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From the Field: Sunsets, Sunrises, and Studying Stars

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Blogging from the Kitt Peak National Observatory in the Sonoran desert in Arizona, Jackie Faherty, a research scientist in the Museum’s Department of Astrophysics, is on an observing trip this month to study brown dwarfs and low-mass stars that are potential hosts to exoplanets. A major new exhibition about the future of space exploration opens at the Museum this fall.

One of the rituals that I follow without fail at a telescope is watching the sunset and sunrise.  It is an essential part of any observing run and a wonderful marker of how our work night begins and ends. Night five at Kitt Peak provided a spectacular sunset, with perfect pink and red puffy clouds on the horizon. This is actually terrible for observing as the pesky clouds interfere with collecting data from way out in the cosmos. Luckily, a few hours into the evening the majority of weather blew off, and I was able to take high-quality data.

Tags: Exoplanets

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Neil Tyson Named in Time Magazine's List of World's Best Tweeters

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Astrophysicist Neil deGrasse Tyson, who is the Frederick P. Rose Director of the Hayden Planetarium at the American Museum of Natural History, was named one of the world’s 140 most influential tweeters by Time this week in the magazine’s list of individuals and companies whose Twitter feeds are “shaping the conversation,” from politicians and celebrities to businesses like Starbucks and JetBlue Airways.

Tyson, who tweets as @neiltyson and has 130,000 followers, was one of 10 tweeters recognized in the Health and Science category, which also includes institutions such as the New York Academy of Sciences and the National Science Foundation, the British medical journal The Lancet, and writer Michael Pollan.

Follow @AMNH for more news from the Museum.

Tags: Neil deGrasse Tyson

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Grandfather and Grandson Set Record for Sleepovers

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When Gregory Cox was a teenager attending the Food and Maritime Trades School in the 1960s, he sometimes took advantage of a midday switch from the East Side campus to the West Side to skip school and head to the American Museum of Natural History.

“I didn’t take the [school] bus, I took the subway,” he recalls over the phone from his home in Brooklyn. “They never caught me!”

Cox, who lives in Brooklyn, went on to a career in ship repair, like his father, grandfather, and great-grandfather before him. Now retired and a Family-level Member, he loves sharing his longstanding affection for the Museum with his grandchildren, Shannon Concalves and Shane and Shamus Drucker of Staten Island.

Tags: Children's Programs, Members

Podcast

Podcast: Global Kitchen’s Smell (and Taste) the Roses

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Our sense of smell and how we experience aromas are influenced by a number of factors. In this podcast from Adventures in the Global Kitchen, “Smell and Taste the Roses,” explore how the human brain processes sensory input, and how memory influences eating desires and habits.

Join the discussion with Howard McGee, author of “On Food and Cooking;” perfumer Mandy Aftel; and nueuroscientist Jay Gottfield of Northwestern University.

The next Global Kitchen event, “Rooftop Farming: The New Frontier,” takes place at the Museum on April 27, 2011. Learn more about this monthly series of talks and tastings.

Recorded at the Museum on February 21, 2011.

Podcast: Download | RSS | iTunes (1 hour, 20 mins, 91 MB)

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Using Museum’s CT Scanner, Researcher Makes Defensive Discovery

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Edward Stanley, a doctoral candidate in comparative biology at the Museum’s Richard Gilder Graduate School, made a surprising discovery using the Museum’s new state-of-the-art CT scanner: the presence of tiny osteoderms, or bony plates, along the legs of the craglizard Pseudocordylus subviridis. This particular lizard was thought to have such plates, which are believed to serve as protective armor, only on its head and tail.

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