Astronomy Fact of the Day: October 19, 2020

In 1948 on this date, the US Navy released the first views of Earth from near-orbital height. The images were taken from altitudes between 60 and 70 miles by cameras installed in rockets. A Forbes magazine retrospective article which includes these and a variety of other images of Earth may be read here.

Astronomy Fact of the Day: October 18, 2020

Tonight at 7:00pm, the asterism called the Summer Triangle is located directly overhead. When this occurs, the two bright stars at the top of the Triangle point East and West. Knowing the night sky will help ensure you can find the cardinal directions.

Astronomy Fact of the Day: October 17, 2020

On this date in 1956, Dr. Mae Carol Jemison, the first African American woman to fly in space, was born. Some articles, information and photos of Mae Jemison may be found at NASA’s page here.

Astronomy Fact of the Day: October 16, 2020

New moon occurs today. This means we are about two weeks from the next full moon. New moon nights are ideal for observing because the sunlight reflected off the Moon’s surface does not brighten our night sky.

Astronomy Fact of the Day: October 15, 2020

In 2003 on this date, China launched their first man in space, Yang Liwei, aboard the Shenzhou 5 spacecraft. Yang landed after 21 hours 23 minutes aloft. Trivia and quick facts about the Shenzhou manned spacecraft may be found at the Astronautix.com website here.

Astronomy Fact of the Day: October 13, 2020

Today, Mars is at opposition with Earth. This is when Mars will appear at its brightest. Those with telescopes should point them at Mars as your best views will be tonight, weather permitting.

Astronomy Fact of the Day: October 12, 2020

We are well into aurora season in the northern hemisphere. Even though the Sun has been quiet regarding solar activity in 2020, auroras are still something to look forward to. We are finally climbing out of solar minimum, which means auroral activity should increase as we head towards solar maximum.

Astronomy Fact of the Day: October 11, 2020

In 1968 on this date, Apollo 7, carrying Astronauts R. Walter Cunningham, Donn F. Eisele, and Walter M. “Wally” Schirra Jr., successfully launched into Earth orbit. This first manned flight of the Apollo program tested maneuvering and docking capabilities of the spacecraft design. NASA’s full press kit from the time may be viewed or downloaded… Continue reading

Astronomy Fact of the Day: October 10, 2020

The Andromeda galaxy is the Milky Way’s major galactic neighbor. You can find it in the constellation Andromeda, which will be visible in the east once it is dark enough to see stars. To find the Andromeda galaxy in St. Louis, you will need to use binoculars or a telescope.