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New worlds to be named by popular vote (and their stars too!)

by Tanya Hill
Publish date
27 October 2015
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Exoplanet Twenty planetary systems will be named by the public, but get in quick as voting closes soon.
Source: ESO/L. Calçada, CC BY

Twenty years ago this month, astronomers announced the discovery of the first planet found orbiting an ordinary star, one quite similar to our sun but a few billion years older. The star was 51 Pegasi and its planet was designated 51 Pegasi b. Now it’s up to you to give them both new names.

Until October 31, people world-wide are invited to vote on a popular name for 51 Pegasi and its planet (along with 20 other planetary systems). In the running are Carl and Dot to honour the popular American astronomer Carl Sagan and acknowledge his poetic description of Earth as a “pale blue dot”.

Although, considering that 51 Pegasi b is known as a hot Jupiter – it’s a giant planet that orbits so close to 51 Pegasi that its surface temperature is almost 1,000 degrees Celsius as it whips around its orbit in just four days – you might consider a vote for Carousel and Carousel Hell b to be more appropriate.

The public vote has been organised by the International Astronomical Union (IAU) via its NameExoWorlds program. The IAU governs the names given to astronomical objects, a role it began in 1922 when it standardised and formally recognised the 88 constellations that map the entire sky.

Name me a planet

Close to 2,000 exoplanets (an abbreviation of extrasolar planets) have been discovered in the past 20 years and the list of exoplanets awaiting confirmation now stands at more than 3,500. It’s not surprising that the NameExoWorlds program has culled this down to a much more reasonable number.

100 billion exoplanets It’s estimated there are at least 100 billion exoplanets within the Milky Way Galaxy, more than enough for every individual on Earth to potentially name at least one.
Source: NASA, ESA, and M. Kornmesser (ESO)

With the help of Astronomy clubs and non-profit organisations the IAU produced a top 20 listing of the most popular planetary systems. Some of the systems contain multiple planets, giving a total of 32 exoplanets to be named and each astronomy group was given the special privilege of proposing names for one complete planetary system in the top 20 list.

To ensure that the exoplanets were all well-established, every system was discovered prior to 2009. This also means that these are giant worlds; most are comparable to or even more massive than Jupiter. It’s only in recent times that Earth-like planets have been found, thanks to NASA’s highly successful Kepler Space Telescope and instruments such as HARPS (High Accuracy Radial velocity Planet Searcher) operated by the European Southern Observatory (ESO).

Taking the world to the skies

Proposals were received from 45 countries and it’s interesting to see the mix of cultural influences. For example, two of the proposals for the xi Aquila system draw their inspiration from the system’s location in the constellation of Aquila, the eagle. One is Houoh and Kiri and the other is Gobidin and Ewinon.

We’re told that Houoh, is a mythical phoenix-like bird from East Asia and Kiri is the only tree on which it perches. While Gobidin and Ewinon, are eagle and feather in the language of the Beothuk people, a now extinct cultural group who were indigenous to the island of Newfoundland, Canada.

However, there are some proposed names that seem a little odd, particularly Leisurely Fish, Vegetarian, and Starry Bunnies. Although I definitely recommend taking a look at the potential names for the five exoplanet system of 55 Cancri as some interesting themes have been established.

Proposed Names for 55 Cancri and its five planets Proposed Names for 55 Cancri and its five planets
Source: Background image: NASA/JPL-Caltech

What’s in a name?

In addition to naming the exoplanets, for the first time in centuries the public can decide the names of fifteen stars. The NameExoWorlds program opens up a genuine opportunity to name a star and for that name to be officially recognised, alongside each star’s scientific designations (stars tend to have multiple of these, for example, 51 Pegasi has forty identifiers).

There are only 15 stars to be named as the other stars that make up the top 20 planetary systems are quite bright and already have common names. Although it’s likely you haven’t heard of them all. One of the stars is Pollux, one of the twin stars found in the constellation Gemini, and named from Greek and Roman mythologies.

The other bright stars, along with almost all of the commonly named stars in the sky, have names derived from Arabic. Many of these originate from the tenth-century Persian astronomer Abd al-Rahman al-Sufi, who based his work on the ancient Greek star catalogue by Ptolemy.

The Arabic names give us: Fomalhaut - the fish’s mouth (found within Piscis Austrinus, the southern fish); Errai - the shepherd (found within Cepheus, king of Ethiopia); Edasich – the hyena (found within Draco, the dragon); and Ain – the eye (found within Taurus, the bull).

