Teen Stuff: Young Naturalist Awards Offer Cash Prizes

The Young Naturalist Awards is an annual contest put on by the American Museum of Natural History that encourages scientists in grades 7 - 12 to explore a natural science question by making observations and reporting their findings. It is an essay contest that is designed like a scientific study, focusing on the fields of Biology, Ecology, Earth Science and/or Astronomy.

Entries may be submitted on the AMNH website from December 1, 2012 to March 1, 2013. Twelve cash awards, two for each grade level, will be awarded to the authors of the winning essays. The winning entries will be published on the Museum's website. Up to 36 finalists will receive a cash award of $50 and a certificate of recognition. Up to 200 semifinalists will receive a non-cash award and a certificate of recognition. The teachers of the top twelve winners will receive classroom resources and a free Seminars on Science course.

The AADL has many resources for those looking to enter the contest, including books on studying nature and exploring space and astronomy. We also have the Academic OneFile database available at all of our branches and available remotely to AADL cardholders, where you can find articles from many peer-reviewed journals in science, social science, and the arts for in-depth, scholarly research. The Stapp Nature Area is a great place to observe nature and it is adjacent to our Traverwood Branch.

For more information about the Young Naturalist Awards, including Rules & Regulations, How to Get Started and much more, please visit their website.

Join us for a Voyage to the Edge of the Universe

Thursday, November 1 | 7:00 - 8:30 p.m. | Downtown Library: Multi-Purpose Room

Terence Dickinson was made a Member of the Order of Canada in 1995—that nation's highest civilian achievement award—for his commitment to popularizing the wonders of astronomy. The editor of Canada's SkyNews magazine; author of the internationally bestselling Nighwatch: A Practical Guide to the Universe and The Backyard Astronomer's Guide; and a commentator for Discovery Channel Canada, Dickinson is perhaps better known for the distinctively accessible narrative style found in his several stargazing guidebooks (14 of which are still in print with over 2 million sold). In short, Dickinson is one of that rare breed of astronomer’s astronomer who, like the late Carl Sagan, is also a gifted people’s astronomer.

Who better then to explain the science behind those mind-blowing Hubble telescope photos of the cosmos comprising his latest book, Hubble's Universe: Greatest Discoveries and Latest Images? There is no one better—and Dickinson will be here in Ann Arbor to do just that at 7 p.m. on Thursday, November 1, with his illustrated talk, “A Voyage to the Edge of the Universe.” He’ll then sign copies of the book (which will be for sale) following the event.

Celebrate Astronomy Day at Peach Mountain!

Saturday, October 20 | 7:00 - midnight | Peach Mountain, Dexter, Michigan

Saturday, October 20, is Astronomy Day! and AADL is partnering with the University Lowbrow Astronomers for a public viewing starting after sunset at Peach Mountain, a dark sky area roughly 16 miles northwest of Ann Arbor off North Territorial Rd. in Stinchfield Woods.

You'll be treated to views through large-aperture telescopes, including the 24-inch McMath telescope located on site. Guidelines, maps, directions and parking information are available. Open houses will be cancelled if conditions are unusually cold or if it's cloudy. If you're unsure, check back here for an update at 4:00 p.m. October 20.

Storytelling with the Stars on the Autumnal Equinox

Friday, September 21, 2012: 7:00 pm to 8:00 pm -- Downtown Library: Multi-Purpose Room

Grab a free star map this Friday evening and join us for a stellar storytelling journey bringing the stars and constellations alive on the eve of the autumnal equinox. Mary Stewart Adams, storyteller, star lore historian, and one of the primary movers behind the recently established Michigan Dark Sky Coast, has studied the star tales and myths of many cultures and she'll be your guide to our starry night.

After the program, three lucky attendees will get to take home one of our circulating telescopes!

As the Program Director for the Headlands International Dark Sky Park in Emmett county, Mary regularly tells star stories on the dark shores of Lake Michigan. She recently talked with us about her passion for reconnecting us with the night sky and about the passage of Michigan Public Act 251, establishing a 23,000-acre Dark Sky Preserve in Michigan.

AADL Talks to Mary Stewart Adams

Mary Stewart AdamsMary Stewart Adams

Mary Stewart Adams is a star lore historian, storyteller, and program director for the Headlands International Dark Sky Park, a 600-acre park in Michigan's Emmet County. She was also instrumental in securing the recent passage of Michigan Public Act 251, which establishes a 23,000-acre Dark Sky Preserve in Michigan. On her way to a signing ceremony with Governor Rick Snyder, Mary stopped in to talk with me about the process of securing a dark sky designation, the importance of dark skies, and her passion for telling stories about the stars.

