Families with school-age and older children (and adults!) are invited to join us virtually at MSU-Midland for a presentation focused on the constellations of fall. Specifically, we will focus on several very old constellations. (Yes, some constellations are older than others!) Our selected constellations are not only close together in the sky, making them easier to find, but are connected to one another by an interesting set of mythological stories. And best of all, each of them has something special to offer: favorite double stars, Nobel-prize-winning discoveries, well-known star clusters, famous variable stars, and even a galaxy visible to the unaided eye. Just as important, we will also describe how astronomers have discovered some of these things, and how these fall objects changed our understanding of our universe forever.
As always, we will show you how to find the planets and other cool things that are currently in the sky this month. Certainly, we will show you where to find the fall constellations and their special features. But also—have you been watching Jupiter and Saturn closing in on one another all year, and how that has sped up during fall? Have you noticed that Mars just passed its closest approach to Earth for the next 15 years—and that it has already decreased noticeably in brightness since then? Have you seen brilliant Venus lighting up the morning sky? We will help you see all of these things (and December’s meteor shower) for yourself.
Finally, we will spend a few moments on the largest and perhaps the most famous radio telescopes in the world, and why it may be shut down forever.