scouts, the Museum’s world renowned Hall of Paleontology will become a classroom covering 3.5 billion years of prehistoric life, from bacteria to early humans in Careers in Science - Paleontology. Learn about the stars and constellations that can be seen with the naked eye. If weather obscures viewing, a video presentation will be offered inside the Museum. Guests of all ages are welcome. Visit www.hmns.org/ SugarLand for additional details. BREAKFAST WITH DR. BAKKER Saturday, November 9 9 - 11:30 a.m. Tickets $40, Members $30 Treat your little fossil hunter to breakfast and a lecture with worldfamous paleontologist Dr. Robert T. Bakker. New this year, breakfast will be on the Morian Overlook with a stunning view of the dinosaurs below, and the lecture will take place in the Moran Lecture Hall. This FUNdraiser, benefitting HMNS, will offer an opportunity for kids to meet Dr. Bakker and enjoy his entertaining presentation. Reserve your spot now! Children under 1 year admitted free. Adults must accompany children. For tickets, please call (713) 639-4629. Spring Break Scouts Boy Scouts can join us during Spring Break as we will be offering Citizenship in the Nation, Citizenship in the Community and Environmental Science merit badge classes, all Eaglerank required. Classes will be offered from March 10-13 and 17-19. For more information visit www.hmns.org/scouts. Scout Adventure Sleep Over Friday, November 1 UT! SOLD O Explore dinosaurs, Texas wildlife, gems and minerals, plus take part in a campout in the Museum’s entry hall. This is your opportunity to pitch a tent or spread your sleeping bag in a campsite of your choice, from the Butterfly Center entrance to the Planetarium. HMNS JUST FOR KIDS ATTENTION SCOUTS! Register for scout programs online. More info at www.hmns.org/scouts. Saturday Scouts Saturday Scout classes are in full swing this fall. Boy Scout, Webelos, Bear, Wolf, Tiger, Girl Scout, Brownie and Daisy classes will be offered throughout the fall and spring. New this fall to the Brownie Trails series, Brownie and Daisy Girl scouts explore the Museum’s new Hall of Ancient Egypt on a teaching tour to learn about the life and culture of early Egyptians and the process of mummification, then make their own piece of Egyptian jewelry in Brownie Trails - Egypt. 19 19 www.hmns.org/kids FAMILY EVENT HMNS SUGAR LAND Starry Night Friday, December 20 6:30 - 9 p.m. Tickets $8, Members $5 Calling all Luna-tics! Get an up-close view as you gaze in wonder at the craters of Earth’s magnificent Moon and many other planetary objects. Equipment will be set up for an exciting night of star gazing, or bring your own binoculars and telescopes. Experienced and entertaining docent volunteers will help you explore our amazing Universe! FOR TEACHERS WEEKDAY LABS Capacity is 25 students per lab. Cost per lab is $165 - $200. Coming to HMNS for a field trip? Try one of our Weekday Science Labs. These self-contained investigations feature Museum specimens, artifacts and laboratory equipment. Students examine ancient objects, investigate technology, meet live animals and conduct scientific experiments in five different, themed labs.Each lab lasts one hour and includes admission to the Museum’s permanent exhibit halls for lab participants. Available at HMNS and HMNS at Sugar Land. HMNS FOR TEACHERS MUSEUM EDUCATOR OPEN HOUSE (MEOH) Saturday, January 25, 2014 9 a.m. - 1 p.m. New format for 2014! For details, pre-registration, schedule of presentations and a list of participating museums, please visit houstonmuseumdistrict.org. NOVEMBER Time Lab for Grades 1-8 Castle – Explore the basics of medieval castle structure and what life was like inside these amazing fortresses. Biology Lab for Grades 5-10 Enzymes in Action – Go crazy for catalyzing! Examine how