Fun astronomy facts to impress your friends with!

November 2014

1st – Looking to the southeast around 6:30 tomorrow morning you will see Mercury. The maximum temperature on this planet can reach 800°F!                           

2nd – Looking to the northeast around 11 o’clock tonight you will see the star Castor and below it the star Pollux. The orange star Pollux is cooler than the sun while the white star Castor is hotter than the sun!

3rd – Looking to the south around 8 o’clock tonight you will see the bright star called Fomalhaut. The Hubble Space Telescope photographed a planet orbiting this star!

4th – Looking to east around 6 o’clock tonight you will see the gibbous moon. If you have binoculars or a telescope you may be able to see Uranus above and to the right of the moon.

5th – On this date in 1906 astronomer Fred Whipple was born. He was the first astronomer to describe comets as "dirty snowballs".                                                                   

6th – Tonight’s full moon is named the Full Beaver Moon because beavers are seen preparing for winter at this time of year.

7th – Public telescope viewing will be held the James S. McDonnell Planetarium tonight with the St. Louis Astronomical Society. For more information visit www.slsc.org

8th – Looking to the southwest around 7 o’clock tonight you will see three bright stars.  These stars form the summer triangle. Even though it is fall you can still see some of the summer stars.

9th – Carl Sagan was born on this date in 1934. He was best known for his book "Cosmos". Sagan also promoted the search for extraterrestrial intelligence or SETI.

10th – Looking to the east around 8 o’clock tonight you will see the red star Aldebaran. This star is cooler than the sun and is part of the constellations Taurus the Bull.            

11th – Looking toward the center of the sky around 7 o’clock tonight you will see 4 stars that form a square. These stars form the great square of Pegasus a popular fall star pattern.

12th – Looking to the east around 1 o’clock in the morning and you will see the star Regulus, which is the brightest star of Leo the Lion. Regulus is a blue-white star which is hotter than the sun!

13th – Looking to the northeast around midnight tonight you will see Jupiter to the left of the moon. The temperature of the clouds of Jupiter is around -234°F

14th – Looking to the west around 9 o’clock tonight you will see a group of stars that form the Northern Cross. This pattern of stars is part of the constellation Cygnus the Swan.

15th – Looking toward the northeast around 5 o’clock tomorrow morning you will see the Big Dipper. In England the Big Dipper is known as the Great Plough.

16th – On this date in 1974 an interstellar radio signal was sent to the Hercules globular cluster. Looking to northwest around 7 o’clock tonight you will see Hercules where the cluster is located.                       

17th – Tonight is the peak of the Leonid meteor shower. To best see the meteors get to a dark location far from the city and look toward Leo the Lion in the northeast starting around midnight.                    

18th – Looking to the southeast around 6 o’clock tomorrow morning you will see the waning crescent moon above the star Spica. Spica is a blue-white star making it hotter than our sun!

19th – Looking high in the northeast around 10 o’clock tonight you will see the bright yellow star Capella. Since Capella is a yellow star it is similar in temperature to our 10,000 °F sun!                 

20th – Looking to the northeast around 6 o’clock tonight you will see a group of stars that look like the letter ‘W”. This is the fall constellation Cassiopeia, the Queen.

21st – Polaris is currently the North Star. Since the Earth wobbles on its axis, Vega will become the North Star in about 13,000 years. Look low in the northwest around 10 o’clock tonight to see Vega.     

22nd – Looking to the southeast around midnight tonight you will see Sirius, the Dog star.  It is the brightest star in the night sky as viewed from Earth and is hotter than the sun!

23rd – Looking to the southeast around 10 o’clock tonight you will see the constellation Orion the Hunter. Orion will be visible earlier in the evening, as we get closer to the winter season.         

24th – Looking to the east around 5 o’clock in the morning you will see the bright orange star Arcturus. This star is orange and cooler than the sun.

25th – Looking to the southwest around 6 o’clock tonight you will see Mars to the left of the waxing moon. The maximum temperature on the moon is 253 °F but only 70 °F on Mars.

26th – Looking to the east around 7 o’clock tonight you will see the Pleiades star cluster. This is an example of an open cluster and contains stars that are younger and hotter than the sun!

27th – On Thanksgiving you may recall that the pilgrims travelled to the new world aboard the Mayflower. Sailors measured the altitude of the North Star is in the sky to find the ship’s latitude.

28th – Looking to the east around 7 o’clock tonight you will see a group of stars that look like and upside down letter “Y”. This is the fall constellation Perseus the Hero.

29th – Looking to the east around 8 o’clock tonight you will see the red star Betelgeuse. This star is both older and cooler in temperature than our sun!

30th –Looking low in the west around 9 o’clock tonight you will see the star Altair. This white star is hotter than the sun and was featured in the classic Sci-Fi movie “Forbidden Planet”.