On this date in 1975, the Soviet unmanned probe Venera 10 soft-landed on Venus, sending back data from the surface. Although it was designed to last only 30 minutes in the extremely high-temperature and high-pressure environment of Venus, Venera 10 transmitted for a record 65 minutes. More information about Venera 10 may be found in… Continue reading
The fall is one of the best times to see the Zodiacal Light. It will appear as a wedge of light in the east before sunrise in the twilight hours. Sometimes called the ‘false dawn,’ Zodiacal light is sunlight reflecting off interplanetary dust in our solar system.
This is the Saint Louis Science Center’s NIGHT SKY UPDATE for the week of Friday, October 23, 2020. Information updated weekly or as needed. Times given as local St. Louis time (CDT). For definitions of terminology used in the night sky update, click the highlighted text. Public Telescope Viewings Star parties at the Saint Louis… Continue reading
In 1961 on this date, the Mercury capsule Freedom 7 was presented to the Smithsonian Institution in Washington, DC. This is the capsule in which Alan B. Shepard, Jr., made the first American suborbital space flight. A NASA summary page about the flight is available here.
The Moon and Saturn will be in conjunction tonight at 10:42pm. This occurs just before the pair will set in the southwest. You can also find a waxing crescent Moon, Saturn and Jupiter in the south by 6:30pm.
On this date in 1897, the famed Yerkes Observatory was founded. Sometimes called “the birthplace of modern astrophysics,” it housed the largest refracting-type telescope in the world when it was dedicated and was a center for serious astronomical research for more than 100 years. Learn more here.
Tonight into tomorrow morning, the Orionid Meteor Shower will peak. This moderate meteor shower is caused by the famous comet called 1P/Halley (also known as Halley’s Comet).
In 1948 on this date, the US Navy released the first views of Earth from near-orbital height. The images were taken from altitudes between 60 and 70 miles by cameras installed in rockets. A Forbes magazine retrospective article which includes these and a variety of other images of Earth may be read here.
Tonight at 7:00pm, the asterism called the Summer Triangle is located directly overhead. When this occurs, the two bright stars at the top of the Triangle point East and West. Knowing the night sky will help ensure you can find the cardinal directions.
On this date in 1956, Dr. Mae Carol Jemison, the first African American woman to fly in space, was born. Some articles, information and photos of Mae Jemison may be found at NASA’s page here.