Fun astronomy facts to impress your friends with!
1st – Looking to the west around 9 o’clock tonight you will see Orion the Hunter just above the horizon. Soon this constellation will not be visible at night again until late fall.
2nd –Looking to the center of the sky 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!
3rd – 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
4th –Mars is currently hidden from our view by the glare of the sun during the day but will be visible about an hour before sunrise by mid July!
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 southeast around 9 o’clock tonight you will see the bright blue-white star Spica. This star is part of the constellation Virgo and is about 250 light years away from us!
7th – On this date in 1992, Space Shuttle Endeavour lifted off on its maiden voyage into space. Endeavour was named after the first ship commanded by the 18th century British explorer, James Cook.
8th – 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.
9th –Looking to the southeast around 11 o’clock tonight and you will see the bright red star Antares. This star is part of the constellation Scorpius the Scorpion.
10th – 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. These stars are part of Gemini the Twins.
11th – On this date in 2009 the space shuttle Atlantis lifted off for the fifth and final repair mission to the Hubble Space Telescope. You can see pictures taken by the HST by visiting www.hubblesite.org.
12th –Looking to the northwest around 8:30 tonight you will see a thin waxing crescent moon. If you look just below the moon you will see Jupiter!
13th –Looking to the west around 10 o’clock tonight you will see the thin crescent moon. Looking to the left of the moon you will see the star Alhena which is part of Gemini the Twins.
14th – Skylab, America’s first space station, was launched into orbit on this date in 1973. To learn where you can see the International Space Station visit http://spotthestation.nasa.gov/
15th – The sun is one of over 200 billion stars that make up the Milky Way galaxy!
16th –Looking to the northeast around 11 o’clock tonight you will see the star Vega. Because Earth wobbles on its axis, Vega will be the new North Star in about 13,000 years!
17th – On this date in 1836 Joseph Lockyer was born. He examined the spectrum of the sun and detected the element Helium before it was found on Earth.
18th – Apollo 10 was launched on this date in 1969. Thomas Stafford and Eugene Cernan descended inside the Lunar Module to within 14 kilometers of the lunar surface.
19th – Looking to the northwest around 10 o’clock tonight you will see the bright yellow star Capella.This star is 42 light years away and is part of the constellation Auriga.
20th – The atmosphere of Mars contains over 90% Carbon Dioxide gas. Earth’s atmosphere contains mostly Nitrogen and Oxygen and less than 1% Carbon Dioxide!
21st –Looking to the south around 10 o’clock tonight you will see the waxing gibbous moon near the star Spica. This star is about 250 light years away while the moon is 1.3 light seconds away!
22nd –Looking to the southeast tonight around 9 o’clock you will see the waxing gibbous moon near the planet Saturn.You could fit around 36 Earth moons across Saturn’s diameter!
23rd – Looking to the southeast around 10 o’clock tonight you will see the waxing gibbous moon next to the star Zubenelgenubi which is part of Libra the Scales.
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 – On this date in 1961 President Kennedy set a goal of landing a man on the moon. Tonight’s moon is called the Full Flower Moon since flowers are in full bloom at this time of year.
26th – On this date in 1951 Sally Ride was born in Los Angeles California. She was the first American woman astronaut and served as mission specialist aboard Challenger for 2 flights.
27th – Looking to the northwest around 8:30 tonight you may see bright Venus. Looking to the left of Venus is Jupiter and looking above Venus is planet Mercury. Saturn is visible in the southeast!
28th – Looking to the southwest around 11 o’clock tonight you will see the bright star Regulus. This star is around 79 light years away and is the brightest star in Leo the Lion!
29th –Even though Venus is farther from the sun than Mercury, it is still the hottest planet in the solar system. The surface of Venus can reach temperatures in excess of 850° F!
30th – On this date in 1963 the James S. McDonnell Planetarium in St. Louis was dedicated. This year the planetarium celebrates its 50th Anniversary!
31st – The stars tell us summer is almost here! Looking to the east around midnight you see the bright stars of the summer triangle.You will see these stars earlier during summer.