Fun astronomy facts to impress your friends with!

June 2016

1st – Looking low in the northwest around 10 o’clock tonight you will see the star Castor to the right of its twin Pollux. Soon we will not see these stars at night until late fall.

2nd – Tomorrow Saturn will be at opposition which means you will be able to the see the planet after the Sun sets and up until the time that the Sun rises.

3rd – Public telescope viewing will be held at the James S. McDonnell Planetarium tonight with the St. Louis Astronomical Society. For more information visit www.slsc.

 4th – Mercury is just above the horizon around 5 o’clock tomorrow morning. It will be a challenge to see as the Sun will rise around 5:30 tomorrow.

5th – The robot spacecraft Juno is less than 1 month away from arriving at Jupiter. You can see Jupiter tonight by looking to the southwest around 10 o’clock tonight!

6th – Looking low in the northeast around 10 o’clock tonight you will see a bright star called Deneb. This star was featured in an episode of Star Trek: The Next Generation.

7th – Saturn has a total of 7 rings composed of billions of particles. Each ring orbits Saturn at a different speed!

8th –On this date in 1625 Giovanni Cassini was born. He discovered a large gap in the rings of Saturn. Saturn is in the southeast around 10 o’clock tonight.

9th – A day on Earth lasts about 24 hours while a day on Saturn would only lasts a little over 10 hours long! This means Saturn’s period of rotation is much quicker than that of Earth.

10th – Looking to the southwest around 10 o’clock tonight you will see the waxing crescent Moon. Jupiter is above and to the right of the Moon and to the right of the moon is the star Regulus!

11th – The Earth has 1 Moon while Saturn has at least 53 moons with 9 more moons waiting for confirmation.

12th – Looking to the west around 11 o’clock tonight you will see the bright star Regulus.  This star belongs with a group of stars that form a backwards question mark known as the sickle.

13th – Looking in the southeast around 11 o’ clock tonight you will see a group of stars that look like the letter “J”. This is the summer constellation Scorpius the Scorpion.

14th – Looking to the southwest around 10 o’clock tonight you will see the waxing gibbous Moon just above the blue-white star Spica. Spica is part of the constellation Virgo the Maiden.

15th – The stars tell us that summer is almost here. Looking to the east around 10 o’clock tonight you will see 3 bright stars that form the Summer Triangle!

16th – On this date in 1963 Valentina Tereshkova became the first woman in space.  This cosmonaut was launched into space aboard Vostok 6. 

17th – Looking to the south around 11 o’clock tonight you will see the Moon above the red star Antares. Look to the left of the Moon to see Saturn and look to the right of the Moon to see Mars!

18th – On this date in 1983, Sally Ride became the first American woman in space. She was one of the STS- 7 crewmembers aboard the Space Shuttle Challenger. 

19th – Tomorrow night’s full Moon is known as the full Strawberry moon. The Moon rise just after Sun set and will be visible all night long until just before Sun rise.

20th –Today is the summer solstice and the first day of summer. Today we will have the greatest amount of daylight and the shortest amount of night time.

21st – Earth takes about 365 and ¼ days to complete 1 revolution around the Sun while Saturn takes about 29 Earth years to complete 1 revolution around the Sun!

22nd – On this date in 1978, Pluto’s moon, Charon was discovered by James Christy.  In 2005 the moons Nix and Hydra were discovered and a fourth moon was found in 2011

23rd – Looking to the east around 10 o’clock tonight you will see Cygnus the Swan. The star Albireo is part of this constellation and when viewed in a telescope resolves into 2 stars!

24th – Looking near the center of the sky around 10 o’clock tonight you will see a group of stars that look like a kite. This is part of the constellation Boötes the Herdsman.

25th – Looking to the southeast around 11 o’clock tonight you will see a group of stars that look like a teapot. This star group is part of the constellation Sagittarius the Archer.

26th – Looking to the northeast around 11 o’clock tonight you will see a group of stars that look like the letter “w”. This is the constellation Cassiopeia the Queen.

27th –On average Saturn is about 886 million miles from the Sun. This is about 9 and ½ times the distance of Earth from the Sun!

28th – Looking to the northwest around 10 o’clock tonight you will see the Big Dipper. Draw an imaginary curved line from the handle of the dipper down to find a bright orange star called Arcturus.

29th –The Huygens robot probe descended to the surface of Saturn’s largest moon Titan on January 14, 2005. This moon has lakes composed of liquid methane and ethane!

30th – Looking east around 4:30 tomorrow morning and you will see the waning crescent moon. Look to the left of the Moon to see the Pleiades. This star cluster will return to the night sky in the fall.