James

James is the Planetarium Astronomer at the Houston Museum of Natural Science. He teaches students every school morning in the planetarium, and also answers astronomy questions from the public.

Look Up | Comet ZTF Nears Earth

As January ends and February begins, a comet enters the northern evening sky, and it may become bright enough to see with the unaided eye! The comet is C/2022 E3 ZTF. ZTF is the discoverer, the Zwicky Transient Facility, an astronomical survey of the sky using a camera attached to a telescope at Palomar Observatory […]

Perihelion | January 2023 Sky Happenings

Editor’s Note: It is a new year and we continue looking up as HMNS Astronomer James Wooten explains the sky happenings for the month of January, including the science behind perihelion. Jupiter is still in the evening sky; look for it in the south southwest at nightfall.  Jupiter is brighter than any star we ever […]

Winter Solstice | December 2022 Sky Happenings

Editor’s Note: Look to the skies as HMNS Astronomer James Wooten explains the sky happenings for the month of December, including the science behind our winter solstice. Jupiter is still in the evening sky; look for it in the south at nightfall.  Jupiter is brighter than any star we ever see at night. Saturn remains […]

Artemis has arrived at the Moon!

At 12:47 am CST on Wednesday, November 16, 2022, the Artemis I mission successfully launched from Cape Canaveral. Thus begins NASA’s return to the Moon, as we approach the fiftieth anniversary of our last manned mission to the Moon, Apollo 17. Early Monday morning, November 21, Artemis passed behind the far side of the Moon. […]

Eyes on Artemis | November 2022 Sky Happenings

Editor’s Note: Look to the skies as HMNS Astronomer James Wooten explains the sky happenings for the month of November, including the highly anticipated rescheduled Artemis I launch. Jupiter is still up most of the night; look for it in the southeast at nightfall.  Unless the Moon is up, Jupiter is the brightest thing in […]

Autumn Intermission | October 2022 Sky Happenings

Editor’s Note: Look to the skies as HMNS Astronomer James Wooten explains the autumn sky happenings for the month of October. Jupiter was up literally all night long last month.  It is still up most of the night; look for it in the east southeast at nightfall.  Unless the Moon is up, Jupiter is the brightest […]

Artemis I to Launch | September 2022 Sky Happenings

Editor’s Note: Look to the skies as HMNS Astronomer James Wooten explains the sky happenings for the month of September, including the highly anticipated postponement of the Artemis I launch. Jupiter is up literally all night long this month.  Look for it low in the east at nightfall.  Opposition (when Sun, Earth, and Jupiter are […]

Perseid Peaks | August 2022 Sky Happenings

Editor’s Note: Look to the skies as HMNS Astronomer James Wooten explains the sky happenings for the month of August, including the Perseid Meteor Shower. Saturn is up literally all night long this month.  Look for it low in the southeast at nightfall.    Venus remains in the morning sky this month.  Venus outshines everything […]

Summer Swelter | July 2022 Sky Happenings

Editor’s Note: HMNS Astronomer James Wooten shines a light on the July 2022 sky happenings. Venus remains in the morning sky this month.  Venus outshines everything except the Sun and the Moon, so you can try to find it low in the east at dawn.  Venus remains a ‘morning star’ for most of 2022. Mars […]

Summer Solstice | June 2022 Sky Happenings

Distant view of plant earth from within a spacecraft

Editor’s Note: Each month, the astronomers of the Burke Baker Planetarium shed starlight on the night’s sky happenings. Take note of what’s out there for June 2022. Venus remains in the morning sky this month.  Venus outshines everything except the Sun and the Moon, so you can try to find it low in the east […]