So You Want to See the Total Solar Eclipse This August

By JOE CHILDERS

Chances are you’ve heard that a rare astronomical event is happening on August 21; a total eclipse of the Sun.  Not only is it rare (there hasn’t been one visible from the Miami Valley since 831 CE), it is also spectacular!  Indeed, eclipse expert Fred Espenak,  who has been under the moon’s shadow more than twenty times, says “In rating natural wonders, on a scale of 1 to 10 a total solar eclipse is a million.”

 

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Total Solar Eclipse In France 1999   (Luc Viatour/wwwLucnix.be)

 

From Dayton this August we’ll see a deep partial eclipse—close, but no cigar.  We will get to see a total (or totality) solar eclipse on April 8, 2024, but if you’re impatient or don’t want to risk bad weather, you’ll want to travel down to Kentucky or Tennessee to see this year’s eclipse.

Here are three things you need to know:

  1. Do not expect to find a hotel, campground, or any other kind of accommodations whatsoever within driving distance of the eclipse path.

When it’s been forty years since the last American total solar eclipse, people who have been looking forward their entire lives to this got their reservations in early—up to three years ago!  So plan to sleep in your car, if at all.

  1. Do expect that traffic will be horrible that morning.

Everyone else who realized at this late date that there are no accommodations available will be driving in the morning of.  The eclipse happens around 2:30 p.m. or so in the afternoon, varying a little by location. You want to get into the path of totality many hours before that, lest you risk being stuck in traffic outside of totality.

  1. Do know that the eclipse is definitely worth taking a day off work, pulling the kids out of school, and putting up with nasty logistics to go see in person!

One cannot overemphasize how impressive a total solar eclipse is.  Photographs like this one do not do it justice.  Everyone has a limited number of opportunities to see a total solar eclipse in their lifetime, and everyone who sees one remembers it for the rest of their life!

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                        Solar Eclipse Map Across Kentucky                       (GreatEclipse.Com © Michael Zeiler 2014)

So my suggestion is this: plan to drive down in the pre-dawn hours of August 21, map out state highways that are less likely than interstates to be congested, and plan to see the eclipse from a box-store parking lot or a similar easily-accessed location.  But if you decide to stay in the Miami Valley, come on down to the Boonshoft Museum that day for all sorts of fun, eclipse activities for our partial eclipse!

Visit https://www.greatamericaneclipse.com for more on this topic.

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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!

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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.

Falcon Cam Update – March 30, 2017

By LIZ TOTH

Surprise! The female falcon laid her eggs out of view on a ledge located on the southeast side of the building.  The falcons had been visiting the nest box during the first two weeks of March and even built a scrape, a loosely constructed nest, but ultimately chose a different location to lay their eggs.  Four eggs were noticed on this ledge on March 24.

The earliest date eggs have been laid in the past was March 17 so all eyes were on the nest box starting on this date.  During this time the falcons were mysteriously absent in the box but still present around the Liberty Savings Tower.

Upon further inspection of the building, the eggs were found on a ledge on the side of the building that can only be reached by rappelling down from the roof.  The eggs seem to be in good condition and the falcons are tending to the eggs.  The falcons have laid eggs on this type of ledge before but unfortunately, a lack of protection from the weather caused the eggs to fail on the ledge in 2011.

A drain is present on the ledge to remove rainwater but there is no protection from the weather from the top like there is in the nest box.  We are in the process of attempting to point a camera down on the nest so the eggs can be monitored with little disturbance to the nest.  Check back for updates on the falcons and their eggs.

Summer is a Great Time to Be a Member!

We’re counting down the minutes until summer begins and we bet you are too. There’s so much to do: plan your vacations, summer camps, family outings, activities, and more. The list could go on forever, even though the summer season is only three months long. If your goals is to have some great summer family experiences that keep the kiddos happy — and probably more importantly, keep you under budget — check out a Dayton Society of Natural History Membership!

New and current Members can maximize their Memberships this summer with so many things to do, see, and experience in just three short months:

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The cost of a Museum Membership, transportation, and snacks (because everyone needs snacks!), can get you an entire summer of entertainment, family memories, and fun.

Here are some Dayton Society of Natural History summer highlights you won’t want to miss (bonus: everything listed below is either FREE for Members or Museum Members receive a discount).

