Scientists From Across U.S. Meet In North Texas This Week For The ‘Super Bowl Of Astronomy’ | KERA News

Scientists From Across U.S. Meet In North Texas This Week For The ‘Super Bowl Of Astronomy’

Jan 5, 2017

Five stories that have North Texas talking: Cold weather may bring mountain cedar relief; the Texas State Strutters were chosen to dance at Trump’s inauguration; a young Dallasite claims she didn’t order four pounds of cookies from Alexa; and more.

America’s astronomers meet up twice a year to discuss new developments in the field and exciting phenomena the universe has in store. This week, members of the American Astronomical Society have gathered in Grapevine for the 229th meeting, known as the “Super Bowl of astronomy.” According to Space.com: “Attendees will explore a wide variety of space subjects, such as the hunt for exoplanets and the elusive "Planet Nine"; the formation and evolution of stars and galaxies; the nature of black holes, dark matter and dark energy; solutions to light pollution; the influence U.S. politics will have on astronomy; and astronomers' roles in fighting climate change.” One of this year's astronomical events that attendees knew ahead of the four-day conference: the Aug. 21 solar eclipse. The total eclipse in a narrow (roughly 70-mile-wide) band from the Oregon coast to the South Carolina coast. The 230th meeting of the society will also take place in Texas — in Austin this June. [Space.com]  

  • Have your allergies been killing you? Mountain cedar pollen has been blowing through North Texas recently from trees in Central Texas and the Hill Country on warm, windy days, the Fort Worth Star-Telegram reports. Pollen counts were moderate in D-FW on Monday and Tuesday, but in Austin and San Antonio, “the counts were literally exploding,” according to the Star-Telegram. The cold snap this week should offer a reprieve from runny noses and itchy eyes — at least until it warms up again by Monday. [Fort Worth Star-Telegram]
  • Speaking of a cold snap, there’s a chance of snow in North Texas on Friday. But the light precipitation isn’t making any promises of impeding travel or even sticking around. Several arctic fronts have passed through the metroplex this winter, but they’ve gone easy on us, relative to winter weather across the country. Actually, Thrillist ranks Texas near the bottom of the list of states with the worst winters. It might not be a surprise, but the mild winters have made any true trace of the season unbearable for some Texans. Here’s the forecast for the next few days. [National Weather Service, Thrillist]

 

  • Texas State University’s all-female dance team was selected to perform at Donald Trump’s inauguration in Washington D.C. The announcement from the Strutters last month has drawn criticism from some students and alumni, The Houston Chronicle reports. The San Marcos school was one of many universities across the country that held anti-Trump protests and experienced hate incidents after the election. The dance team had applied to march in the inaugural parade early in 2016. University spokesman Matt Flores says no school funds will be used for the trip. [The Houston Chronicle]

 

  • Ordering things from Amazon Echo’s voice assistant, Alexa, is so easy a 6-year-old could do it. One young girl from Dallas recently ordered a $170 dollhouse and four pounds of cookies, much to her parent’s surprise, according to Foxnews.com. While 6-year-old Brooke denied ordering the goodies, she did confess she talked to her mother’s new Echo Dot about them, and the voice app on the device mistook the conversation for a request. The family kept the cookies but have decided to give the dollhouse to charity. [Foxnews.com]