Tuesday, June 7, 2011

Summer Events in Astronomy and Space Exploration

Since the planetarium is closed during the summer, we won't be around to point you to special events through our Facebook and Twitter updates. So, we thought it would be good to give you a heads-up regarding some of the exciting events you'll want to watch for over the summer.
  • SUMMER Solstice:  The official beginning of summer (northern hemisphere) is on June 21st.
  • FINAL Space Shuttle Launch:  The last shuttle, Atlantis, sits on the launch pad as I write this. The lift-off is currently targeted for July 8th. With it's crew of four, Atlantis will ferry spare parts and supplies to the International Space Station.
  • DAWN arrives at the asteroid Vesta:  After a four year journey, the Dawn spacecraft is creeping up on the second largest asteroid, Vesta. It's currently slated to arrive at Vesta in July.
  • JUNO heads toward Jupiter [alternate site]:  With the launch window for Juno opening on August 5, the spacecraft will begin a journey which will help us to know Jupiter and the Solar System like never before. I highly recommend the online tour at the primary link above.
  • PERSEID Meteor Shower:  Unfortunately, the full moon will brighten the sky, obscuring many of the meteors at the peak, August 12-13. But the Perseids are somewhat active throughout August.
Have a great summer! And we look forward to seeing you at our public events/shows in the fall, and working with your groups in the planetarium.