Falcon Cam Update – April 21, 2017

By LIZ TOTH

The falcon eggs hatched!

On Saturday, April 15, egg shells could be seen on the ledge, but the female spent almost all her time on the nest preventing a view of what was beneath her. By Wednesday, we were able to get a good view of the chicks and all four eggs have successfully hatched!

shellstoside15April2017A

Falcon Shells to the Side

The chicks seem to be doing well, and both parents have been very attentive, feeding and keeping the chicks warm.  When they are not able to be seen they are safely tucked under the female.  She broods the chicks, keeping them warm with her body until they are about a week old and they can maintain the correct body temperature on their own

She has special featherless brooding patches that allow the warm skin of her body to press right up against the chicks and keep them warm.  This behavior is easy to see from above.  It looks like she is wiggling quickly back and forth, but she is snuggling her brooding patches down on the chicks.

Advertisements

Cookie Chemistry

You can’t think of the holidays without thinking of cookies! From gingerbread houses to sweet sugar cookies, everyone has a favorite—including a certain someone who is responsible for magically bringing presents to kiddos across the world!

It just so happens that National Cookie Day was last week, and because science and baking go hand-in-hand, we are going to explore the chemistry behind the perfect cookie! Too much flour, different fats, baking soda, and liquids, they all play a roll in crafting your cookie favorites.

First, let’s consider what holds our raisins, chocolate chips, and macadamia nuts together: the dough. Depending on the cookie, the dough can be created using different ingredients. For this example, we’ll use the classic chocolate chip cookie which requires eggs, butter, brown sugar, white sugar, baking soda, flour, salt, and vanilla. How do these things mixed together go from gooey to great? The answer: Heat causing a series of chemical reactions.

  1. You’ve just placed your dough on the cookie sheet and popped it in the oven. The heat causes the butter inside the dough to melt, which is what causes the cookie to go from a doughy ball to a round flat cookie.
  2. Next, your cookies will blow off some steam—literally! At 212 degrees Fahrenheit, the water in your dough turns into steam and the water vapor rises through the dough. Additionally, the baking soda starts to turn into carbon dioxide gas which will raise the cookie up even further.
  3. By now, you’ll start to notice that your cookie is turning golden brown in color, which means your cookie is just about done! Some tasty reactions are happening, including caramelization, when sugar reaches a high enough temperature, it begins to break down from clear crystals and transforms into a brown liquid, and the Maillard reaction.  This reaction combined with reaction from the combination from the sugar and protein from the eggs and flour creates a simply scrumptious result.

cookie-science3

You can conduct your own experiment by making a batch yourself and trying different ingredients, but if you want to make the classic chocolate chip cookie—look no further than this Ultimate Chocolate Chip Cookie Recipe.

 

Careers In Curiosity: To Infinity and Beyond!

jason

Jason Heaton, Assistant Director of Astronomy

What was your childhood dream job? Ballerina? Fire Fighter? Marine Biologist? Everyone is different, but it is certainly a rarity to be so inspired by something that you make it your life’s work. Jason Heaton, the Museum’s Assistant Director of Astronomy, visited the Boonshoft Museum as a little boy and fell in love with the possibilities that the night sky provided.

For this month’s Careers In Curiosity post, our guest blogger and Planetarium expert extraordinaire, Jason, will talk a little bit about running a Planetarium, teaching children and adults about our Solar System, and much more. Check out his blog below:

armstrong

In 2003 I had the chance to meet Neil Armstrong

Hello, Nice To Meet You

My name is Jason Heaton and I am the Assistant Director of Astronomy at the Dayton Society of Natural History. The Astronomy department at the Boonshoft houses an observatory, a planetarium, and astronomy related exhibits.

How I Started in Astronomy

My career in astronomy began at the Boonshoft when I was a child. My parents enrolled me in the Boonshoft summer programs for many years. I

exoplanets

The NASA sponsored Exoplanets exhibit, produced by the Boonshoft Astronomy Department

loved archaeology, paleontology, and the activities at SunWatch, but the planetarium was by far my favorite. An energetic and hilarious planetarium director named Art Goss inspired me and fueled my love for the night sky.

In school, science classes were my favorite. I went to college at the University of Dayton, enrolling in Aerospace Engineering. I began working in the planetarium as a part time job while I was in school.  During that time, I fell in love with astronomical visualization…making

planetarium

A planetarium audience rides an Ice Slide set on Jupiter’s moon, Europa.

the stars come to life in the planetarium. I graduated U.D. with a degree in Computer Animation. I have been working for the Museum ever since, for more than twenty years now.

The Best Part of Working in the Astronomy Department

We do many different things in our department. We build astronomy exhibits such as the Exoplanet exhibit which recently opened. We house the Apollo Observatory, a large telescope open for free to the public on clear Friday nights. We have many different types of events that happen in the planetarium, people have proposed marriage, live bands have played, and astronauts have lectured. We have created planetarium shows and astronomical visualizations that have been shown around the world.  However, my favorite thing about working in the astronomy department is presenting the live shows about the night sky in the Dome.

starbuck

Speaking of magic, the planetarium is also one of the main stages for Harry Potter Camp, where I play Professor Starbuck, the Hogwarts summer school astronomy teacher.

Someone once said that as people we all have one thing in common…we all look up at the stars at some point in our lives and wonder. The planetarium is a unique place. When I was a child, it was magical.  People come to our planetarium to learn about the sky and experience that same feeling of wonder and magic.

As a presenter, I have witnessed the same feeling of magic in the eyes of children coming to the star shows. They will often come back after the show and ask a million questions, it becomes obvious that they will leave the museum loving the stars the same way I have.

