Reviews and Blog Posts: science

Red Planet, Blue Moon: Resources for Skywatchers

Map of the Moon, Mars, and Saturn for May 20-22. From skyandtelescope.com

Living in the city can make it hard to get a good view of the night sky, but once in a blue moon the stars and planets put on a show you can see through the city lights. No, seriously...there's a blue moon this weekend! Plus, Mars will be as close as it's been in a decade, so it's going to be shining like a beacon. If you look to the southeast after sunset, Mars, Saturn, and the bright red star Antares will all be hanging out together in the constellation Scorpius, and the full moon will be passing through and joining them over the weekend.

Discovering the First Coloradans

Folsom point among Bison bones. © Denver Museum of Nature and Science

In January 1926, a banker and a blacksmith from Raton, New Mexico walked into the Colorado Museum of Natural History (now the Denver Museum of Nature and Science) carrying a sack of very large bones. The bones once belonged to an extinct bison called Bison antiquus, and the museum's director, Jesse Figgins, was very excited to see them. It wasn't just that he might acquire a new Bison antiquus specimen for the museum. The bigger opportunity Figgins saw was the possibility of excavated the site where the bones were found, and finding human artifacts among them.

All the birds in the sky

by Charlie Anders

Reviewer Rating:
4

Not just for fans of genre fiction, this mash up of science and magic will appeal to anyone who likes a well told story about choices and the fate of the world. Patricia and Laurence meet in middle school--both awkward in their own ways, Patricia connects with nature on a...

Family ideaLAB Workshop: DIY Easy Bake Oven and Food Science

1960's easy bake oven

Here in ideaLAB we're a little wacky. When someone suggested we bake, instead of thinking, "We don't have an oven," we thought, "Why not?! Let's build our own Easy Bake Oven!" We're hard at work building, testing and prepping (and yes, it smells AMAZING) in order to share the fun with you all during our Family ideaLAB Workshop on Saturday, November 14, 11 am-1 pm. We'll be testing how to make the best baked treats in our "oven," get your help making a new one, get hands on with food experiments, and we'll even put your taste buds to the test.

The Corpse Flower's Cousins: Books and Videos about Freaky Plants

Corpse Flower at US Botanic Garden

This week, one of the most talked about residents of Denver was a giant flower named Stinky. The big, smelly blossom at the Denver Botanic Gardens made the national news, and people have been waiting over three hours to get a look at it. Stinky even has its own StinkyCam. But the corpse flower isn't alone in the world of bizarre and amazing plants.

Colorado's Ghost Glaciers

Landscape from RMNP with and without ice age glaciers. From NPS.

This weekend I hiked up to Arapahoe Glacier in the Indian Peaks Wilderness area. It's the largest glacier in Colorado, and definitely an impressive sight--a field of ice covering nearly 40 acres, nestled among towering crags at 12,700 feet. But by glacial standards, Arapahoe Glacier is a pipsqueak. It's tiny compared to great valley glaciers like the one in the second photo, which is in Alaska.

Creatures in the Walls: Fossils at the Central Library

Belemnite fossil

In Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets, the fearsome basilisk emerged from its lair and slithered through the walls of Hogwarts. One look at its reflection left people petrified. Here at the Central Library, I'm happy to say we have no basilisks. But we do have creatures in our walls, and they were petrified--literally turned to stone--long ago.

Denver's Famous Dinosaurs

Reconstruction of Stegosaurus by O.C. Marsh

Have you ever heard of Triceratops? How about Stegosaurus? "Brontosaurus"? Of course you have--they're some of the superstars of prehistory; depicted in countless picture books, cartoons, and roadside statues. Many eight-year-olds could give you a scholarly lecture about them. But what many Denverites don't know--even some of the eight-year-olds--is that all three of these dinosaur celebrities were first discovered right in our back yard. They're actually local celebrities, and their discoveries make for some pretty interesting reading.

Forget Mercury Retrograde. Solar Storms are the Real Deal

Coronal Mass Ejection from the Sun (NASA image)

Did you know Mercury is in retrograde right now? I didn't, until I saw people posting about it on social media sites. When I looked it up, I discovered that the planet Mercury sometimes appears to move backwards across the sky. People who believe in astrology think that when this happens, communications of all kinds--technological, interpersonal, you name it--go haywire (Mercury was the Roman god of messengers, after all, and he was a bit of a trickster).

How Colorado Got So Rugged: Books on Colorado Geology

Messages in Stone Book Cover

If you want to see geologic marvels, Colorado is the place to be. Tall mountains, deep canyons, desert mesas, dinosaur bones, glacial valleys--this state has it all. But have you ever wondered how it got this way? Why is Colorado so rugged, when states like Iowa and Kansas are so flat? What raised those mountains and carved those valleys?

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