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.

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 […]

Two new moons for Jupiter, Saturn at opposition, and an eagle rising

Astronomers have announced two new moons discovered orbiting Jupiter bringing its total to 69, something to wonder about as you see it you sky this week. Meanwhile, Saturn reaches opposition on Thursday making it visible from sunset to sunrise.  Here is your guide to the sky for June 12 to 1188, 2017… Constellations – Aquila […]

Summer Swan, Saturn’s Triangle, and Strawberry Moon

This week find another constellation from the Summer Triangle and check out a nice triangle featuring the planet Saturn. It is a week for some bright passes of ISS too.  Here is your guide to the sky for June 5 to 11, 2017… Constellations – Cygnus the Swan Cygnus the Swan is another of the […]

Jupiter mysteries and a Beehive with the Moon

If you think you know Jupiter, think again!  The first science results are in from NASA’s Juno spacecraft, currently in orbit around our solar system’s largest planet.  Incredible new cloud features, magnificent aurorae with a connection to Io, and a stronger than expected magnetic field with anomalies are just the start of these spectacular new […]

Twilight, Two Comets, and Twelve Constellations

Here is your guide to the sky for May 22 to 28, 2017 – a week with a bounty of celestial sights… Sun – Earth – Moon Sunrise this week is 4:57 am and sunset at 8:08 pm and we are only about a month away from the Summer Solstice, but what about twilight?  Astronomers, […]

Mars setting, Comet Johnson in binoculars, and a crown for Spring

Spring is often crowned by numerous flowers, and there is a crown in the evening sky as well – Corona Borealis.  Comet Johnson has become visible in binoculars while Mars is sinking and the next two weeks are your last chance before we lose the planet in the glare of sunset.  Here is your guide […]

Hydra the Water Snake and a new frozen “Hoth like” planet

Spring weather here in Maine – Ah, mud-season!  The weather lately has been challenging for stargazers, but eventually we will see clear skies again.  Spring also is the season for Hyrda – The Watersnake who had multiple heads.  If one was cut off, two would grow back in its place! Here is your guide to […]

May Day, Maine Day, May the Fourth be with you

The cross-quarter May Day begins our week which is full of astronomical sights. At the end of the week, look for the Eta Aquarid Meteor Shower.  In between, why not check out From Lightsabers to Tricorders on May the 4th at the planetarium, or Hitchhikers Guide to the Universe: Exoplanets on May 5th. Here is […]

A Setting Bull with Mars and the Moon

Taurus the Bull is setting shortly after the Sun and this week catch a young crescent Moon with Mars in this fading winter constellation. Taurus is right at the horizon and look for its “V” shaped Hyades right after sunset in the western sky. If you have a telescope, a special event to see on […]