Tuesday, January 29, 2013

The DC Women's Hiking Group will hike Tues., Jan. 29th and Thurs., Jan. 31st at starting at Lewisboro Park in NY.
Take 35 to Park entrance on left.
Meet at 8:30am.

Thursday, January 24, 2013

Connecticut's New Official Groundhog

The Lutz Children's Museum in Manchester is the home of Connecticut's official Groundhog, Chuckles VIII.  Chuckles came to live at the museum when it was determined that he had too many health problems to live in the wild.  He has recovered from his surgeries and is now ready to take on the official Groundhog Day duty.   To get acquainted with our newest State celebrity, 
we will quote a entry from his diary provided by the museum staff:

"Every morning, I wake up in my spacious cage at the Lutz Children's Museum. After a good stretch, I check to see if there is anything good to eat in my bowl. Usually, I have eaten all of my favorite things, like bananas and oranges already, so there is only rabbit pellets and lettuce left over. Then I hear the familiar sound of someone opening the refrigerator and I scratch on the door of my cage to let everyone know that I want my breakfast. One of the animal volunteers opens the door and lets me out for some exercise. I want a banana first, so I stand on my hind feet and reach up to her and give my most adorable groundhog look until she gives me one. When you are as famous as I am, people usually give you what you want. If they don't, I just wait until they open the refrigerator again and then I jump inside and help myself.

After a snack, I take a stroll around the animal exhibit until the volunteer is done cleaning my cage. Then I hop back in to inspect her handiwork. It is never to my liking, so I spend the next ten minutes ripping up all the newspaper that she lined the cage with and stuffing it in to my house. By now I am pretty tired, so I curl up for a nap in my litter box.

Later, I will wake up to snack on some carrots and broccoli. I will need energy for tonight, when I stay up to read the farmer's almanac and study weather maps. I need to prepare for my first weather prediction on February 2, 2013. That is the day when I will be sworn in as Connecticut's Official Groundhog!"
For more information on the Litz Museum:  www.lutzmuseum.org or call (860)643-0949

Friday, January 18, 2013

The Discovery Center Women's Hiking Group will hike Tues., Jan. 22nd and Thurs., Jan. 24th at
Scott Lot Preserve in Redding, CT.

Coming from the north on Route 7 turn left onto Old Redding Rd. Right after going under RR bear right onto Mountain Rd. Follow Mountain Rd. to end and turn left onto Peaceable St. Parking for the open space will be on the left. If you come to an electrical substation, you went too far.
 Meet at 8:30am.

Tuesday, January 15, 2013

The DC Women's Hiking Group will hike Tues., Jan. 15th and Thurs., Jan.17th at
Tarrywile Park in Danbury. Take 84 to the Airport Exit. Take a right at the
light at end of ramp. Follow road to stop sign and make sharp right turn onto
Southern Blvd. Stay on Southern Blvd. There will be signs for Tarrywile
Park. Follow signs and make a right to Tarrywile. Immaculate H.S. will be
on the left and the parking lot for Tarrywile will be on the right side. Meet
at 8:30am.

Monday, January 7, 2013

The DC Women's Hiking Group will hike on Tues., Jan. 8th and Thurs., Jan. 10th at Pine Mountain in Ridgefield.
Take Pine Mountain Road to the end.
Parking is on the right side of the road.
Meet at 8:30am.

Saturday, January 5, 2013

Jan 2013 Constellation of the Month – Auriga

Auriga is a prominent constellation high in the Northeast.  It is north of Taurus, our Feb 2012 constellation of the month, and east of Perseus, our Jan 2012 constellation of the month. The band of the Milky Way passes through Auriga between Perseus to the West and Gemini to the East.   Auriga is shaped like a pentagon, or a child's drawing of a house.  It has one magnitude 0 star, Capella, and the other four are 2nd magnitude.  

 Like so many other stars, Capella is a multiple star. It is comprised of 4 stars, made up of 2 binary pairs which orbit around each other.  One is a pair of bright yellow stars in the same category (G) as our Sun.  They are each 10 times as large as the Sun.  This may be because they are expanding on their way to becoming Red Giant stars, which is near the final stage of the life of stars like the Sun.  The other two are red dwarf stars.  These are small-mass stars which are relatively cool.  Red stars – like red flames on earth are cooler than yellow stars like the Sun, which are, in turn, cooler than blue or white stars.  Being of lower mass and cooler than other stars, they evolve more slowly and live longer than massive blue or white stars.

  Points of interest in Auriga include two eclipsing variable stars.  These appear to vary in brightness when viewed from the earth, because the two stars appear either side-by-side or one in front of the other.  Other variable stars actually change their brightness by expanding and contracting.  Auriga is also home to 3 bright open star clusters – M36, M37, and M 38.  They can all be seen in one field of view with wide-angle binoculars.