Fun astronomy facts to impress your friends with!

SEPTEMBER 2016

1st – Looking to the west around 8 o’clock tonight you will see Venus. A day on Venus lasts 243 Earth days long. A day on Venus is longer than its year! 

2nd – 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.org 

3rd – Looking to the southwest around 9 o’clock tonight you will see Saturn to the right of Mars. A day on Saturn would last about 10 Earth hours long! 

4th – Looking to the southeast around 11 o’clock tonight you will see the star Fomalhaut. The Hubble Space Telescope photographed an extra-solar planet near this star! You can see Hubble pictures by visiting www.hubblesite.org

5th – The Sun completes 1 rotation at its equator in about 25 Earth days while it completes 1 rotation in 36 Earth Days at its poles. 

6th – Looking to the northeast around 11 o’clock tonight you will see a group of stars that look like an upside down letter “Y”. This is the fall constellation Perseus the Hero. 

7th – Looking to the southwest around 9 o’clock tonight you will see the waxing crescent Moon. Our moon takes about 27 Earth days to complete 1 rotation on its axis. 

8th – On this date in 1966, NBC aired the first episode of the original Star Trek series. Looking to the northeast around 11 o’clock you will see Capella, one of the stars visited by Captain Kirk! 

9th – Looking to the west around 7:45 tonight you will see Venus. Looking to the south at the same time you will see the Moon above Mars and Saturn to the right of the Moon! 

10th – Jupiter completes one rotation on its axis about every 10 hours which means a day on Jupiter is only 10 hours long!  Jupiter is not visible right now but will return to the morning skies by mid-October. 

11th – The sky tells us that fall is almost here. Looking to the east around 9 o’clock tonight you will see 4 stars that form a square that are associated with autumn. This is the Great Square of Pegasus. 

12th – The Andromeda Galaxy is a spiral galaxy like the Milky Way. This galaxy is 2½ million light years away which means the light we see from this galaxy is 2½ million years old! 

13th – Looking to the southwest around 8 o’clock you will see Mars. A day on Mars is about 24 hours and 39 minutes. 

14th – Looking to the south around 8 o’clock tonight you will see a group of stars that look like a teapot. This group of stars is part of the constellation Sagittarius the Archer. 

15th –Looking to the southeast around 9 o’clock tonight you will see the waxing gibbous Moon. A day on the Moon would last about 27 Earth days long! 

16th – Tonight’s full moon is known as the Harvest Moon because it is the first full Moon that is closest to the Autumnal Equinox. Farmers used to get extra time to harvest their crops by the light of this Moon. 

17th – On this date in 1789 William Herschel discovered Saturn’s moon Mimas.  Looking to the southwest around 8 o’clock you will see planet Saturn! A day on Mimas would last about 22 hours long. 

18th – Looking to the center of the sky around 10 o’clock tonight you will see three bright stars that form the summer triangle. You will see the summer triangle low in the west by November. 

19th – Looking to the northwest around 9 o’clock tonight you will see the Big Dipper. If you draw an imaginary line through the 2 stars in the front of the bowl upwards they will lead you to the North Star. 

20th – Looking to the east around midnight tonight you will see the gibbous Moon. Look above the Moon to see a star cluster known as the Pleiades or the Seven Sisters.

 21st –On this date in 1866 H.G. Wells was born. He wrote the novel “The War of the Worlds”, which depicts an invasion from Mars. Looking to the southwest around 8 o’clock tonight you will see Mars. 

22nd – Today is the Autumnal Equinox or the first day of fall. We will have equal amount of daylight and night time hours today but the days will continue to get shorter as the Sun sets earlier each day. 

23rd – Looking to the southeast around 5 o’clock in the morning you will see 3 stars in a row that form a line diagonally. These stars form the belt of Orion the Hunter. 

24th – Looking to the west around 9 o’clock tonight you will see a bright orange star called Arcturus. This star is the 4th brightest star in the sky and is part of the constellation Boötes the Herdsman. 

25th – A day on Uranus is about 17 hours and 14 minutes long. Neptune has a similar length of day which lasts about 16 hours long! 

26th – Looking to the east around 5 o’clock in the morning you will see the crescent Moon to the right of the star Regulus. This star completes one rotation on its axis in about 16 hours! 

27th – Looking to the east around 6:30 tomorrow morning you will see the crescent Moon. Look below the Moon and you will see Mercury. A day on Mercury is about 59 Earth days long! 

28th –The nearest star to the Sun is Proxima Centauri which is about 4.5 light-years away. Astronomers have recently found a planet orbiting this red dwarf star! 

29th – Looking to the south around 6 o’clock in the morning you will see 6 bright stars that form the winter circle. This circle will be visible in the early evening throughout winter. 

30th – Looking to the northwest around midnight tonight you will see the star Vega. This star takes about ½ a day to rotate 1 time about its axis at the equator.