enzymes aid in digestion and control the release of energy essential to life. by the Cultural Service at the Consulate General of France in Houston and the Cultural Services of the Embassy of France. This workshop will be led entirely in French. Those wishing to receive professional development credit must attend both days. Register online at www.hmns.org. “Energizing Your Earth Science Curriculum” Saturday, December 7 8:30 a.m. - 3:30 p.m. (Grades 3-8) The Offshore Energy Center will present a day of hands-on activities which will provide you resources to teach energy and earth science and host great Family Science Nights. Earn 6 Hours of TAGT Approved GT Credit. Lunch included. ConocoPhillips TechoScience Lab for Grades 1-8 Electricity – Get a charge out of exploring current, voltage and resistance as you build your own circuits. DECEMBER Time Lab for Grades 1-8 Siege Machines – Discover the weapons of the “Medieval Arms Race” and design a working model. Wildlife Lab for Grades 1-8 Mechanics of Flight – Soar like an eagle, dive like a falcon, or glide like an owl as you get a bird’s-eye view of flight. ConocoPhillips TechoScience Lab for Grades 1-8 Cool Chemistry – Check out chemical changes and find out what makes them happen. 20 www.hmns.org/education PROFESSIONAL DEVELOPMENT “Using Artwork, Exhibits and Museum Field Trips in the French Class” Friday, November 1, 5 - 8 p.m. Saturday, November 2, 9 a.m. - 4 p.m. $20 per educator The Cultural Services of the French Embassy, along with the Houston Museum of Natural Science, is pleased to invite French teachers of all levels to participate in a two-day, 9-hour workshop led by Gislaine Bellocq of Thélème International, France. Using the exhibit Scenes from the Stone Age: The Cave Paintings of Lascaux, this training will immerse attendees in the art and science behind the cave paintings of Lascaux, France. The workshop fee is partially underwritten FOR MORE INFORMATION AND FOR ALL EDUCATORS PROGRAMS, VISIT WWW.HMNS.ORG/TEACHERS OR CONTACT EDUCATIONQUESTIONS@HMNS.ORG JANUARY Time Lab for Grades 1-8 Medieval Japan – From shogun to samurai, embark on a journey to medieval Japan. Dissection Labs for Grades 5-10 Spiny, Yet Spineless – Explore the underwater world of an interesting echinoderm, the sea urchin, as you study these prickly wonders of the ocean. Includes sea urchin dissection. ConocoPhillips TechoScience Lab for Grades 1-8 Soap Science – Investigate bubbles, emulsification, and soap films. TOTAL Wildlife on Wheels Discovery Dome Bugs on Wheels DEVON ENERGY CORPORATION EDUCATOR LATE NIGHTS “Differentiation for All Learning Styles (GT Update)” Friday, January 31, 5 - 11 p.m. $60 per educator (All Grades) This is the third in a series of Gifted and Talented professional development sessions in the strand of differentiation. Participants will enjoy an evening in the Museum exploring how to differentiate for learning styles by creating products through menus and graphic organizers, and through collaboration with Museum presenters and local area teachers. All educators will leave with handson activities available for immediate implementation. Complimentary catered dinner and parking in the HMNS garage is included. 6 hours of CPE credit will be awarded to participants at the end of the event. Registration is restricted to educators only. EXXONMOBIL TEACHER TUESDAY WORKSHOPS Discover a new world of science as you go behind the scenes with HMNS curators and staff in these exciting interactive workshops. With new topics each month we can provide you with ideas and activities to bring your classroom to life! Dinner is provided. “Simple Machines” Tuesday, November 12, 5 - 8 p.m. (Grades 2-6) Introduce your students to simple machines and all their handy uses. Robots, astronauts, architects, and