Future Generations

You never know who is going to come into the planetarium and become a future astronaut or astronomer. The first person on Mars may be someone who is in school right now. The astronomers who find the first Earth-like planet; the mission specialist onboard a future space station; the scientists that will help us get back to the Moon; all of these people have one thing in common: someone, or something, inspired them and their love of the night sky, perhaps in a planetarium like ours.

We’re Getting Our Geek On, How About You?

We’re about a month away from the Museum’s first ever GeekFest, so we’re taking some time to explore our inner geeks.  Before we could do that we had to fully understand what makes a true “geek”. Unique hobbies, gaming until your thumbs fall off, knowing the dialogue of your favorite episode of Doctor Who by heart—are these things that make you a true geek?

Geekdom and nerdology purists will tell you there is a huge difference between geeks and nerds (see the infographic below) and we here at the Boonshoft Museum celebrate it all—which really is the point; being that the Boonshoft Museum is a Children’s Museums, Natural History Museum, Science Center, Planetarium, and Zoo we had to look no further than our 90,000 sq. ft. of space to find some of the coolest geeks and nerds in southwest Ohio.

Geeks vs Nerds

Click to enlarge

Geeking Out: Our Staff Tell-All

By default you may think that knowing the ins-and-outs of a Planetarium or cataloging 2,000 year-old artifacts (and loving it) is inherently geeky, but there are a myriad of things that make our staff awesomely nerdy. So, in the spirit of GeekFest and for nerds everywhere, our staff has shared some of the nerdiest, geekiest things about them:

Sarah

One of our Guest Bloggers and Registrar extraordinaire, Sarah, is a major history buff. Not only does her job revolve around history, she plans her free time (and vacation time) around it! Visiting as many Museums as possible, Sarah loves history so much her desk is home to Wilbear Wright, an aviation Teddy Bear. And beyond her desk? 1.4 million pieces from our collections. Sarah is all history, all the time.

Sarah shows off Wilbear Wright

Sarah shows off Wilbear Wright

Angela

Everyone has a friend that is a collector—of art, coins, wine, the list goes on. However, Angela, our Guest Services and Gift Shop guru, collects cult favorites. From a plush Batman doll whose arms and legs fall off to a dress up big foot doll who is presently wearing a Hawaiian shirt, Angela has a little bit of everything. Some of which can be found in the Museum’s Gift Shop and some, like her Sharknado promotional table tent, cannot.

Moon walking Bigfoot is too cool for school.

Moon walking Bigfoot is too cool for school.

Jeff

Jeff White, Manager of Guest Services and Team Leader at our Springfield facility, is the first to deny being a little nerdy, but his love of cartoons, like Fat Albert, says otherwise. Not only does Jeff’s Saturday morning routine include an hour and a half of Fat Albert and hand feeding his Venus Fly Trap, he’s also a horror movie buff and loves visiting archaeological sites.

101_0469

Jeff has his eye on you!

Dawn

Dawn, our Director of Education and Exhibit Initiatives, started off by expressing her love of cooking gadgets (she makes wedding cakes!), but later she revealed that she plans her vacations around Renaissance Fairs. Not only that, she was kicked out of one in Tennessee–not because she stole someone’s “helm”, but because she was wearing a shirt that showed her midriff…that she bought at a different Renaissance Fair.

Dawn would have been valedictorian at Hogwartz and now runs Harry Potter Camps at the Boonshoft Museum.

Dawn would have been valedictorian at Hogwarts, but she was so smart she got promoted to being a professor almost immediately. She now runs Harry Potter Camps at the Boonshoft Museum.

Mark

Reptiles, amphibians, mammals, you name it—Mark Mazzei, the Museum’s Curator of Live Animals, has probably worked with it. He’s fearless in the face of poison dart frogs (p.s. they are only poisonous in the wild) and can definitely out run the Museum’s sloth. By far Mark’s favorites are the Monkees — and no — that’s not spelled incorrectly. Mark is a HUGE Monkees fan (he admits he’s probably a bigger fan that any individual should be) in addition to being a walking encyclopedia when it comes to 80’s new wave and punk rock. So hipsters beware, Mark has totally heard that rare Ramones cut way before you did and he probably has it on vinyl.

MarkLivingDayton

Credit: Living Dayton, Mark hams it up with Sheldon on Living Dayton

Kristy

Kristy, Director of Public Relations and Marketing, geeks out about quite a bit, from politics to sci-fi classics like Doctor Who and the X-Files. Her biggest infatuation is from Area 51 and lies underneath the grounds of Wright-Patterson Air Force Base…supposedly. Kristy is a huge fan of conspiracy theories, no matter how ridiculous. Ancient Aliens? She watches it! Paul McCartney is really dead? Might be. You name the theory, Kristy has heard of it!

...because, Aliens!

…because, Aliens!

Mark

Mark Meister, President and CEO of the Dayton Society of Natural History (Boonshoft Museum Dayton and Springfield, SunWatch, and Fort Ancient) geeks out about something very specific, and very adorable: Hummingbirds! Mark loves these speedy birds so much that he arranged his hummingbird feeder to sit next to his dining room, so he and his little friends can enjoy a meal together. He also enjoys occasionally spotting hummingbird moth, deceptively similar to a hummingbird.

Mark Meister is unfazed by certain dino danger.

Mark Meister is unfazed by certain dino danger.

So what’s the moral of the story? Everyone has something about them that could be considered geeky, whether it’s a hobby or an occupation, so why not embrace the geekiness! If being a geek means you have a wide range of interests, a thirst for knowledge, and play games without cheat codes, we think that’s pretty awesome. So, tells us what makes you a geek by using the hashtag #getyourgeekon and tweet us or Instagram us @boonshoftmuseum—and while you’re at it, purchase your tickets for GeekFest 2015 at the Boonshoft Museum by clicking here.