Astronomy Fact of the Day: January 26, 2022

January 26, 2022 At any point throughout the year it is possible to find the North Star, Polaris in the same location in our northern sky. Unlike other stars, it does not appear to move throughout the night. Instead, other stars appear to revolve around Polaris while it remains stationary. This happens because the axis… Continue reading

Astronomy Fact of the Day: January 25, 2022

January 25, 2022 On this date in 2004, the Opportunity rover successfully landed on the surface of Mars. Although this rover was only designed to last approximately 90 days, it remained active for nearly 15 years. Opportunity was successful in finding several pieces of evidence of past water activity on Mars. To read more about… Continue reading

Astronomy Fact of the Day: January 24, 2022

January 24, 2022 On this date in 1986, Voyager 2 successfully completed a flyby of Uranus at 9:59 PST where it came within 50,600 miles of the uppermost atmosphere. In addition to sending back images of Uranus and its moons, Voyager 2 used several scientific instruments to provide new data on the ring system, complex… Continue reading

Astronomy Fact of the Day: January 23, 2022

January 23, 2022 The moon is the only celestial body other than Earth that humans have stepped foot on. To this day, only 12 people have walked on the moon all as part of the Apollo program. However, the NASA Artemis program plans to send the next crewed mission (including the first woman) to the… Continue reading

Night Sky Update: January 21 – January 29, 2022

This is the Saint Louis Science Center’s NIGHT SKY UPDATE for the week of Friday, January 21, 2022. 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: January 22, 2022

January 22, 2022 On this date in 2003, NASA received the last signal from Pioneer 10. This was the first space probe to explore beyond the asteroid belt, becoming the first mission to visit Jupiter. The Pioneer 10 mission was planned to last 21-months, however the spacecraft continued to operate for over 30 years. Learn… Continue reading

Astronomy Fact of the Day: January 21, 2022

January 21, 2022 On this date in 1960, a rhesus monkey, ‘Miss Sam,’ was launched aboard a Mercury spacecraft and returned safely to Earth 30 minutes later. This was not the first-time animals had been used to test conditions in space. This practice dates to 1783, when the Montgolfier brothers – French aviation pioneers, tested… Continue reading

Astronomy Fact of the Day: January 20, 2022

January 20, 2022 The closest star to us is Proxima Centauri, which is approximately 4.37 light years away from the Sun and hosts two known exoplanets. With new theoretical technology known as solar sails, a company called Breakthrough Starshot has proposed a flyby mission to the exoplanet Proxima Centauri b. If the solar sails perform… Continue reading

Astronomy Fact of the Day: January 19, 2022

January 19, 2022 On this date in 2006, the New Horizons spacecraft was launched, with the primary objective to explore Pluto and its moons. New Horizons reached Pluto in 2015, sending back the first detailed images of this object. In early 2019, New Horizons sent back images of the Kuiper Belt Object Arrokoth. More information… Continue reading

Astronomy Fact of the Day: January 18, 2022

January 18, 2022 The Sun goes through solar cycles that last 11 years. During these cycles, activity on the sun increases as it heads towards solar maximum and the magnetic field reverses. Activity then begins to decline and bottoms out at solar minimum. We are currently in solar cycle #25 which began in 2019 and… Continue reading