The constellation of Taurus, the bull. The constellation of Taurus, the bull as depicted in Al-Sufi’s Book of the Fixed Stars, a revision of Ptolemy’s Almagest with Arabic star names and drawings of the constellations. Dated 1009-10 (A.H. 400).
Source: The Bodleian Library, University of Oxford.

I designate you …

All the other stars in the program are currently recognised only by their catalogue designations. For instance 51 Pegasi, from the northern constellation of Pegasus, is identified by its Flamsteed number ‘51’. This number comes from a star atlas produced in 1712 by Britain’s first Astronomer Royal, John Flamsteed.

Contentiously that atlas was published without Flamsteed’s approval. In fact, he burnt 300 of the 400 copies ever made. Flamsteed’s official catalogue published in 1725, does not even include the numbers that he is now famous for.

So how exactly are the Flamsteed numbers obtained? They relate to the position of each star within its constellation. Just as longitude and latitude are used to locate a specific position on the Earth, astronomers use coordinates known as right ascension and declination to identify the position of all astronomical objects.

Flamsteed’s catalogues, which kept stars grouped together by their constellations, was the first to arrange those groupings in order of increasing right ascension. If you’re looking northward, the Flamsteed number orders stars by their position in a constellation running west to east. It’s not quite so straightforward when looking towards the south, as constellations circle around the south celestial pole and therefore can appear upside down at times.

Looking south For southern constellations, right ascension runs from west to east whenever the constellation is upright or located above the south celestial pole.
Source: Á.R.L-S.

From alpha to omega

Before Flamsteed, the original major printed star atlas was the 1603 Uranometria, produced in Germany by Johann Bayer. In this catalogue, stars within a constellation are identified by their Bayer letter. This is generally a letter of the Greek alphabet - for example epsilon Eridani, one of the stars in the NameExoWorlds program that is extremely popular within science fiction.

The epsilon Eridani system The Babylon 5 space station was located in the epsilon Eridani system. In this artist concept of the ‘real’ epsilon Eridani system, there is a well hidden silhouette that may be familiar to fans of the TV series (zoom in towards the lower middle of the image).
Source: NASA/JPL-Caltech

For his catalogue, Bayer listed stars by decreasing brightness, assigning letters of the Greek alphabet from alpha to omega. When he ran out of Greek letters, he used a capital A, but then followed this with lowercase letters b through to z (omitting j and v, for some reason).

It’s often pointed out that some stars labelled alpha in the Bayer designation are not actually the brightest stars within their constellation. In fact, there are 16 constellations where this is true. Certainly, stellar magnitudes could not be measured as accurately as they are today, but that’s not the whole story.

It seems that Bayer didn’t strictly order stars by their brightness. Stars of a similar brightness were sometimes ordered by right ascension (just like the Flamsteed numbers), or by declination (denoting their position running north to south), or even by following the general shape of the constellation.

That’s something I find quite interesting about astronomy. Things are not often as precise as you might think, reflecting astronomy’s long history and also the idiosyncrasies that people brought to their work.

The modern era

Stars identified in the modern era are generally part of an extensive catalogue and as result, the naming schemes are typically bland but functional. Stars in the NameExoWorlds program that are identified by their HD number are taken from the Henry Draper Catalogue, a rich spectroscopic catalogue of 225,300 stars published early last century. It was from this catalogue that the Harvard Spectral Classification of stars was produced, which organises stars by their surface temperatures.

Finally, there is the star PSR 1257+12, quite a famous planetary system, as the central star is a pulsar and its three planets were the first exoplanets to ever be discovered; two were found in 1992 and the third in 1994. It follows the usual designation for pulsars, with the acronym PSR identifying it as a pulsar, followed by the pulsar’s celestial coordinates of right ascension and declination.

Pulsar and its planets Bathed in the intense radiation from the pulsar, this is truly a strange environment for three exoplanets.
Source: NASA/JPL-Caltech/R. Hurt (SSC)

Pulsars emit beams of radiation and as they rotate, these beams sweep past Earth much like the beam of a lighthouse. For that reason I am quite partial towards naming PSR 1257+12 based on the children’s book ‘Moominpappa at Sea’ by the Finnish author Tove Jansson (a favourite series in my household). The pulsar would become Fyren (Swedish for ‘The Lighthouse’), and its planets would be Lillamy (small and fast), Mumin (a central character to the story) and Marron (the outsider).

Just be sure to visit the NameExoWorlds website before October 31 to vote for your favourites!