engineers all use simple machines everyday—just as you do. “Mixtures and More: Chemistry Activities for Grades K-2” Tuesday, December 10, 5 - 8 p.m. (Grades K-2) Explore kitchen chemistry, mixtures and properties of matter through exciting activities for your students. “Food Webs” Tuesday, January 14, 5 - 8 p.m. (Grades 4-8) Explore how food webs work, interactions between organisms in their environments, and what happens to those organisms when the environments change – either by natural or man-made causes. “Erosion” Tuesday, January 28, 5 - 8 p.m. (Grades 3-8) Investigate how topographical features, soil properties and natural disasters affect and shape the surface of Earth. HMNS FOR TEACHERS LABS ON DEMAND $200 per presentation Capacity is 25 students per lab $75 travel fee for onsite presentations Need help with a TEKS objective? Want a lab experience for your field trip? Try our Labs on Demand! Each lab is tailored to your grade level needs. For example, a third grade Earth Science Lab might investigate volcanic eruptions, earthquakes, and landslides, while an eighth grade Earth Science Lab would look at tectonic plates and topographic maps. Topics Available: Chemistry, Force and Motion, Electricity, Light and Optics, Magnets, Storm Science, Ancient Egypt, Cells, Earth Science, and Dissection. For more information on booking a Lab on Demand for your group, please email email@example.com. 21 19 www.hmns.org/education OUTREACH PROGRAMS Bring the Museum to your classroom! For more information and scheduling: www.hmns.org/outreach, firstname.lastname@example.org, (713) 639-4758. Chevron Earth Science on Wheels ConocoPhillips Science on Stage Docents to Go SHELL EDUCATORS’ PREVIEW New Welch Hall of Chemistry Wednesday, November 20, 4 - 7 p.m. Free for educators Register at www.hmns.org/ educatorpreview starting October 28. Information and details for registration can be found at www.hmns.org/ educatorpreview or by calling (713) 639-4659. For tickets to all events, visit www HMNS EVENTS CALENDAR • WORLD TREKKERS – RUSSIA FRENCH TEACHER WORKSHOP “Using Artwork, Exhibits and Museum Field Trips in the French Class” Friday, November 1 and Saturday, November 2 (page 20) SCOUT SLEEPOVER Friday, November 1 (page 19) ANNIVERSARY EVENT SUGAR LAND “Breakout Party” Friday, November 1, 6 p.m. (page 3) TAKE TWO Home Alone Friday, November 1, 7 p.m. (page 13) DISTINGUISHED LECTURE “Preserving Egypt’s Cultural Heritage” Thursday, November 7, 6:30 p.m. (page 9) MEMBERS ONLY EVENT Welch Hall of Chemistry Scenes from the Stone Age: The Cave Paintings of Lascaux Friday, November 8, 6 - 10 p.m. Saturday, November 9, 6 - 10 p.m. (pages 5 & 7) NOVEMBER BREAKFAST WITH DR. BAKKER Saturday, November 9, 9 a.m. (page 19) FAMILY SPACE DAY AT THE GEORGE Challenger Learning Center Saturday, November 9 (page 17) EXXONMOBIL TEACHER TUESDAY “Simple Machines” Tuesday, November 12, 5 p.m. (page 21) DISTINGUISHED LECTURE “Dark Cave, Bright Visions: Life & Art in Ice Age Europe” Tuesday, November 12, 6:30 p.m. (page 7) HANDS-ON CLASS “Beginning Hieroglyphs” Wednesday, November 13, 6 p.m. (page 9) WORLD TREKKERS – RUSSIA Friday, November 15, 6 - 9 p.m. (page 22) FAMILY EVENT “Our Own Backyard: Ancient Texas Art” Sunday, November 17, 2 p.m. (page 7) FILM SCREENING Cave of Forgotten Dreams Tuesday, November 19, 6:30 p.m. (page 7) SHELL EDUCATORS’ PREVIEW Welch Hall of Chemistry Wednesday, November 20, 4 - 7 p.m. (page 21) CULTURAL FEAST “Banqueting in Ancient Egypt” Thursday, November 21, 7 p.m. (page 9) BEHIND-THE-SCENES TOURS Hall of Ancient Egypt Scenes from the Stone Age: The Cave Paintings of Lascaux Tuesday, November 26, 6 p.m. (page 9 & 7) TAKE TWO Elf Friday, November 29, 7 p.m. (page 13) 22 www.hmns.org/museumcalendar World Trekkers – Russia