Fun astronomy facts to impress your friends with!

Astronomy Fact of the Day for December 2016

1st – Looking to the southeast around 6 o’clock tomorrow morning you will see the star Spica below Jupiter. This star is a blue-white star which means it is hotter than our Sun!

2nd – 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

3rd – Looking to the east around 8 o’clock tonight you will see the star Betelgeuse. This red star is cooler in temperature than our yellow Sun.

4th – Looking to the southwest around 6 o’clock tonight you will see the Moon. Look to the left the Moon to see Mars and look below the Moon to see Venus!

5th – Looking to the southeast around 6 o’clock in the morning you will see the planet Jupiter. The temperature of Jupiter’s clouds is – 234° Fahrenheit!

6th – Looking to the northwest around 9 o’clock tonight you will see the star Vega. This white star is hotter in temperature than our yellow Sun!

7th – Looking to the southwest around 5:15 tonight you will see Mercury just above the horizon. Look above and to the left of Mercury to see Venus and above that is Mars and the Moon!

8th – Pluto is very cold because it is about 38 times the distance of the Earth from the Sun! Temperatures on Pluto can fall to -400° Fahrenheit!

9th – Looking to the southwest around 5:30 tonight you will see bright planet Venus! Temperatures can reach 900° Fahrenheit on the daytime side of Venus!

10th – Looking to the east around 7 o’clock tonight you will see the red star Aldebaran. Red stars are cooler in temperature than yellow stars like our Sun!

11th – On this date in 1863 Annie Jump Cannon was born.  She discovered 300 variable stars.  Variable stars change in brightness like the star Algol in the constellation Perseus.

12th – Look to the east around 7 o’clock tomorrow night and you will see the Moon. December’s full Moon is called the full cold moon because it is visible when the cold weather begins.

13th – Tonight is the peak of the Geminid meteor shower. The full Moon may diminish your view this year but to see the meteors look toward the east at Gemini starting around 9 o’clock tonight.

14th – Looking to the southwest around 5 o’clock tonight you will see Mercury low on the horizon. Temperatures on the day time side of Mercury can reach 800° Fahrenheit!

15th –Looking near the center of the sky around 11 o’clock tonight you will see the yellow star Capella. This yellow star is cooler in temperature than blue stars like Spica.

16th – It is almost winter but you can still see the stars of the summer triangle tonight. Looking to the west around 6 o’clock tonight and you will see the three bright stars Vega, Deneb and Altair.

17th – Looking to the southwest around 6 o’clock tonight you will see the red planet Mars.  Mars has an average temperature of 70° Fahrenheit at the equator in the summer.

18th – Looking to the east around 11o’clock tonight you will see the waning gibbous Moon.  Look above the Moon to see the blue-white star Regulus. Blue-white stars are hotter than yellow stars like the Sun!

19th – Looking to the southwest around 6 o’clock tonight you will see the star Fomalhaut. This star is hotter than the Sun and is part of the constellation the Southern Fish.

20th – Looking near the center of the sky around 6 o’clock tonight you will see four stars that form a square. This pattern of stars is called the great square of Pegasus.

21st – Today is the winter solstice which is the first official day of winter. The winter solstice is the shortest day of the year and the longest night of the year.  From now on the days will slowly get longer.

22nd – Looking to the southeast around 6 o’clock tomorrow morning you will see the waning crescent Moon. Look to the right of the Moon to see the Spica and look above this star to see Jupiter!

23rd –Looking to the southeast around 9 o’clock tonight and you will see the winter constellation Orion the Hunter. This constellation has two of the ten brightest stars in the sky!

24th – Looking to the southeast around 6:30 in the morning you will see the bright red star Antares. Red stars are cooler in temperature than yellow stars like the Sun.

25th – Looking to the northeast around 6 o’clock tonight you will see the Moon. December’s full moon is called the Full Cold Moon because it is visible when the cold weather really begins.

26th – The zodiac is a belt of 13 constellations that straddle the sky. Within this belt lie the apparent paths of the Sun, the Moon, and the planets.

27th – Looking to the northeast around 9 o’clock tonight you will see two bright stars near each other. These stars are part of the constellation Gemini. The star Castor is visible above its twin Pollux.

28th – The autumn sky contains fewer bright stars than can be seen during the other 3 seasons. In contrast the winter sky has 5 of the 10 brightest stars visible in the night sky!

29th –Looking high in the east around 4 o’clock tomorrow morning you will see the orange star Arcturus. This star is cooler than yellow stars like the sun.

30th – Looking to the southwest around 6:00 tonight you will see Venus. On Venus the temperature can reach around 900° Fahrenheit! 

31st – You can ring in the new year with the brightest star in the sky. Look due south at midnight and you will see Sirius the Dog Star!