Mary will be at the Downtown Library on the eve of the autumnal equinox - Friday, September 21, 2012 - for an evening of Storytelling with the Stars.

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AADL_Talks_To-Mary_Adams.mp3 16.4 MB

Star Party this Wednesday!

Wednesday, June 27: 9:00 pm to 11:00 pm -- Leslie Science & Nature Center (1831 Traver Rd. map)

Join the University Lowbrow Astronomers and AADL staff this Wednesday night at the Leslie Science & Nature Center for a star party and a chance to earn points for the Summer Game! Lowbrow members will be on hand to offer views through their large telescopes, but feel free to bring your own - or one you've checked out from the Library - for some tips and advice from these expert observers. The sun sets at 9:15 so there won't be much to see other than Saturn and Mars early on, but stick around for a few stellar delights as they pop out one by one. Note: This event will be cancelled if it's cloudy. Check back here for an update.

Turn Left At Orion

If you're waiting to check out a telescope, there are a couple books in our collection well worth looking at to help you get the most of your time with the Starblast 4.5. Turn Left at Orion: A Hundred Night Sky Objects to See in a Small Telescope and How to Find Them is a simple, practical book with large format drawings of nearly 100 objects, showing exactly what you'll see in the finder and eyepiece, as well as an an indicator of how dark the sky needs to be to see them. Stargazing: Astronomy without a Telescope is another good choice for amateurs who aren't yet familiar with the night sky and not quite ready to be overwhelmed by a detailed star atlas. A little time with both of these books and a pair of binoculars and you'll be ready when your telescope comes in! Read more about our telescope collection and what to look for.

It's now - or never!

transittransit

Tuesday, June 5 | 4:30 - 9:00 | Traverwood Branch & Leslie Park

If you're old enough to read this, then June 5 is your last chance to see one of the most rare predictable celestial events - and the astronomical highlight of 2012 - the Transit of Venus. It's only happened four times in the past 234 years and the next Transit is 105 years from now in December 2117.

The Transit of Venus - when the planet is visible as a black dot crossing the disk of the sun - will last 6.5 hours in total, and we'll catch three of those in Michigan, from 6:04 p.m. until sunset at 9:08 p.m. And since you can't look at the sun directly (please don't!), the Library will be giving out FREE SOLAR SHADES for safe viewing at AADL's Traverwood branch following a brief talk by the University Lowbrow Astronomers at 4:30.

Since the diameter of Venus is near the limit of the eye's capability, we also recommend you follow us after the talk to one of several locations where local astronomy groups will be stationed with telescopes properly fitted with solar filters for magnified viewing:

The Lowbrows will have telescopes at Leslie Park (map), and the corner of Washington and Ashley streets (map). The UM Department of Astronomy will offer public viewing on top of Angell Hall and the Detroit Observatory will have telescopes out on their sidewalk (map). (Note: Viewings will be cancelled if the weather completely obscures the sun, in which case the Library will provide a live video feed of the Transit from sure-to-be cloudless Hawaii in the Traverwood program room.)

EVENT CANCELLED - A Voyage To The Edge Of The Universe

Thursday May 24, 2012 | 7:00 pm to 8:30 pm -- Downtown Library: Multi-Purpose Room

Due to unforeseen circumstances, author Terence Dickinson will be unable to attend this May event. He regretfully apologizes. The event has been cancelled for May, but will be re-scheduled for Fall 2012. We apologize for any inconvenience.

Looking for a telescope? Try Peach Mountain!

If you're in line for a Library telescope but not all that familiar with the night sky, consider attending one of the public open houses scheduled twice a month at Peach Mountain. Hosted by the University Lowbrow Astronomers, these open houses are a great way to learn what there is to find in the night sky with experienced observers and powerful telescopes. In addition to looking through members' scopes, you can also look through the 24-inch McMath telescope located on site, or simply gaze in awe at the silhouette of the 26-meter radio dish.

Public open houses are scheduled twice a month at Peach Mountain, 16 miles northwest of Ann Arbor, off North Territorial Rd in Stinchfield Woods. Guidelines, parking information, and a map are here. Open houses will be cancelled if conditions are unusually cold or if it's cloudy. If in doubt, call (734) 975-3248 after 4 p.m. the day of the event to determine the status.

The remaining open house dates through this season are: May 19, June 16, June 23, July 14, July 21, August 11, August 18, and September 15.

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