The Conversation

Tanya Hill, Honorary Fellow of the University of Melbourne and Senior Curator (Astronomy), Museum Victoria

This article was originally published on The Conversation. Read the original article.

How cute is that?

by Patrick
Publish date
19 October 2015
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Melbourne Museum recently participated in the global #Cuteoff on Twitter, where researchers from around the world posted photos of their supposedly ‘cute’ study animals. Given that many of these posts featured snails, turtles, spiders, squid and sea sponges, it begs the question whether cuteness is in the eye of the beholder.

Whipbird chick This baby Whipbird (Psophodes olivaceus) from the Forest Gallery is small, fluffy and vulnerable – in other words quite cute.
Image: Patrick Honan
Source: Museum Victoria

Konrad Lorenz, the pioneering ethologist, first dissected cuteness in the 1940s with the concept of Kindchenschema (‘baby schema’), identifying that juvenile, or paedomorphic, traits are the key. From an evolutionary point of view, paedomorphic traits are a significant advantage to very young individuals, as they push the buttons of adult humans, encouraging their nurturing side. Cuteness in humans can be further broken down as the sum of certain traits (tiny chin and nose, chubby cheeks, large eyes and rosy complexion), where each element is a cumulative index of cuteness. When these features are enhanced in photos of adult subjects in scientific experiments, observers see the subjects as progressively cuter and report increasingly pleasurable and caring emotions.

Tawny Frogmouth Blinky, one of the Forest Gallery’s Tawny Frogmouths (Podargus strigoides). Blinky has large, wide-set eyes and a disproportionately large head, making him definitively cute.
Image: Chloe Miller
Source: Museum Victoria

The propensity to nurture cuteness is also applied by humans to other animal species with the same traits. Animals that have a flat face, short nose, large ears and large, expressive, wide-set forward-facing eyes are too irresistible to refuse. And the more exaggerated these features, the more appealing they are, as demonstrated by the Hello Kitty phenomenon and kawaii culture in Japan. A number of theories suggest many breeds of cats and dogs have been selectively bred to emphasise these characters, and this appears to be easier than you might think.

Silver Fox The Silver Fox (Vulpes vulpes)
Image: Zefram
Source: Creative Commons: CC-BY-SA-3.0

In 50 years of experiments in the Soviet Union, scientist Dimitri Belyaev domesticated the Silver or Siberian Fox, a silver morph of the Red Fox (Vulpes vulpes). By choosing the tamest offspring from each litter, i.e. individuals that were less likely to flee or more likely to whimper and sniff and lick the handler, Belyaev also inadvertently selected the retention of paedomorphic traits. After 40 generations the foxes had larger, floppy ears, shorter or curly tails, and shorter snouts.

Pobblebonk The large, toad-like Pobblebonk (Limnodynastes dumerilii) upping its cuteness index by adopting a tap dancer’s stance.
Image: Melvin Nathan
Source: Museum Victoria

Animals that are not otherwise cute can, in certain situations, enhance their cuteness factor by adopting human attitudes or being associated with familiar human objects.

Alpine Blue-tongue Lizard The comportment of Beth, an otherwise cranky Alpine Blue-tongue Lizard (Tiliqua nigrolutea), can be significantly softened and her cuteness improved when wrapped in a towel.
Image: Chloe Miller
Source: Museum Victoria

Healthy juvenile traits also play a role in cuteness – clear eyes, smooth skin, a pink glow (i.e. sufficient blood circulation) and bilateral symmetry. However, a helpless baby animal obviously in recovery from an illness or injury does sometimes press additional buttons.

Mountain Dragon The Mountain Dragon Falcor (Rankinia diemensis). Although not particularly cute on his own, the bandage raises Falcor’s cuteness factor several fold.
Image: Melvin Nathan
Source: Museum Victoria

Animals that can clearly look after themselves fail to evoke the cute response. Venomous animals, such as spiders and snakes, for example, or spiky or heavily armoured animals, require no nurturing from us. Animals with fewer than four legs, such as worms, or animals with more than four legs, such as centipedes, also elicit no empathy.

