Fun astronomy facts to impress your friends with!

April 2015

27th – Looking to the northwest around 9 o’clock tonight you will see a group of stars that look like the letter “w”. This is the constellation Cassiopeia the Queen.

28th – Looking to the east around 5 o’clock in the morning you will see the constellation Cygnus the Swan. The Kepler spacecraft found many planets around stars near this constellation.

29th – Looking toward the south around 3 o’clock in the morning you will see a group of stars that look like the letter “J”. This is the summer constellation Scorpius the Scorpion.

30th– Looking to the northwest around 8:30 tonight you will see bright Venus. Put 2 outstretched fists below Venus and you may see Mercury low on the horizon. 

 May 2015 

1st – 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 

2nd – Looking to the west around 8:30 tonight you will see Orion the Hunter just above the horizon. Soon this constellation will not be visible at night again until late fall. 

3rd – Looking to the southeast around 9 o’clock tonight you will see the full Flower Moon. It is known as the Full Flower Moon because around the time of year flowers are in full bloom. 

4th –Looking to the southwest around 5 o’clock tomorrow morning you will see the moon to the right of Saturn.  Earth has 1 moon while Saturn has at least 62 moons! 

5th – On this date in 1961, Freedom 7 was launched atop a Mercury Redstone rocket.  On board was Alan Shepard who became the first American in space. 

6th – Looking to the northwest around 9 o’clock tonight you may be able to see Mercury just above the horizon. Look above Mercury to see bright Venus! 

7th – On this date in 1992, Space Shuttle Endeavour lifted off on its maiden voyage into space. Endeavour is now retired and on display at the CaliforniaScienceCenter.  

8th – Looking high in the southwest around 10 o’clock tonight you will see a group of stars that look like a backwards question mark. These stars form the head of Leo the Lion!

9th – Looking to the southeast around 9 o’clock tonight you will see a group of stars that look like a rectangle. This is the spring constellation Virgo the Maiden. 

10th – Looking to the northeast around 9 o’clock tonight you will see the Big Dipper. The Big Dipper is part of the constellation Ursa Major the Great Bear. 

11th – Looking to the southeast around 11 o’clock tonight and you will see the bright red star Antares. This star is part of the summer constellation Scorpius the Scorpion. 

12th – Looking to the west around 10 o’clock tonight you will see the bright star Pollux. If you look to the right of this star you will see its twin star Castor. Below these stars is bright Venus!

13th – Mercury and Venus are the only planets in the solar system that do not have moons! 

14th – Looking to the northwest around 10 o’clock tonight you will see the bright yellow star Capella.This star is about 42 light years away and is part of the constellation Auriga. 

15th – The planet Mars has two moons named Phobos and Deimos. Our moon is ½ the size of Mars while the Martian moons are smaller than Earth’s moon 

16th – Looking to the northeast around 1 o’clock in the morning you will see a group of stars that look like the letter “w”. This is the constellation Cassiopeia the Queen. 

17th –In 1993 a moon was discovered orbiting an asteroid for the first time.  The moon Dactyl was seen orbiting the asteroid Ida by the Galileo spacecraft. 

18th – Jupiter has at least 67 moons orbiting it! Four of these moons you can see in binoculars when looking at this planet. Looking to the west around 10 o’clock tonight you will see Jupiter. 

19th – Looking to the northeast around 9 o’clock tonight you will see the star Vega. Because Earth wobbles on its axis, Vega will be the new North Star in about 12,000 years! 

20th –Uranus has at least 27 moons orbiting it! Many of the moons are named after characters from the writings of William Shakespeare. 

21st – Saturn’s largest moon is Titan. This moon is about 200 miles wider than planet Mercury! 

22nd – Tonight Saturn is at opposition. This means Saturn will be at its brightest tonight as it will be at its closest to the Earth for this year. Look to the southeast around 10 o’clock tonight to see Saturn! 

23rd – Looking to the west around 9 o’clock tonight you will see the waxing crescent moon. Look above the moon to see Jupiter and look below and to the right of the moon to see Venus! 

24th – On this date in 1962, Scott Carpenter flew aboard Aurora 7 becoming the 2nd American to orbit the Earth. He completed 3 orbits and reached an altitude of 164 miles 

25th – Looking to the west around 9 o’clock tonight you will see Venus below and to the right of Jupiter.  Looking to the southeast at the same time you will see Saturn! 

26th – On this date in 1951 Sally Ride was born in Los AngelesCalifornia.  She was the first American woman astronaut and served as mission specialist aboard the space shuttle Challenger. 

27th – Pluto has at least five moons! Four of these moons were discovered by the Hubble Space Telescope! 

28th – 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 the constellation Bootes the Herdsman. 

29th –Looking to the south around 10 o’clock tonight you will see the waning gibbous moon near the star Spica.  This star is over 200 light years away! 

30th – At least 146 moons have been found in orbit around planets in our solar system.  There are 27 more moons that could be added to this count when their discovery is confirmed! 

31st – The stars tell us summer is almost here! Looking to the east around midnight you will see the bright stars of the summer triangle. You will see these stars earlier in the evening during summer.