Spaced Out

astronomy tips!

You want them to shoot for the stars, but your expertise begins and ends with E.T. For the last installment of our summer expert series, Derrick Pitts, chief astronomer at The Franklin Institute, shares tips for making sense of the night sky.

Space Odyssey
It’s not always possible to see Jupiter, but the solar system’s largest planet is showing now. It appears as a large, off-white orb in the inky black, even without a telescope. However, if you’ve got one, you’ll see the planet’s colored cloud bands and four brightest moons.

In a Pinch
Since stars twinkle and planets don’t, it’s easy to discern constellations. Look to Jupiter’s right to see Scorpius: the stinger of the zodiac. It’s got a sprawling S shape.

Bull’s Eye
Sagittarius is close by, but searching for the archer’s bow will only lead to frustration; its stars are too faint. Instead, keep eyes peeled for a teapot-like formation.

Making things not so alien after all.

For more out-of-this-world info, check out Galileo, the Medici and the Age of Astronomy, at The Franklin Institute, 222 North 20th Street (215-448-1200 or fi.edu).

This Week in Philadelphia!

Tree Adventure
Make like a squirrel and scamper along rope nets, amble across an elevated canopy, and get a bird’s-eye view from 50 feet up.
Why: Spread your wings.
When: Ongoing. Mon.-Fri., 10 a.m.-4 p.m.; Sat. & Sun., 10 a.m.-5 p.m. Extended hours this Thurs., 10 a.m.-8:30 p.m.
Where: Morris Arboretum, 100 E. Northwestern Ave. (215-247-5777).

Samba on South
Celebrate Brazil’s Dia da Independencia with capoiera demonstrations, dance lessons, free face painting, and more.
Why: Feel the rhythm.
When: Fri.-Sun.
Where: Around town. See schedule online at southstreet.com or call 215-625-7988.

Artfully Messy
What: Kids (15 months-4 years) let their imaginations roam with a variety of fun art projects.
Why: Smock talk.
When: Ongoing. Thurs., 9:50-10:30 a.m. & 10:45-11:35 a.m.
Where: Nurture, 19 W. Lancaster Ave., Ardmore (610-649-0424). Register in advance at 610-649-0424 or online at shopnurture.com.

19 W Lancaster Ave
@ Anderson Ave
Ardmore, PA 19003
222 N 20th St
bt Winter & Race Sts
Philadelphia, PA 19103
100 E Northwestern Ave
@ Germantown Ave
Philadelphia, PA 19118