MV Blog

DISPLAYING POSTS FROM: Jun 2013 (4)

Ally the possum

Author
by Max
Publish date
25 June 2013
Comments
Comments (1)

Ally the Possum Ally the Possum
Image: Simon O'Brien
Source: Simon O'Brien

Guess who's back! No it's not Slim Shady – it's Ally the albino possum! After assuming she was lost for good, we now have several confirmed sightings...well, sightings of an albino possum in the same neck of the woods. It was either Ally, or as our expert pointed out, it could be a 'once in a generation' relative. Anyway, there are photographs so you can be the judge.

Ally the Possum Ally the Possum
Image: Simon O'Brien
Source: Simon O'Brien

Simon from Hampton photographed her near Haileybury School in Hampton in early 2013 – that’s over two kilometres on the other side of the Nepean Highway from where she was first spotted. If you recall, she was brought to our attention by Steve Mitchelmore in January 2012, near Landcox Park in East Brighton. Apparently possums can range over large distances.

  Ally the Possum Up close and personal
Image: Rick
Source: Rick

She was also spotted and photographed by Rick who lives in East Brighton, again near Haileybury. Rick first spotted Ally in early 2012 with her mother, about the same time that Steve did. Six months later he saw her again, this time on the power lines – maybe that’s how she gets from one side of East Brighton to the other?

Such an adventurous possum - who knows where she’ll turn up next?

Supermoon .. or not?

Author
by Tanya
Publish date
23 June 2013
Comments
Comments (1)

There has been a lot of media attention about tonight's supermoon, but what's the real story?

The supermoon is really called a perigee moon. It's when the full moon occurs at perigee and the Moon is closest to us, on its orbit around the Earth.

perigee moon When the full moon occurs at perigee it is about 50,000km closer to us than an apogee moon.
Source: NASA
 

Ten years ago, NASA wrote one of the first blogs on the perigee moon, with the headline “But will anyone notice?” Two years ago, in 2011, the perigee moon was at its closest in almost 20 years. That's a pretty neat fact and NASA called it the super perigee Moon.

Well, since then it has taken off and now every perigee moon is earning the title of supermoon. 

perigee vs apogee moons A full moon at perigee can be 14% bigger than a full moon at apogee, but it's only easy to see the difference when the moons are side-by-side.
Source: NASA
 

The statistics sound amazing, over 10% bigger, almost 30% brighter, but that's in comparison to an apogee moon, which occurs when the full moon is furthest away from Earth. In truth, it’s not really enough to notice. Especially when you consider that most full moons across the year occur somewhere between these two extremes.

So by all means, go out and marvel at the magnificent full moon as it rises tonight at sunset and have a think about our place in the Universe – now that's what I call super!

Links:

ABC News: "Supermoon appears in Australian skies, bringing king tide"

Banded iron slab

Author
by Kate C
Publish date
11 June 2013
Comments
Comments (10)

Early this morning, we installed a huge, beautifully polished slab of banded iron at the entrance of the Dynamic Earth exhibition at Melbourne Museum.

Banded iron slab The banded iron slab showing its gorgeous coloured layers.
Source: Museum Victoria
 

The slab, donated by stonemason and artist Richard Williamson, is about three metres high and weighs 870 kilograms. Its wavy bands of red jasper and brown iron oxides record the rise of oxygen in the Earth's atmosphere.

About 2.7 billion years ago, the first oxygen-producing cyanobacteria (blue-green algae) completely transformed the Earth by releasing oxygen during photosynthesis. Over hundreds of millions of years, this oxygen reacted with the iron that was dissolved in the ocean, forming solid iron oxides and silica which settled on the ocean floor. It was only once all the iron precipitated out of the oceans that oxygen began to build in the atmosphere, and the Earth became habitable for multicellular life forms like us. There is, however, approximately 20 times more oxygen within the banded iron formations than is present in the atmosphere today.

