Wulfenite – Collected from Sonora, Mexico

Wulfenite is a mineral which often forms stubby, pyramidal, or thin tabular crystals of a bright orange-red to yellow-orange color. It is a unique mineral, easily distinguished from almost all other minerals thanks to its vivid crystal coloring and the localities where it is found. The vibrancy of its color makes wulfenite a highly sought… Continue reading

Astronomy Fact of the Day: December 1, 2020

On this date in 2013, China launched the robotic lunar exploration lander Chang’e 3, with China’s first lunar rover, Yutu-hao (‘jade rabbit’). Rover Yutu explored its landing area in Mare Imbrium and sent back pictures of the surface of the Moon for several weeks. Learn more at NASA’s mission page here.

Astronomy Fact of the Day: November 29, 2020

Full moon for November occurs today. The full moon for November is often called the Full Beaver Moon. Cultural names like this served as a calendar of sorts as many cultures used a lunar calendar based on the moon phases. The names chosen indicated an event or activity that occurs that time of the year.

Astronomy Fact of the Day: November 29, 2020

Tomorrow morning the Moon will reach its full phase. The Moon will also pass through the Earth’s penumbral shadow leading to a penumbral lunar eclipse. The eclipse begins at 1:33 am CST and ends at 5:54 am CST. Learn more at the EclipseWise website here.

Night Sky Update: November 27 – December 5 2020

This is the Saint Louis Science Center’s NIGHT SKY UPDATE for the week of Friday, November 27, 2020. Information updated weekly or as needed. Times given as local St. Louis time which is Central Standard Time (CST). For definitions of terminology used in the night sky update, click the highlighted text. If relying on times… Continue reading

Astronomy Fact of the Day: November 27, 2020

In 2005 on this date, the Japanese unmanned probe Hayabusa grazed the surface of asteroid Itokawa, retrieving material to return to Earth for study. Tiny grains of asteroidal material were returned to Earth aboard the spacecraft in June of 2010. Learn more at NASA’s page here.

Astronomy Fact of the Day: November 26, 2020

Tonight at 10 pm, two great asterisms are reminding us what time of year it is. In the west, the Summer Triangle is setting. In the east the Winter Circle is now fully visible. Observing the star patterns through the year is one way ancient people tracked the changing seasons.

Soapstone Water Dropper – China, ca. late 1900s

A water dropper is a small container used by calligraphers in East Asian countries to make ink. It is designed so that only a few drops of water can fall at one time. The calligrapher adds water to the surface of an inkstone, grinds an inkstick into the water, causing particles to come off and… Continue reading