Prickly Katydid The antithesis of cuteness. The Prickly Katydid (Phricta spinosa) is laden with spikes and other armour, and well able to look after itself.
Image: Patrick Honan
Source: Patrick Honan

Charities and wildlife groups latched on to the cute factor many years ago. For an endangered species, being cute is definitely an evolutionary advantage these days. A baby panda or harp seal will always get more attention and funding than an endangered snail or spider. According to Canadian ecologist Ernie Small, this is skewing the world’s conservation efforts (and biodiversity in general in the long run) towards the cute and fluffy. It’s reflected in the dollars spent on saving endangered species – highest for the charismatic megafauna and lowest for reptiles, invertebrates and plants, with the number of paedomorphic traits directly proportional to the dollars spent. Ernie Small goes as far as listing the features that will boost a conservation project.

Mitchell's Hopping Mice The cute-as-hell Mitchell’s Hopping Mice (Notomys mitchelli) behaving cutely. This species is listed as ‘Near Threatened’ in Victoria.
Image: Patrick Honan
Source: Museum Victoria

So it’s no wonder all researchers want their study animals to be the cutest. Perhaps social scientist Paris Hilton said it best: “The only rule is don’t be boring and be cute wherever you go. Life is too short to blend in”.

Vale Ken Porter

by Liza Dale-Hallett
Publish date
12 October 2015
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Liza Dale-Hallett is Senior Curator Sustainable Futures at Museum Victoria.

After a number of years of ill health Ken Porter passed away on Saturday 3 October. Ken was a key player in the interpretation and development of the HV McKay Sunshine Collection and has been an invaluable contributor to Museum Victoria. 

The H.V. McKay collection dates from 1884 with the extraordinary story of the ‘energy, vision and pluck’ of Hugh Victor McKay. Who, at the age of 18, built a stripper harvester prototype and went on to create the largest manufacturing enterprise in the Southern Hemisphere, known as the Sunshine Harvester Works.

In the mid-1950s the McKay family sold its interests in the company to the global giant Massey Ferguson. The name of McKay was unceremoniously chiselled off the Sunshine head office buildings, the timber panelling and desks were painted over with Massey Ferguson grey, and hundreds of workers lost their jobs.  Ken Porter started his 41 years work as a ‘Massey Ferguson man’ in 1956, right in the middle of this difficult transition.

Man with crate Ken Porter with the mysterious crate he rescued from a dumpster.
Image: Rodney Start
Source: Museum Victoria

The breath and scale of the H.V. McKay Sunshine Collection was the result of what Ken called a ‘quirk of fate’. In 1991, he spotted a wooden crate in a dump master, during a major clean-up at Massey Ferguson.  He thought the box might have been of some use to him at home, but when he recovered it he noticed that a square of cardboard had been nailed to it reading, “The plaster cast of H.V. McKay.  Not to be opened until another one needed”, signed Cecil McKay.

Ken knew this was important.  And with the help of a colleague Ron Doubleday, over the next two years they secretly rescued nearly 100 years of history. This ‘rubbish’ was squirreled away in the old Director’s Garage.  Ken liked to call this ‘Jurassic Park’ – it was long forgotten and littered with the skeletons of pigeons. The perfect hiding place for history. In 1993 Ken successfully secured the support of the company secretary, Ted Pask, to formally offer this substantial collection to Museum Victoria and the University of Melbourne Archives.

In 1996 Ken Porter worked closely with Senior Curator Liza Dale-Hallett to establish the McKay volunteer project.  He conscripted and led a team of 20 volunteers to identify and document the collection.  They represented a company experience of over 800 years.  About 200 ex-employees from across Australia also offered their expertise and memories. The McKay volunteers have catalogued and provided expert analysis of 28,000 images, 750 films, nearly 500 artefacts, over 10,000 trade and marketing publications. They have written stories that describe the 84 factory departments, the hundreds of types of farming equipment manufactured and the special stories associated with being part of the ‘Sunshine family’.

Ken also provided strategic advice on key themes and areas of research, identified opportunities for collection development and actively promoted the project to key stakeholders and community groups. His tireless commitment and enthusiasm has been an important ingredient in maintaining the volunteer team since 1996, and has been fundamental in increasing the significance of the collection and facilitating its public access.

Ken and his team were celebrated for their efforts in 2002 when they received the Victorian Museum Industry Recognition Award for the “most outstanding volunteer project in the Victorian Museum sector”.  Ken was also awarded an Honorary Associate by Museum Victoria in 2002 for his contribution to the development and interpretation of the McKay collection.

group of people with an award Ken and his team of volunteers received the Victorian Museum Industry Recognition Award for the “most outstanding volunteer project in the Victorian Museum sector".
Image: Rodney Start
Source: Museum Victoria

Ken described himself as a ‘Massey Ferguson man’ – and by jumping into a rubbish skip he became a man who made history. His special efforts, passion and vision were fundamental to creating and documenting one of the most significant industrial heritage collections in Australia.

