Grab Your Telescope! Must-See Summer Space Events & Activities in the Sky


With new SpaceX launches and an exciting live-streamed landing of Perseverance on Mars, 2021 has renewed an interest in space among adults. How can we spread this fascination and enthusiasm to our children this summer? We’ve got some great ideas for you!

Satellite/Rocket Events

June – US Air Force Satellite Launch

The US Air Force will launch a classified spy satellite sometime in June. Watch it live here.

June 3 – SpaceX Dragon Resupply Mission

A SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket will launch a Dragon cargo resupply mission to the International Space Station. Lift-off can be watched live here.

June 23 – The Atlas V Rocket

This rocket will launch a rideshare mission for the US Space Force. Watch it live here.

July – SpaceX Falcon Heavy Rocket Launch

This heavy rocket launch to deliver an unspecified payload sometime in July. Watch it live here.

August 18 – SpaceX Dragon Resupply Mission

A SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket will launch a Dragon cargo resupply mission to the International Space Station. Lift-off can be watched live here.

**To keep your eye out for the specific dates, be sure to print NASA’S free 2021 calendar to see historical events and milestones.**

Ready Your Telescope/Sky Events

Download the SkyView app to see cosmic events through your phone’s lens in real-time.

May 26 – Super Flower Blood Moon

This is the biggest of the four super moons this year. In Columbia, moonrise will be around 8:59 p.m. on May 26, and moonset will be at 6:23 a.m. on May 27. The lunar eclipse will not be visible from South Carolina, but we will still get a beautiful and bright show! No telescope necessary.

May 30 – Conjunction of the Moon and Saturn

From Columbia, the pair will be visible in the early morning sky around 1:26 a.m., reaching their highest point around 5:54 a.m. The bodies will be visible through the naked eye or a pair of binoculars.

June 13 – Conjunction of the Moon and Mars

From Columbia, the pair will be visible right before dusk with the naked eye or a pair of binoculars. The field of view is too large to observe with a telescope. Look approximately 26* above the horizon near the constellation Cancer.

August 12 – Perseid Meteor Shower 2021

The Perseid meteor shower is one of the most anticipated meteor showers each year, producing a rate of 136 meteors per hour in the Columbia sky. The most optimal viewing time will be shortly before dawn. Look about 65* above the horizon near the constellation of Perseus. This shower is best viewed with the naked eye.

Fun Space Related Activities For You and Your Kids

Your kids can build their own rocket or space station! Design their own astronaut! The possibilities are endless. Trying to find local crafts and toys to start your kids’ project? Be Beep toy shop off Forest Drive provides specialty toy options. City Art Columbia provides quality art supplies for more experienced child artists. There are also a number of Michaels and Hobby Lobby’s scattered around the Midlands.

  1. Rocketship Activity Options

  • Straw Rockets – Create a paper rocket that can be launched from a soda straw – then, modify the design to make the rocket fly farther!
  • Bottle Rocket Activity t’s easy to create a bit of backyard fun with recyclables. The kids will get a blast out of these simple bottle rocks that they can modify, decorate and launch in less than half an hour from start to finish. 

2. Phases of the Moon

  • Supermoon Activity – Use Oreos (yum!) and scrape off the cream center to display different phases of the moon. A delicious and engaging way to get kids actively learning!

3. Summer Solstice Activity

4. Planet Related Activity

  • Always wanted to cruise around on the surface of another planet? Well, you’re in luck! In Explore Mars, you will be driving a rover on Mars and collecting information about Martian rocks. This interactive video game from NASA is a favorite among kids. 

SC State Museum Planetarium

The Planetarium is now open with limited capacity. Advance ticket purchase is strongly encouraged. The planetarium offers a 55-foot digital dome to take guests on thrilling space adventures, both educational and entertaining. The schedule of shows can be found on the website. And be sure to keep your eyes on the planetarium schedule of events for their annual Space Week!

What cosmic activity or event are you most looking forward to this summer?

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Dani Campbell
Hi, I’m Dani! I’m an engineer turned clinical research scientist. My husband and I met through our mutual love of all things nerdy. We married in 2017 and recently started growing our family. Our first child was born three days into the start of the new decade. Just as we were ready to start bringing her out into the world, the pandemic hit. Finding communities online has been the perfect way for me to feel less alone in new motherhood and the wonderful, emotional, exhausting, and sometimes terrifying experiences that come with it. Columbia Mom =was one of these communities. In April 2021, I joined as a contributor. I will use my background in engineering and science to provide unique activities that I hope you and your children will love. I believe in honestly sharing the “good, bad, funny, frustrating, beautiful, and messy” parts of our new parenthood journey, so in this little corner of the internet, you might relate to something and feel connected and empowered.


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