Virtual Planetarium – April 3, 2020

Venus will be visiting the famous Seven Sisters star cluster on April 2nd and 3rd. A sight that only occurs every eight years! Join Will, our James S. McDonnell Planetarium Manager, as he shares what to watch for in the St. Louis sky. One of our planetarium presenters was able to get a picture of… Continue reading

Astronomy Fact of the Day: April 2, 2020

In 1958 on this date, President Dwight D. Eisenhower, in a message to Congress, proposed the establishment of a National Aeronautics and Space Agency into which the National Advisory Committee for Aeronautics would be absorbed. Learn more about NASA

Talk with a Scientist

Last week, we asked our social media followers for their questions about COVID-19. The Science Center’s Christina Carlson, manager of adult programs, interviewed Dr. Michael Joshua Hendrix, infectious disease fellow at Washington University, to get answers. We know everyone feels some uncertainty right now, and hope this helps with some of the questions you have.… Continue reading

Astronomy Fact of the Day: March 31, 2020

#OTD in 1966, the unmanned Soviet lunar probe, Luna 10, was launched toward the Moon from an Earth-orbiting platform. It later entered lunar orbit for 460 lunar orbits and 219 active data transmissions before radio signals were discontinued on May 30, 1966. Learn more about the Luna Program

Astronomy Fact of the Day: March 30, 2020

Tomorrow morning the planets Mars and Saturn will be in conjunction. This is when they will share the same right ascension and will appear close together. Look southeast after 5am to see this. What is right ascension?

Positively Shocking!

When Robert J. Van De Graff invented his generator in 1929, he probably didn’t expect it would become one of the most widely-used tools to teach people about electrostatics! Originally developed as a particle accelerator to be used in physics research, Van De Graff Generators produce high-voltage, direct current (DC) electricity. This high voltage can… Continue reading

Astronomy Fact of the Day: March 29, 2020

On this date in 1974, the unmanned probe Mariner 10 made its flyby of Mercury, passing at an altitude of 756 km. Photographs taken during the pass revealed an intensely cratered, Moon-like surface and a faint exosphere made mostly of helium. Learn more about Mariner 10. Image courtesy of National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA)… Continue reading

Astronomy Fact of the Day: March 28, 2020

Tonight at 8pm you will find the brightest star in the night sky due south. This star is called Sirius and is part of the constellation Canis Major. Learn more about Sirius. Image courtesy of Torsten Bronger. derivative work: Kxx / CC BY-SA (

Comet ATLAS: A reason to look up

For weekly updates on Comet ATLAS, please visit McDonnell Planetarium Night Sky Updates. After a two-decade drought of bright comets in the Northern Hemisphere, newly discovered Comet ATLAS stands a chance of brightening our sky – and our lives – this spring. Comets are frozen hunks of gas, ice, and dust that orbit our Sun… Continue reading