Grab a Seat for GermBusters!
Members and guests of the Saint Louis Science Center have a brand new STEAM Performance at Energy Stage to see. In GermBusters!, audiences get to learn more about a topic that’s on everyone’s minds: viruses. GermBusters! goes in depth on topics like what a virus is, how masks stop the spread of germs and the science behind hand washing.
So, what can audiences expect to see in a show about submicroscopic infectious agents? “We mimic a sneeze with flame bottles,” says John Nahon, Manager of Energy Stage and earth sciences. “We do elephant toothpaste and talk about how peroxides kill viruses. Then we do a whoosh bottle after talking about denatured alcohol and how it has ethanol in it, and ethanol is what’s used in hand sanitizer to kill viruses.”
Since viruses are so relevant today, John and the Energy Stage team have also been able to incorporate more hard science, covering topics like what a protein is, how a virus self-assembles and more. This allows John and the educators to cover a topic that’s important while still keeping the fun and engaging feel that people have come to expect from Energy Stage.
“We wanted [audiences] to feel empowered,” John says. “To understand what a virus is and exactly how it affects their lives. We want to get them to the point where they feel accomplished enough to say, ‘Oh, okay, I know what a virus is, and I know what’s going on with it, and I have a little bit more understanding of what’s happening in the world around me.’ “
Orion, Your Guide to the Winter
The bright stars of Orion the Hunter are unmistakable in the winter sky. Shining brightly in the underarm of the giant is the famous red supergiant star, Betelgeuse. Follow the three stars of Orion’s Belt to guide you to his companions in the sky.
Taurus and the Seven Sisters
Orion’s Belt points upwards towards the bright star Aldeberan, known as the eye of the bull. Aldeberan shines in the V-shaped head of Taurus the Bull. Along the back of Taurus rides the famous Pleiades or Seven Sisters star cluster. How many stars can you count?
The Dog Days of…Winter?
Follow Orion’s Belt downwards and your eyes will be drawn towards the brightest star we see in the nighttime sky: Sirius. This star appears bright due to it being a mere 8.6 light-years (or approximately 50 trillion miles) away. Sirius shines in the larger of Orion’s two hunting dogs, Canis Major and Canis Minor.
The Grand Conjunction
December 21st, 2020, marks the Grand Conjunction between Jupiter and Saturn. Look west in the early evening hours of December to watch as these planets silently approach each other in the sky. On the winter solstice, Jupiter and Saturn will appear close enough as to almost “touch” in the sunset sky. Because of the time it takes these planets to orbit the Sun, Jupiter and Saturn will not be this close again in our sky until the year 2040.