A long time ago, in a galaxy far far away, a star exploded and you can see it today!

As reported yesterday, astronomers have detected what appears to be a Type 1a supernova - an exploding white dwarf - in nearby galaxy M82, the closest to us in 40 years. Supernova 2014J, as it's been named, is a little hard to see in small scopes right now, but it's predicted to grow significantly brighter over the next two weeks before it fades away - easy enough to spot in the library's 4.5-inch telescope and even binoculars.

M82, also known as the "Cigar Galaxy" because of its shape, is part of a popular galaxy pair (M81-M82) in a relatively dim region of the constellation Ursa Major, about a fist's width above the bowl of the Big Dipper in the northeastern sky. It's visible by 7:00 or 8:00 p.m. in our region and will be visible throughout the night.

Sky & Telescope has some additional information and star maps to help you find Galaxy M82.

Family Science Workshop: Dining on Dinos: Long Necks, Sharp Teeth, Club Tails, Killer Claws

Saturday January 18, 2014: 10:00 am to 11:00 am -- Pittsfield Branch: Program Room

This event is intended for grades K-5 with an adult.

The world in the time of the dinosaurs was a brutal place. The U-M Museum of Natural History will explore what fossils can tell us about the lives and coping strategies of predators and prey and the strategies they used to give themselves a fighting chance.

Parent’s Corner: Science Fair Time!

The Downtown library has a shelf in the Youth Department known as the Parent Shelf. On this shelf you’ll find a variety of parent-child related books on a multitude of topics- including everything from language to behavior to safety to bullying. These books are available for checkout and can be found in the catalog when searching “parent shelf.”

Winter is in high gear, the new year started and the kids are back in school. This means that science fair season will soon be upon us! Many children in the area will complete a project for school. AADL has a slew of books with a variety of science fair projects in them, including a few on the parent shelf. It’s not too early to browse through the experiments and see what might be a good choice for you to work on!

Audiobook: Scientists and Spies

Sometimes, the truth is even more exciting than fiction. At least it is in Bomb: The Race to Build and Steal the World's Most Dangerous Weapon by Steve Sheinkin. This non-fiction account of the scientists and spies involved in the development of the first atomic bomb is an amazing story, full of gentle humor, suspense and thoughtful insights into the cost of developing atomic weaponry. While written for youth, this book will appeal to science and spy lovers of all ages. Parents should note, however, that descriptions of the atomic bombings and their horrific aftermath are included.

The book was awarded a Newbery Honor medal in 2013.

Northern Lights Visible Thursday Night Over Michigan

You may have heard on the local news that the northern lights might be visible tonight due to a solar flare that occurred on Tuesday. If typical winter lake effect cloud cover dissipates then the lights will be able to be seen. If you’re typically early to bed then you might miss the show as the best viewing times are between midnight and four a.m.

If you’d like to learn more about how solar wind particles, magnetic fields and gases in the atmosphere interact to cause an aurora you can check out some books the library has on the subject.

Science Fair Tips and Tricks!

Monday, November 18 | 7 - 8 pm | Traverwood | Grades 6 - 12

It's Science Fair season! Students and parents are invited to hear Clague Middle School science teacher, Soon Morningstar, discuss the basics on planning and assembling a successful science fair project. Ms. Morningstar has been helping students create science projects for the Southeastern Michigan Science Fair for eleven years, and she has many helpful resources on her website.

Ask questions, get answers about Science Fair projects on Monday at the Traverwood branch.

Can't make the event? Check out this list of Science Fair resources available at the AADL. Also see the Science Fair Adventure website and the Science Buddies website for great project ideas.

Film & Discussion: We Can't Eat Gold

Thursday November 14, 2013: 6:00 pm to 8:30 pm -- Downtown Library: 4th Floor Meeting Room

This event is intended for adults and teens (grade 9 and up).

“How does it feel when your ancestors have been surviving off the same land for thousands of years and then that land is threatened?” Residing about 250 miles southwest of Anchorage the people of Dillingham, Alaska have lived off of caribou and the world’s largest, most spectacular sockeye salmon fishery located in Bristol Bay. But now the proposed Pebble Mine that seeks to extract valuable deposits of gold, copper, and molybdenum threatens that way of life.

