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Jupiter "close" tonight!

Jupiter is closest to Earth since 1963. Of course "close" is a relative term. In this case, close means the solar system's largest world will be "only" 368 million miles from Earth.

Catch a falling star!

It may be too cloudy to see them but, somewhere "up there" will be many "shooting stars" this week. It's the annual Perseid Meteor Shower and skywatchers worldwide are excited. This year's event seems to be loaded with bright meteors and there will be no glare from the Moon interfering with the shower's peak!

Mars: Still not even close!

I haven't written a blog entry here in quite some time. A telephone call from an interested library patron drew me out of retirement; she was excited that "Mars will be so close" in August and was asking whether we would have telescopes set up to see it.

This Week In Storytime--February 8

All aboard for storytime! Miss Jamie got things moving in Lapsit Storytime this week with fun rhymes like these:


Criss Cross (draw X on baby's back)
Applesauce (repeat)
Spiders crawling up your back! (run fingers up baby's back)
Cool breeze (blow on back of baby's neck)
Tight squeeze (hug)
Now you've got the shivers! (tickle)


Sing, Dance and Play!

Looking for a quick, fun program for your little ones? Miss Nancy offers Let's Sing and Dance, an active, movement-centered program at different times and dates each month. There are morning, afternoon and evening programs scheduled for kids ages 2-6 with a grown-up. It's a walk-in program, no registration required!

This Week In Storytime--February 1

Baby, it's cold outside! But Miss Jamie keeps things active in Lapsit Storytime! Here's a couple of rhymes you can do at home:
Easy peasy (clap baby's hands)
Nice and easy (clap)
Stretch your arms (stretch out baby's arms)
And bend your knee-sies! (tickle baby's knees)


August brings Perseid meteor shower

August 12-13 -- Watch for meteors after nightfall and before the bright waning gibbous Moon interferes with the show! Observers may see up to about 60 "shooting stars" per hour from a dark site.

Mars? Not so close!

Planet Mars as imaged by NASA.Every year some of us receive an email that says something like: "The Red Planet is about to be spectacular!" Or "On August 27 Mars will be as big and bright as the full Moon." There's even a

Venus: diamond in the sky

Occasionally this winter we have been able to see the sunset and the night sky. Amazing, I know, but it's true... once in a while the clouds have parted! As the Sun's light fades from the sky the "first star we see tonight" isn't a star at all; it's the glorious planet Venus -- third brightest light in our sky after the Sun and Moon.

Name the next Mars rover!

The National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA), in cooperation with Walt Disney Studios Motion Pictures' movie WALL-E from Pixar Animation Studios, will conduct a naming contest for its next Mars rover. The car-sized Mars Science Laboratory is scheduled for launch in 2009.

Image: Artist's concept of the Mars Science Laboratory roving the surface of the Red Planet.  Image: NASA/JPLThe contest began November 18, and is open to students 5 to 18 years old who attend a U.S. school and are enrolled in the current academic year. To enter the contest, students will submit essays explaining why their suggested name for the rover should be chosen. Essays must be received by January 25, 2009. In March 2009, the public will have an opportunity to rank nine finalist names via the Internet as additional input for judges to consider during the selection process. NASA will announce the winning rover name in April 2009.

Disney will provide prizes to students submitting winning essays, including a trip to NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL) in Pasadena, Calif., where the rover is under construction. The grand prize winner will have an opportunity to place a signature on the spacecraft and take part personally in the history of space exploration.

The Mars Science Laboratory rover will be larger and more capable than any craft previously sent to land there. It will check whether the environment in a carefully selected landing region ever has been favorable for supporting microbial life. The rover will search for minerals that formed in the presence of water and look for several chemical building blocks of life.

Information about the contest is available at: MarsRoverName.jpl.nasa.gov .
More information on Mars Science Laboratory can be found at: MarsProgram.jpl.nasa.gov/msl.


Entry forms and a selection of books about Mars are available from a special display in our library's Youth Services area!


Think hard, write well, and good luck!