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?
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
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 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0/)
In 1968 on this date, Yuri Alekseyevich Gagarin, the first person in space, died in an airplane crash. Due to his fame following his space flight, the Soviet leadership did not want to risk him on another flight, but they later relented; while requalifying for flight status, he crashed his MiG-15 trainer, and was killed… Continue reading
In our solar system, planets closer to the sun are called inferior. Planets that are further from the sun are called superior. Superior planets are always at their best during what is called opposition. This is when they are closest to Earth for the year. Learn more opposition planets.
On this date in 1655, Christiaan Huygens discovered Titan, one of Saturn’s moons. Learn more about Titan Image courtesy of NASA / Public domain
Today both Venus and Mercury reach greatest elongation. This is when they will be seen as far from the sun and as such will be at their best for viewing. Venus will be seen in the west after sunset. Mercury will be seen in the east before sunrise Learn more elongation
In 1912 on this date, Werner von Braun was born in Wirsitz, Poland. Although he developed the V-2 rocket bomb, after the war he came to the United States, where he became the leader of America’s ‘Rocket Team.’ He developed the Redstone and Jupiter missiles, and the Saturn rockets that took the United States to… Continue reading
On January 1, 2019 the New Horizons spacecraft flew by its second target in the Kuiper Belt. Originally named 2014 MU69 this object is now named Arrakoth. Learn more about Arrakoth. Image Courtesy of: NASA/Johns Hopkins University Applied Physics Laboratory/Southwest Research Institute/Roman Tkachenko. / Public domain
Tonight around 10pm you will find a bright question mark shape of stars near the zenith. This is the constellation Leo the Lion. Leo is a zodiac constellation which means the sun, moon and planets will appear in him from time to time. Learn more about Leo the constellation.