The documentary We Can’t Eat Gold, casts light on the sustainable living the people have made off the land and sea. It also gives voice to the concern of the Alaska Native elders and youths not only about the future but also the impacts the exploration of Pebble Mine has already had on the Bristol Bay region’s King Salmon and Caribou populations. With government approval pending will the people’s voice be heard?

Film director Joshua Tucker and producer Giovanna Marcantonio will be on hand to lead the discussion following the viewing of the film.

This event is cosponsored by the University of Michigan Community Scholars' Program.

Science Fun with FEMMES

Saturday February 22, 2014: 1:00 pm to 2:00 pm -- Traverwood Branch: Program Room

This event is intended for grades K - 5

Have some hands-on science fun with the UM Chapter of FEMMES (Females Excelling More in Math, Engineering, and Science).

Fabulous Fiction Firsts #428 - "Life shrinks or expands in proportion to one’s courage" ~ Anais Nin

The Rebellion of Miss Lucy Ann Lobdell by William Klaber is based on the real life story, (check out one of many incredible primary sources) of a 19th-century American woman who sought freedom and independence while disguised as a man.

In 1855, when no women traveled unescorted, hunted with a rifle, got paid for a back-breaking day's work, or dressed the way she wanted, Lucy Ann Lobdell hopped a train at daybreak in her brother's cast-offs, and started a new life as Joseph Lobdell, a music/dance instructor in Honesdale, Pa., far from her New York home, her disapproving family and a young daughter she had to leave behind.

As Joseph Lobdell, she finds not only a wealth of economic opportunity but also the chance to participate in intellectual and political discussions. However, the danger of being exposed meant quick escapes and sudden leave-taking, even from the woman she came to love.

"A well-crafted 'memoir' of an unforgettable person, with plenty of questions about freedom, love and responsibility."

"What makes this story stand out is the author's skill in imagining the life of a transgender woman in a time when women had virtually no power in the world and when different sexual orientations were considered grave mental illnesses. By serving as Lucy's voice —not to mention doing what was obviously a great deal of historical research, —the author becomes her advocate and encourages readers to do the same. A unique and important book. "

Reader might also be interested in Wild Life by Molly Gloss; and Women of the Frontier : 16 tales of trailblazing homesteaders, entrepreneurs, and rabble-rousers by Brandon Maire Miller for stories of strong and courageous women who seriously pushed boundaries.

An exciting parallel and just release yesterday is Elizabeth Gilbert's The Signature of All Things, "A glorious, sweeping novel of desire, ambition, and the thirst for knowledge - the story of Alma Whittaker, who bears witness to that extraordinary moment in human history when all the old assumptions about science, religion, commerce, and class were exploding into dangerous new ideas".

UM Professor, Dr. Susan Murphy, is one of this year's MacArthur Foundation 'Geniuses'

This morning, Dr. Susan Murphy, the H.E. Robbins Professor of Statistics and Professor of Psychiatry at The University of Michigan, was awarded one of two dozen new MacArthur Fellows,

Dr. Murphy's current focus is on adaptive intervention, which involves developing plans to work with patients who have chronic or relapsing illnesses (such as, substance abuse or depression) where effective courses of treatment are constantly adjusted for maximum benefit.

Novelist Karen Russell is another new Fellow. The first story in her debut collection, St. Lucy's Home for Girls Raised by Wolves (2006) served as the basis for her much acclaimed first novel, Swamplandia (2011), set in the Everglades and narrated by 13-year-old Ava. Swamplandia was one of three finalists for the 2012 Pulitzer Prize in Fiction. Alas, no award in that category was given last year, due to the lack of the minimum required number of votes.

These "Genius Awards", as they are affectionately known, come with no strings attached. The Fellows are free to spend the money as they wish. This year, the Geniuses received a raise. The formerly half-million dollar reward has been bumped to $625,000, paid out yearly for five years.

For a complete list of the MacArthur Foundation Fellows for the Class of 2013, check here.

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