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.
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.
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.
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.
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).
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?
The adults in Sand's life have always told him to ignore the broken castle he could see in the distance, but when he awakens inside the castle one morning with no explanation, there's no more ignoring it. Everything in the castle has been broken in two, from the dried but...
The Hungries have taken over the planet, but Melanie and her friends are safe in a boarding school, going to class every day, learning from different teachers after being escorted there by armed guards. But they're not really treated like the children in the stories their teachers read to them....
A couple of times a year, the celestial bodies align so that the earth's shadow obscures the moon. The shadow will move across the moon starting just after midnight Mountain Time. The eclipse will be full around 1:46 a.m. and then the moon will emerge from shadow about 3 a.m. The moon will turn a deep reddish color during the eclipse. Lunar eclipses are safe to look at directly. You're looking at the moon, not the sun. It can be viewed with the naked eye or binoculars.