New Exhibitions: Both the Boonshoft Museum of Discovery & SunWatch will welcome new exhibitions this summer. On June 4 the Amazing Butterflies opens at the Boonshoft Museum and Johnny Appleseed opens at SunWatch later on during the summer season. Members enjoy a special sneak preview of Amazing Butterflies from 9:00 a.m. – Noon on June 4 before it opens to the public.

Special Events: From Movie Nights at the Museum to the Keeping the Tradition Pow Wow hosted at SunWatch by the Miami Valley Council for Native Americans, there are some stellar events that you won’t want to miss this summer, here are some of the highlights:

Fort Ancient: Summer Solstice Sunrise on June 19, Nature Hike on July 9, Archaeology Day on July 16.

SunWatch: Keeping the Tradition Pow Wow on June 25-26, Kids’ Days throughout the summer.

Boonshoft Museum of Discovery: Movie Nights at the Museum (A Bug’s Life in June and Frozen in August), Red White & Boonshoft on July 4, and our Meerkat Mob’s Birthday on July 30.

To learn more or purchase a Membership, visit www.boonshoftmuseum.org.

 

 

 

7 Experiences That Treat Your Sweetheart This Sweetest Day!

Mark your calendars! Sweetest Day is just about a week away, and this year, it’s all about special experiences with your loved ones. The prequel to Valentine’s Day, Sweetest Day is a Midwest tradition, a day to celebrate your sweethearts, whether they are your partners, friends, or family.

While fall is immensely busy with school, extracurricular activities, and football (go Flyers, go Bucks), you still have a chance to make Sweetest Day special with some inexpensive, thoughtful experiences and activities that far surpass the typical “flowers and chocolates” routine.

7 Fun Experiences For You and Your Sweetheart This Sweetest Day, October 17:

Take a fall hike and enjoy the scenery! Fort Ancient is the perfect place for a fall hike. Not only will you be able to soak in all of the colors of fall, you will also get to see all of the historic features that make Fort Ancient and southwestern Ohio so special, like the 2000-year-old man made earthworks. Bring a camera to capture the changing of the seasons and the serene nature that is a part of this National Historic Landmark.

Access to the hiking trails, biking trails, and interpretive center are included with regular admission.

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Fall at Fort Ancient

Dig into some fun! On October 17, from 2:00 – 5:00 p.m., the Boonshoft Museum’s sister site, SunWatch, and the Archaeological Institute of America are hosting a day filled with history, games, and more! International Archaeology Day gives guests the chance to have professionals ID oddities found in your very own home. Visitors will also get to participate in guided tours of this prehistoric Village that is nestled just a stone’s throw away from downtown Dayton. International Archaeology Day is FREE to the public.

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SunWatch is the oldest National Historic Landmark in Dayton!

Give Back Together! Committing your time to volunteer as a family or with your significant other is always a great experience. Whether you clean out your cabinets and bring canned goods to a food drive, commit to a day of volunteering at a local organization, or make a donation to your favorite local charity, giving back always makes you feel accomplished.

The Dayton Society of Natural History is always looking for Volunteers for special events, projects, and daily Museum duties. We also have a myriad of different ways you can give to the Society, from making a gift to a cuddly member of our Zoo crew to supporting a specific Society site.

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We All Scream For Ice Cream!
Share a science-fueled ice cream sundae! Foodies and scientists alike will love this DIY Ice Cream Experiment. All you need is a few household items and all the fixings to make your perfect sundae.

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Space, Science, Natural History, and a Picnic!
Spend the morning bird watching in the MeadWestvaco Treehouse, take a stroll through the Discovery Zoo, stop by our newest exhibition, Cut From the Same Cloth, and then enjoy an outdoor lunch in our beautiful Amphitheater. The Boonshoft Museum has offerings for guests of all ages, so pack a picnic and enjoy!

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rotators_9_158Get Into The Spirit of the Season! We love a good Halloween costume and we have plenty of occasions at the Boonshoft Museum Dayton and Springfield for you to wear one! Spend the afternoon DIYing a creative costume with your sweetie, then show it off at Spirits: Halloween at the Boonshoft Museum.  This 21+ event makes for a great date night!

A Family Affair! If you are celebrating Sweetest Day with all of the sweethearts in your life, consider taking a trip to the Boonshoft Museum of Discovery Springfield. Hands-on public programs, exhibits, and their newest traveling exhibition, Children of Hangzhou, are all included with regular admission.

To learn more about all of our Dayton Society of Natural History sites, click on the links below:

Boonshoft Museum of Discovery Dayton

Fort Ancient

SunWatch

Boonshoft Museum of Discovery Springfield