Astronomy Fact of the Day: May 12, 2021

About 20 minutes after sunset tonight, you can find three planets and the Moon in the west. The Moon will be paired with Venus about 5° above the horizon; these will be tough to see. If you wait another 15 minutes, however, Mercury and Mars will also become visible a bit higher in the sky.… Continue reading

Astronomy Fact of the Day: May 11, 2021

On this day in 1949, Cape Canaveral is officially selected as a future site for US rocket launches and long-range flights. Negotiations with the British government begin for installation of a string of tracking stations along the islands of the Bahamas.

Astronomy Fact of the Day: May 10, 2021

Arcturus, a giant orange star, is the 4th brightest star in the night sky. You can find it in the east at 9:00pm. Arcturus is the brightest star in the constellation Boötes the Herdsman.(Although photographically it appears yellow, Arcturus is considered to be an ‘orange’ star due to its surface temperature.)

Astronomy Fact of the Day: May 9, 2021

In 1965 on this date, Luna 5, an unmanned Soviet lunar probe, was launched. After experiencing gyroscope and engine problems, it crashed into the moon some 700km from its intended soft-landing site, and became the second Soviet probe to reach the Moon.

Night Sky Update: May 07 – May 15, 2021

This is the Saint Louis Science Center’s NIGHT SKY UPDATE for the week of Friday, May 7, 2021. Information updated weekly or as needed. Times given as local St. Louis time which is Central Daylight Time (CDT). 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: May 5, 2021

In 1961 on this date, Alan Bartlett Shepard Jr. became the first American in space aboard his Mercury capsule MR-3, Freedom 7. He would also walk on the Moon in 1971, as commander of the Apollo 14 flight.