Locus Magazine announces the winners of the 2013 LOCUS Awards

Locus Magazine, the monthly magazine for the latest news and reviews in the world of science fiction, fantasy, and horror literature, has announced its 2013 winners.

John Scalzi received the Locus for Science Fiction Novel for Redshirts. At first, Ensign Andrew Dahl is enjoying serving aboard the Universal Union Capital Ship Intrepid until he realizes a horrifying pattern. All journeys involve deadly confrontations with aliens and its the lower ranking crew members who are at risk. Listen to Wil Wheaton read the audiobook version.

The Fantasy Novel award went to Charles Stross, for The Apocalypse Codex. The Laundry, Britain's highly secretive intelligence agency charged to protect the Queen and the realm from occult intrusions, employs the beautiful, volatile Persephone Hazard to investigate U.S. televangelist/healer, Ray Schiller. Gideon Emery narrates the audiobook.

The Young Adult award went to China Mieville for Railsea, a hugely imaginative mix of steampunk, cyberpunk, and a fantastical spin on Herman Melville's Moby Dick. Sham is an apprentice to the doctor serving the railsea train Medes. Sham is excited to be on his first hunt for moldywarpes, gigantic moles who live beneath the earth, erupting to the surface in life-and-death battles with all who track them down.

The Non-fiction award was given to William Gibson for his collection of essays in Distrust that Particular Flavor, 30 years of thoughtful pieces about the past, present, and future as influenced by technology.

The Art Book award was bestowed on Spectrum 19: The Best in Contemporary Fantastic Art. According to the publisher, "With exceptional images by extraordinary creators, this elegant full-color collection showcases an international cadre of creators working in every style and medium, both traditional and digital"

For a complete list of the winners, check out this link.

AADL Talks to Terence Dickinson

Terence Dickinson, editor of Canada's SkyNews magazine and author of the internationally bestselling Nighwatch: A Practical Guide to the Universe and The Backyard Astronomer's Guide, was made a Member of the Order of Canada in 1995—that nation's highest civilian achievement award—for his commitment in popularizing the wonders of astronomy. During his visit in November 2012, Terence sat down to talk with me and Clay Kessler of Telescope Support Systems.

Terence discusses his long career communicating the wonders of the night sky to the public and the importance of discovering and pursuing his childhood passion. He also talks about the loss of dark skies; how to pick a telescope; and he recalls the moment he saw his first full-blown Hubble image of a galaxy.

Dickinson's latest book is 2012's Hubble's Universe: Greatest Discoveries and Latest Images.

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Sir Patrick Moore, astronomer, has died

England's Sir Patrick Moore has died at the age of 89. For 55 years, the entertaining, monocled people's astronomer introduced viewers to the wonders of the night sky as host of the popular series, The Sky at Night, making this the longest-running TV series in the world with the same host. And oh, what a host. Moore delighted with his ill-fitting suits, his raised eyebrow, and his fervent discourses on astronomy, which he could deliver at 300 word per minute.

His passion began at the age of 7 with a book on the solar system. By the age of 13 the self-taught Moore was publishing papers on the moon's surface based on detailed observations made through his first 3-inch telescope. After serving with the RAF during WWII, he built his own telescope and made further detailed drawings of the moon which were later used by NASA as part of the preparations made for the 1960s-70s moon landings. A first book on the moon soon followed, after which writing took over his life. He produced some 70 books in his lifetime, including this year's The New Astronomy Guide: Star Gazing in the Digital Age.

Beyond astronomy, Moore held a deep passion for cricket and music - notably the xylophone, which he often played in public. And in one historic encounter, Moore played piano while his musical partner, Albert Einstein, played the violin.

Red Planet Day - November 28th

Did you know that November 28th is Red Planet Day? Spacecraft Mariner 4 launched on November 28, 1964, and during its eight-month voyage it collected the first ever up-close images of Mars!

Exciting developments from the Mars rover "Curiosity" mission are to be announced in December, so now is a great time to read up on the fourth planet from the sun. From our catalog, check out The Case for Mars: The Plan to Settle the Red Planet and Why We Must for adults, Mars for children, or the documentary Can We Make It To Mars?, part of the PBS Nova scienceNOW series. Just for fun, try the Edgar Rice Burroughs' science fiction series John Carter of Mars.

Find out more about Mars by visiting NASA's Mars Exploration Program website.

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.

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