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.

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 […]

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, […]