Sky Watching/Astronomy

For millennia, birds have migrated lengthy distances, guided by the moon and stars. But as dark skies dwindle around the globe, scientists wonder how light pollution affects this natural phenomenon. One unlikely light source provided a unique research opportunity. For one night a year—September 11, in the midst of warblers’ and small passerines’ migration—two beams…

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We started looking for a moose as soon as we arrived in the Maine Woods. Around each bend in the road, across every marsh or pond, we expected to see the gangly outline of the state’s most iconic mammal. So on our last evening, while walking a waterfront path below AMC’s newly rebuilt Medawisla Lodge…

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Years ago, in response to a visitor’s question, “How far can you see from here?” a Lakes of the Clouds Hut croo member was heard to reply, “If you look at the sun, you can see 93 million miles.” All kidding aside, today’s AMC croo members are shining sources of information on celestial bodies, as…

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It may be getting cold out, but the winter night sky is a spectacular site. If you can visit a dark site (such as one of the AMC’s huts or lodges), take advantage of this time to see the sky when the brightest stars are out. Mighty Orion is rising at sunset, with red Betelgeuse…

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When I was growing up, my bedroom ceiling was adorned with plastic glow-in-the-dark stars, comets, and galaxies. Every night I’d lie in my bed and marvel at the constellations glowing above me––some invented, others favorites from the summer night sky: Cassiopeia, the queen; the Big and Little Dippers; Draco, the dragon. I’d seal off my…

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For kids who like nature, science, treasure hunts, and maybe even a little friendly competition, a BioBlitz is an ideal activity, one in which a whole family or even a school can participate. For anyone unfamiliar with the term, a BioBlitz is essentially a 24-hour program to find and identify as many species of plants,…

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The autumnal equinox occurs tonight, September 22, at precisely 10:29 PM Eastern time. It’s a milestone celestial event, one that marks the official end of summer and start of fall. It’s also got a few other fun and useful implications. First some quick background. The equinox is defined as the precise moment when the sun…

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After learning how the two experts interviewed in this article became interested in astronomy, some parents may want to run right out and buy a telescope for their children. Both Amanda Thompson, who works at the Charles Hayden Planetarium at the Museum of Science in Boston, and Douglas Arion, who, among other things, is a…

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When parents consider how a child learns to appreciate and understand the natural world, they often focus on time spent outdoors. But there can be a connection to time spent indoors: kids poring over descriptions and explanations, photographs and illustrations, as if learning in the laps of naturalists who came before. I recently talked with…

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