Visit Planner

Choose the attractions you would like to see and let us sort out your day.

BECOME A SCIENCE CENTER MEMBER TODAY!

Members enjoy FREE James S. McDonnell Planetarium show tickets with EVERY visit!

Astronomy Fact Of The Day

2017
November 1

Tonight the Moon will be exhibiting a waxing gibbous phase. The dark patches you see on the Moon are called Maria. These were produced when lava once poured onto the Moon’s surface.

Tonight the Moon will be exhibiting a waxing gibbous phase. The dark patches you see on the Moon are called Maria. These were produced when lava once poured onto the Moon’s surface.
November 2

In the morning of Nov. 5 the Southern Taurid meteor shower will peak around 6am. For the best chance to see meteors go outside at 10pm and look east. Your chances will improve once Taurus climbs higher in the sky.

In the morning of Nov. 5 the Southern Taurid meteor shower will peak around 6am. For the best chance to see meteors go outside at 10pm and look east. Your chances will improve once Taurus climbs higher in the sky.
November 3

Public Telescope Viewing will be held at the James S. McDonnell Planetarium tonight with the St. Louis Astronomical Society. For more information visit www.slsc.org

Public Telescope Viewing will be held at the James S. McDonnell Planetarium tonight with the St. Louis Astronomical Society. For more information visit www.slsc.org
November 4

Daylight saving time ends tomorrow at 2am. We will be returning to Central Standard Time (CST) so remember to set your clocks back one hour.

November 5

At 7:04pm the bright star Aldebaran will be occulted by the Moon. During this you will see the bright star disappear behind the Moon. Unfortunately it occurs shortly after moonrise. Aldebaran will reappear at 7:51pm.

At 7:04pm the bright star Aldebaran will be occulted by the Moon. During this you will see the bright star disappear behind the Moon. Unfortunately it occurs shortly after moonrise. Aldebaran will reappear at 7:51pm.
November 6

The Moon is at perigee tonight. This is when the Moon is closest to Earth. During this perigee the Moon will be 361,438 km from Earth.

November 7

Tonight if you look east at 10pm you will see the three stars of Orion’s Belt. What appears to be three stars is really about 80. Orion’s Belt is a star cluster called Collinder 70.

November 8

Tonight you will find the constellation Cetus in the south. This is a dim constellation with two bright stars Menkar and Deneb Kaitos. As the year ends you should see another bright star appear between them. This is the variable star Mira.

November 9

Tomorrow morning NASA will launch NOAA’s Joint Polar Satellite System-1. This is a polar orbiting weather satellite that will monitor global atmospheric, terrestrial and oceanic conditions.

November 10

Last quarter moon occurs tonight at 8:36 pm which is before moonrise. On average the Moon is about 240,000 miles from us. Tonight it will only be 232,755 miles from Earth.

Last quarter moon occurs tonight at 8:36 pm which is before moonrise. On average the Moon is about 240,000 miles from us. Tonight it will only be 232,755 miles from Earth.
November 11

The Northern Taurid meteor shower will peak tomorrow morning around 5am. Your best bet to see meteors will be after midnight when the constellation Taurus is high overhead.

The Northern Taurid meteor shower will peak tomorrow morning around 5am. Your best bet to see meteors will be after midnight when the constellation Taurus is high overhead.
November 12

On this date in 1980 the Voyager 1 mission made its closest approach to Saturn. Its closest approach to Saturn was about 124,000 km.

On this date in 1980 the Voyager 1 mission made its closest approach to Saturn. Its closest approach to Saturn was about 124,000 km.
November 13

Tomorrow morning look east for a thin waning crescent moon around 5 am. Just below the Moon you will also see the planet Mars.

November 14

The star Polaris is currently the North Star. The Earth wobbles on its axis in a motion known as precession. Because of this the star Vega will be the North Star in 12,000 years. You can see Vega in the west around 6 pm.

The star Polaris is currently the North Star. The Earth wobbles on its axis in a motion known as precession. Because of this the star Vega will be the North Star in 12,000 years. You can see Vega in the west around 6 pm.
November 15

On this date in 1738 Sir William Herschel was born. Herschel discovered the planet Uranus in 1781. You can find Uranus in the constellation Pieces but it will require binoculars.

On this date in 1738 Sir William Herschel was born. Herschel discovered the planet Uranus in 1781. You can find Uranus in the constellation Pieces but it will require binoculars.
November 16

The Leonid meteor shower peaks on November 17 for N. American observers. Your best chance to see this meteor shower will be around 3 am on November 17 and 18. The Moon will be a waning crescent so it will not interfere.

November 17

If you look in the north around 6 pm you will see a group of stars that look like the letter ‘W”. This is the fall constellation Cassiopeia, the Queen.

November 18

New moon occurs today starting lunation 1174. A lunation is the time it takes for the Moon to go from new moon to the next new moon. This takes about 29.5 days which is the basis for our month.

November 19

On this date in 1969 the Apollo 12 mission landed on the Moon. During Apollo 12 mission astronauts Pete Conrad and Alan Bean rendezvoused with the Surveyor 3 mission on the lunar surface.

On this date in 1969 the Apollo 12 mission landed on the Moon. During Apollo 12 mission astronauts Pete Conrad and Alan Bean rendezvoused with the Surveyor 3 mission on the lunar surface.
November 20

Today in 1998 assembly of the first multinational space station started. Today we call this the International Space Station (ISS) which is periodically visible from our backyards.

November 21

The moon will be at apogee today which is when the Moon will reach its greatest distance from Earth. For the current lunation that distance is 406,132 km.

November 22

Looking to the southeast around midnight you will see Sirius, the Dog star. It is the brightest star in the night sky as viewed from Earth and is hotter than the sun!

Looking to the southeast around midnight you will see Sirius, the Dog star. It is the brightest star in the night sky as viewed from Earth and is hotter than the sun!
November 23

The average distance to the moon is around 240,000 miles. The Apollo spacecraft took 3½ days to reach the moon.

November 24

Tonight Mercury will reach its greatest eastern elongation. This will be your best chance to see the elusive planet. Tonight you will find Mercury about 6° above the western horizon 45 minutes after sunset.

Tonight Mercury will reach its greatest eastern elongation. This will be your best chance to see the elusive planet. Tonight you will find Mercury about 6° above the western horizon 45 minutes after sunset.
November 25

Look south tonight around 6 pm and you will find the Moon in the constellation Capricornus. This is one of the oldest of the 88 constellations astronomers use which comes from the Sumerian culture.

November 26

First quarter moon occurs tonight at 5:03 pm. The line that separates night and day on the Moon is called the terminator. Look along this line for the best views of the lunar surface.

November 27

Looking east around 6 pm tonight you will find a small tight group of stars named the Pleiades. This is an open star cluster that formed within the last 100 million years and is over 400 light years from the Earth.

November 28

Looking to the southeast around 10 pm tonight you will see the constellation Orion the Hunter. Orion will be visible earlier in the evening, as we get closer to the winter season.

November 29

Christian Doppler was born on this date in 1803. This physicist described the Doppler shift that occurs with sound and with light from stars.

November 30

Tonight the Moon will be exhibiting a waxing gibbous phase with about 90% of the lunar disk illuminated. You can find the Moon in the east at sunset.

Contact Us