In 1908 on this date, Edward Teller was born. A Hungarian-American physicist, he was part of the Manhattan Project, the United States’ push to develop the nuclear bomb during World War II. Known colloquially as the “Father of the H-Bomb,” he did not care for the title, considering it to be in poor taste. An… Continue reading
As we lose Jupiter and Saturn to the glare of the Sun, we will gain a brief view of Mercury after sunset. You will find this elusive planet about 8° above the southwestern horizon around 5:20 pm. It will be a tough target due to twilight, but if you find the Moon, Mercury will be… Continue reading
On this date in 1986, astronomer Stephen Synnott discovered three more moons in orbit around Uranus: Desdemona, Rosalind and Belinda. NASA has published an extensive overview of the planet Uranus on its pages here.
The observing window for Mercury this month runs from January 13 to February 3. You will find the planet in the southwest after sunset. Typically, the glare of the Sun will hinder seeing Mercury until 30 minutes after sunset. Your best bet to find Mercury will then be between January 19 and January 31.
On this date in 1920, the Smithsonian Institution publishes Robert H. Goddard’s monograph A Method of Reaching Extreme Altitudes. Goddard’s work lays out the concept of using a multi-stage rocket for exploration of outer space and reaching the lunar surface, a concept which would later become fundamental to spaceflight. You can read Goddard’s treatise at… Continue reading
Tonight at 7:30 pm, the constellation Perseus will be overhead. This constellation contains several interesting objects visible in binoculars. The Perseus Double Cluster and the star Algol are good targets to start with. The Double Cluster is two open star clusters and Algol is a variable star.
On this day in 1959, McDonnell Aircraft Co., of St. Louis, Missouri, was selected to produce the Mercury spacecraft. Now a part of Boeing, McDonnell Aircraft’s work during the Mercury program is covered succinctly in this in-house article.
This is the Saint Louis Science Center’s NIGHT SKY UPDATE for the week of Friday, January 8, 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
Views of Jupiter are coming to an end for its current apparition. We are losing the giant planet to the Sun’s glare as it heads towards superior conjunction. At 5:20 pm, Jupiter will only be about 8° above the eastern horizon. Jupiter will return to our morning skies near the end of March.
In 1998 on this date, the unmanned probe Lunar Prospector was launched from Cape Canaveral. This one-year-long program was designed for a low-polar-orbit investigation of the Moon, including (among other things): mapping of surface composition and possible polar ice deposits, and measurement of magnetic and gravity fields. Check out NASA’s Mission Archive page here.