  Banded iron slab installation The slab resting on its A-frame and about to be positioned with the slab lifter.
Image: Heath Warwick
Source: Museum Victoria
 

This piece of banded iron formed about 2.5 billion years ago in the area that is now the Pilbara in Western Australia. It was subsequently buried and metamorphosed, or transformed under extreme pressure, changing the minerals and creating the folds and waves of its layers. Among the red bands of fine-grained silica called jasper, and black layers of iron oxide, you can see shimmery yellow lines of tiger-eye, a fine-grained quartz that has replaced a fibrous mineral.

team installing rock slab Ant, Nev and Veegan using the folklift to lift the 870kg slab and guiding it into its support brackets.
Image: Heath Warwick
Source: Museum Victoria
 

Banded iron is the major source of the world's iron ore. Most of these large iron ore deposits formed between 2.5 and 1.8 billion years ago. It is mined and fed into blast furnaces to extract the metal. This piece escaped that fate because of its unusual beauty and size; it is rare to find such a large piece that has no veins of quartz, which often cause fractures. The rock, once a huge boulder, was extracted from the Ord Ridley Ranges, cut in Perth and polished in Adelaide.

installing the rock slab View through the dinosaurs of the slab in its new home.
Image: Heath Warwick
Source: Museum Victoria
 

Installing such a huge specimen was quite a feat. In the wall behind the rock, steel supports and counterweights hold it securely in place. Bringing it into the gallery took a team of people and a forklift designed to lift and move concrete slabs for building construction. The crew brought the slab in on an A-frame trolley, lifted it, and inched it carefully into its specially-designed support brackets.

And yes, you can touch it!

Dermot with the banded iron slab Manager of Natural Science Collections Dermot Henry next to the newly-installed slab of banded iron.
Image: Heath Warwick
Source: Museum Victoria
 

Sorry Day 2013

Author
by John Patten
Publish date
4 June 2013
Comments
Comments (0)

John Patten is a Bundjalung / Yorta Yorta man on his father's side, and a descendant of First Fleet convicts via his mother. An educator and artist, he takes great joy in sharing knowledge with visitors to Bunjilaka Aboriginal Cultural Centre.

On Sunday May 26, Bunjilaka Aboriginal Cultural Centre partnered with Connecting Home to host an event for National Sorry Day. A time for reflection and healing, National Sorry Day pays tribute to the courage and vitality of the many Aboriginal people affected by past policies of forced removal. The day also serves to highlight the work that organisations such as Connecting Home are doing in the service of members of the Stolen Generations, and those similarly affected.

group of people Crowd at the Sorry Day event
Image: John Patten
Source: Museum Victoria

The afternoon kicked off with Bunjilaka’s Birrarung gallery being filled by the sounds of William Wandin-Dow’s didgeridoo, followed soon thereafter by a large and attentive crowd, who via MC Bryan Andy were given an appreciation for the significance of Sorry Day.

dancers Seven Sisters dance group
Image: John Patten
Source: Museum Victoria

A welcome to Country was performed by Kulin Nation elders Aunty Carolyn Briggs (Boon Wurrung), and Aunty Di Kerr (Woi Wurrung). They spoke of the day and its personal significance to each of them before a warm round of applause and the entrance to the gallery of the Seven Sisters dance troupe, who wowed the crowd with a tightly choreographed and evocative performance.

woman Alice Solomon
Image: John Patten
Source: Museum Victoria

The two key speakers for the afternoon then took their turns to speak to the crowd. The first to share her story was Zoe Upton, followed then by Alice Solomon. Both speakers were moving in what they had to say, and their heartfelt words remained in the crowd’s consciousness during the final performance of the afternoon, a clutch of songs sung beautifully and with great humour by the Koorie Skin Choir. 

Links:

Connecting Home

Reconciliation Australia

Recognise

MV Blog: National Sorry Day

MV Blog: Reconciliation Week 2012

About this blog

Updates on what's happening at Melbourne Museum, the Immigration Museum, Scienceworks, the Royal Exhibition Building, and beyond.

Categories