All posts by Shawn Laatsch

Shawn Laatsch

About Shawn Laatsch

Shawn Laatsch is the director of the Emera Astronomy Center and Jordan Planetarium at the University of Maine. He started his astronomy education career in 1984 and has directed planetariums in university and science center facilities, taught undergraduate astronomy courses, and given numerous lectures around the globe. He serves as President (2017 & 2018) of the International Planetarium Society, Inc. the world’s largest organization of planetarium professionals. Shawn has a passion for sharing astronomy and stargazing with people of all ages.

7,6,5 – countdown to the Solar Eclipse, plus a seagoat in your night sky

We are only week and counting as I post this today (Monday, Aug 14) for Solar Eclipse on August 21st.  This is an event you want to make sure to see.  Along with the eclipse we have planets and a seagoat in our evening skies.  Here is your guide to the sky for August 14 […]

Amazing Eclipses and Family Safety

This year on August 21st the lower continental United States will experience a solar eclipse, which is one of the most spectacular sights in all of nature.  It is a great family activity with many options for safe viewing.  Where you are on eclipse day will determine what you see, so let’s explore this topic […]

Full Moon, Lunar Eclipse in Europe, and the Perseid Meteor Shower This week we have a Full Moon, and a Lunar Eclipse (not visible here in the US) signaling the upcoming Solar Eclipse on August 21st.  The Perseid Meteor shower reaches it peak rates on Saturday morning before sunrise, and there is much more to […]

August treasure trove for observers

As August begins, get ready for a month of celestial sites, from the annual Perseid Meteor Shower to the Solar Eclipse along with wonderful planets and more.  In this week’s post we look ahead at our month while exploring the sights of our current sky as well.  Here is your guide to the sky for […]

Mercury, Moon, and Jupiter – a celestial dance!

This week the Moon dances with the planets Mercury and Jupiter. At the end of the week you have a chance to see a few Delta Aquarid meteors. Make sure you take some time to look up.  Here is your guide to the sky for July 24 – 30 , 2017… Spotless Sun, Dancing Moon […]

Apollo 11 at 48 and counting, Dolphin in the sky – oh my!

Forty-eight years ago on Thursday, the Apollo 11  LEM (Lunar Excursion Module) touched down on the Moon carrying Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin. It was the farthest place humans had ever ventured.  This week as you see the Moon in the morning take a moment to remember that historic time.  Here is your guide to […]

Juno at Jupiter’s Red Spot and Mercury after sunset

While viewing Jupiter on Monday, think about Juno flying by the Great Red Spot and for a challenge try to see Mercury in evening twilight. Here is your guide to the sky for July 10 to 16, 2017… Sun and Moon Sunrise this week is at 5:03 am and sunset at 8:19 pm this week […]

Earth at Aphelion, Stars and Stripes for Independence Day

Aphelion is on Monday, July 3 which might seem strange and why do we have stars and stripes on our flag here in the US?  July 4th seems like a good day to think about it.  Here is your guide to the sky for July 3 to 9, 2017… Earth, Moon, and Sun – Some […]

Wandering Planets, Exoplanets, and Ophiuchus?

This week we have some fun things to see from the planets in our solar system to a “serpent bearer” constellation, plus some cool exoplanet news from NASA’s Kepler Mission.  Here is your guide to the sky for June 26 to July 2, 2017… Sun and Moon – Some observations to make… Early in the […]

Summer Solstice – the longest day of the year on June 21!

Summer is officially here as the Summer Solstice heralds it’s beginning on Wednesday at 12:24am! Summer officially begins on this day – so it is time to celebrate!   Here is your guide to the sky for June 19 to 25, 2017… Sun Stands Still, New Moon, and a change in seasons.. The Summer Solstice marks […]