Ken has not just made history – his commitment and enthusiasm has substantially enhanced the lives of hundreds of ex-employees who have been involved in documenting their lives and this remarkable history.

Ken was a great colleague and friend. He was loved by everyone.  He will be greatly missed.

H.V. McKay Sunshine Collection

Welcome to the family, Pluto

by Tanya Hill
Publish date
16 July 2015
Comments (3)
image of planets Welcome to the family. Ben Gross/twitter, CC BY-SA

What an amazing time for space exploration. The picture of the solar system from my childhood is now complete, as seen in this great family portrait produced by Ben Gross, a research fellow at the Chemical Heritage Foundation, and distributed via twitter.

I love this image because it shows each world in close-up, using some of the latest pictures from space exploration. As we celebrate seeing Pluto for the first time, it’s remarkable to think that this completes a 50 year task.

It has been NASA that has provided the first close-up views of all these worlds. Here’s the rundown:

  • Mercury: Mariner 10 (1973)
  • Venus: Mariner 2 (1962)
  • Mars: Mariner 4 (1965)
  • Jupiter: Pioneer 10 (1973)
  • Saturn: Pioneer 11 (1979)
  • Uranus: Voyager 2 (1985)
  • Neptune: Voyager 2 (1989) and
  • Pluto: New Horizons (2015)

But science never stays still. When New Horizons left Earth in January 2006, Pluto was a planet. Later that year an important reassessment was made of the Solar System and Pluto became the first of the dwarf planets.

The ‘Not-Planets’

The Planetary Society’s Senior Editor, Emily Lakdawalla, has teamed together the ‘Not-Planets’. These are the close-up views, shown to scale, that have been captured of the largest moons, asteroids and dwarf planets.

image of non-planets in the solar system Montage by Emily Lakdawalla. The Moon: Gari Arrillaga. Other data: NASA/JPL/JHUAPL/SwRI/UCLA/MPS/IDA. Processing by Ted Stryk, Gordan Ugarkovic, Emily Lakdawalla, and Jason Perry.

It clearly shows that there are many diverse and interesting worlds to explore beyond the eight planets of our solar system.

New Horizons is the first spacecraft to start exploring the Kuiper Belt, an icy realm of objects orbiting 5 billion kilometres or more beyond the sun. It’s the chance to observe a dwarf planet, something distinct from the terrestrial planets and the gas giants.

It was in 1992 that astronomers discovered Pluto was not alone. The first Kuiper Belt Object, designated 1992 QB1, is a 100-kilometre sized object that orbits well beyond Pluto.

Now more than 1,000 objects have been detected in this realm, and the belt likely contains many more. Most are small compared to Pluto, but there are some stand-outs such as Quaoar, and the dwarf planets Eris, Makemake and Haumea.

Don’t forget to phone home

The suspense of the mission has certainly been high. To maximise the amount of data that New Horizons could collect, the spacecraft did not communicate with Earth for the duration of the flyby. As described by Mission Operations Manager Alice Bowman, it was the moment when you let your child free.

The team had prepared New Horizons, told it what work needed to be done and in that radio silence they had to trust that all would go to plan.

Just before 11am today (AEST), New Horizons checked in – showing it to be the perfect child to the relief of its many anxious “parents”. It was only a brief phone home, but in that short time the scientists confirmed that all telemetry was spot-on, the spacecraft followed the path that had been set for it and there were no error messages recorded on any of the systems.

No data was transferred in that brief connection, but it was established that the main computer system, which records all the data collected by the spacecraft, showed the expected number of segments had been used. In other words, data had been collected.

We will soon see Pluto and Charon in even higher resolution. Their geology will be mapped, the surface compositions and temperatures will be measured, atmospheres will be probed and new discoveries will be made.

A love note from Pluto

It’s also been wonderful to see the public become so enthralled with the latest image from Pluto. Humans are incredibly good at spotting patterns and it seems that Pluto wears his heart on his sleeve for us.


I’m also equally intrigued to discover that the smooth part of Pluto’s heart is made of carbon monoxide ice. This was already known from ground-based observations, except never before seen in such detail. It’s reassuring to have a good match between the old and new data.

But look again … is it a heart or something entirely different stealing the show?



Tanya Hill is Honorary Fellow of the University of Melbourne and Senior Curator (Astronomy) at Museum Victoria.