Friday, November 15, 6 - 9 p.m. Tickets $9, Members $7 Tour the globe from inside the HMNS Grand Hall with World Trekkers, a series of cultural festivals that invites visitors to explore the cultures of different countries—without overbooked flights, baggage fees or jet lag. Each event features crafts, native cuisine and entertainment inspired by the spotlighted country. The feature in the Wortham Giant Screen Theatre this evening is James Bond’s international intrigue and action flick From Russia with Love. w.hmns.org or call (713) 639-4629. DISTINGUISHED LECTURE “Fabergé Gifts of the Romanov Family” Wednesday, December 4, 2 p.m. (page 11) HANDS-ON CLASS FOR ADULTS “Reinventing Stone Age Tools” Wednesday, December 4, 6 p.m. (page 7) BEHIND-THE-SCENES PLANETARIUM “Tracking Comet ISON and Other Possible Impacts” Thursday, December 5, 6 p.m. (page 15) DECEMBER FAMILY SPACE DAY AT THE GEORGE Challenger Learning Center Saturday, December 7 (page 17) EXXONMOBIL TEACHER TUESDAY “Mixtures and More: Chemistry Activities for Grades K-2” Tuesday, December 10, 5 p.m. (page 21) FILM SCREENING Jerusalem Tuesday, December 10, 6 p.m. (page 12) GEMINID METEOR SHOWER Friday, December 13 (page 17) HMNS EVENTS CALENDAR • MUSEUM STORE TRUNK SHOWS BEHIND-THE-SCENES PLANETARIUM “Searching for the Star of Bethlehem” Monday, December 16, 6 p.m. (page 15) BEHIND-THE-SCENES TOURS Welch Hall of Chemistry Scenes from the Stone Age: The Cave Paintings of Lascaux Tuesday, December 17, 6 p.m. (pages 5 & 7) FAMILY EVENT SUGAR LAND Starry Night Friday, December 20, 6:30 - 9 p.m. (page 19) 23 MUSEUM STORE TRUNK SHOWS Museum Store Trunk Shows continue for holiday shoppers looking for unique, one-of-a-kind gifts. Take 20% off your designer purchase during the Trunk Show and feel good about shopping ‘til you drop since all proceeds benefit HMNS’ educational mission. Each Trunk show is noon to 4 p.m. Love Heals – November 30, Based in Ojai, California, each eclectic Love Heals piece is handcrafted, including the build-your-own charm necklace. Ten trees are planted in Ethiopia for each design sold. Rebecca Lankford – December 7 Favorite local designer Rebecca Lankford will make her second personal trunk show appearance at HMNS with her handcast metals, fine leathers and a casual take on gems like raw diamonds and Sleeping Beauty turquoise. The Community Cloth – December 14 The Community Cloth empowers refugee women in Houston by helping them express their culture and heritage by creating and selling their handmade, indigenous arts and crafts. The artists will be on hand to demonstrate their crafts. Christmas in New York – December 14 We’re taking you to NYC, the iconic Christmas spot, with talented designers from “the city” like Alexis Bittar, Assad Mounser, Judith Haas, and more. www.hmns.org/museumcalendar 5555 Hermann Park Drive Houston, Texas 77030 HMNS NEWS • NOVEMBER / DECEMBER 2013 • VOLUME 18, NUMBER 6 POSTMASTER: Dated material enclosed. Please deliver IMMEDIATELY! Non-Profit Org. U.S. Postage PAID Houston, Texas Permit No. 6371 HMNS NEWS IS AVAILABLE ONLINE AT WWW.HMNS.ORG/MAGAZINE HMNS activities are supported in part by funds provided by the City of Houston. HMNS News (ISSN 1556-7478) is published bimonthly by the Houston Museum of Natural Science, 5555 Hermann Park Drive, Houston, Texas 77030. Issues are sent every other month as a benefit to all Museum members. HMNS is a nonprofit 501(c)(3) organization whose mission is to preserve and advance the general knowledge of natural science, to enhance in individuals the knowledge of and delight in natural science and related subjects, and to maintain and promote a museum of the first class. NOW SHOWING ON THE GIANT SCREEN NOW ON EXHIBITION www.hmns.org/magazine SCENES FROM THE STONE AGE: THE CAVE PAINTINGS OF LASCAUX