This article was originally published on The Conversation. Read the original article.

The Honourable Joan Kirner

Dr Greene is the CEO of Museum Victoria.

Museum Victoria mourns Joan Kirner, the former Premier of Victoria, who served as a member of the museum's governing body from 2003 to 2012.

Joan Kirner speaking at the Joan Kirner speaking at the celebration of the 21st birthday of Scienceworks.
Source: Museum Victoria

Joan's first involvement with the museum occurred during her time as Premier of Victoria when she opened Scienceworks, an investment in the scientific life of the State that proved very forward-thinking.

Joan was an enthusiastic supporter of Museum Victoria. Just last week she was talking about ways in which she might help with one of the museum's current projects that is providing visibility to the role of women on farms in Australia. Her enthusiasm for efforts to recognise and encourage women in all aspects of public and personal life extended to many other aspects of social justice, including the rights of Aboriginal Australians. She was a member of the museum's Aboriginal Cultural Heritage Advisory Committee, and the development of the First Peoples exhibition in Bunjilaka was dear to her heart.

Joan's passions extended to wildlife, and particularly birds. She and Ron, her husband, went on camping trips that would bring them to places rich in birdlife until ill-health curtailed that activity. She was a great advocate for opportunities for the museum to display its rich collections of natural science specimens, culminating in the opening of the award-winning Wild: Amazing animals in a changing world at Melbourne Museum. As someone who placed the education of young people high on any agenda, the museum's ability to reach and inspire hundreds of thousands of children was a source of considerable pleasure. Joan was also on the Immigration Museum Advisory Committee and was a strong advocate for youth engagement which resulted in the Talking Difference project.

I enjoyed working with Joan Kirner enormously during her nine years (the maximum term) as a Board member. Her enthusiasm was matched by her keen intellect: she was a constant source of wisdom. When she stepped down from the Board, Joan was appointed an Honorary Life Fellow of Museum Victoria and she continued to take a close interest in its progress. Her insights into the politics and personalities of Victoria were always valuable and frequently amusing. She was held in high regard by everyone associated with Museum Victoria and we will miss her greatly.

Junior Dino Experts

by Kate C
Publish date
28 May 2015
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The very young are most susceptible to dino fever. In children, the symptoms are very clear: compulsive recitation of dinosaur names, a predilection for dinosaur motifs on every surface, a hyper-alert state anytime they 're near a fossil. In extreme cases, kids can reel off all the scientific inaccuracies in Jurassic Park. Fortunately, some kids never shake dino fever and they grow up to be palaeontologists.

Wayne Gerdtz curated two Melbourne Museum exhibitions that draw in lots of visitors: 600 Million Years: Victoria evolves and Dinosaur Walk. A chronic case himself, Wayne recalls a childhood filled with lurid dinosaur books. Since he grew up in remote country Victoria, his visits to the museum in Melbourne were infrequent and much anticipated. One prized souvenir from the 1970s exhibition Dinosaurs from China still hangs in his house. His palaeontological interests moved on to extinct mammals but dino fever still beats strongly in his heart.


Another trained palaeontologist, science educator Priscilla Gaff, thanks her Nana for fostering her interest in dinosaurs. From the age of 5 or 6, her Nana took her to the old museum every holidays. Cilla is still so afflicted by dino fever that she planned her upcoming overseas trip to include a visit to Mary Anning's old fossil-collecting grounds in Lyme Regis. (Anning herself hunted for fossils from a very young age and uncovered the first complete ichthyosaur skeleton when she was just 12, soon after her brother found the beast's skull.)

Mary Anning Portrait of Mary Anning with her dog Tray and the Golden Cap outcrop in the background. The painting is at the Natural History Museum, London.
Image: Credited to 'Mr. Grey'
Source: Public domain via Wikimedia

Now we seek the next generation of palaeontologists through the Junior Dino Expert Competition at Scienceworks. We are looking for children between the ages of 3–12 years of age who have a severe case of dino fever and a passion for sharing their dinosaur knowledge with others.  Applicants need to submit an application form and a creative response that demonstrates their love of dinosaurs. This could be a video, piece of writing, slide show, collage or anything else.

Junior Dino Expert Competition promo Junior Dino Expert Competition
Image: MV
Source: Museum Victoria

For details on how to enter, and a list of excellent prizes, visit the Junior Dino Expert Competition page. Be sure to have your entries in by Monday 8 June!


Tyrannosaurs – Meet the Family at Scienceworks

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