Astronomy Club – July 2021

July 19, 2021

Posted by Lake Erie Nature and Science Center

We’re back!

After a long break, Astronomy Club is back to meeting in person! I hope everyone is well and as happy to see each other as I am. While most of us were, understandably, focused on other things over the past year and a half, quite a bit has been happening in the universe of Astronomy and Space Science. Drop by one of our monthly meetings to see what is up! – Bill Reed

News and Current Events

What’s going on in the world of space and astronomy

New missions announced for visiting Venus!


For the first time in over 30 years, the United States is planning missions specifically to visit the planet, Venus. The DAVINCI+ (Deep Atmosphere Venus Investigation of Noble Gases, Chemistry, and Imaging) spacecraft will study the planet’s atmosphere in hopes of understanding why this planet turned out so differently from Earth. VERITAS (Venus Emissivity, Radio Science, InSAR, Topography, and Spectroscopy) will study Venus’ geology by mapping surface elevations and work to determine whether this planet still has active plate tectonics and volcanism.

Think you want to be the first person on Venus? Think again!

  • 900°F in the shade
  • It is all shade because of the dense clouds
  • Sulfuric acid rain
  • 96% carbon dioxide atmosphere
  • Air pressure equivalent to 3000ft below sea level
  • Thousands of volcanoes
  • No detectable water

The growing problem of man-made space debris

With over 29,000 individually tracked pieces of orbital debris in Earth’s orbit, representatives from the UK, EU, US, France, Germany, Italy, Canada and Japan have now pledged to take action to tackle in the increasingly hazardous issue of space junk. This involves funding programs for private companies to develop methods to remove the debris. Traveling at speeds of over 17,000mph, the objects pose an ever-present danger to both astronauts and spacecrafts.

Gadgets and Gear

Technology reviews and recommendations

New “Smart” Telescope

Unistellar eVscope smart telescope

The new Unistellar eVscope is an all-in-one smart scope made for both astrophotography and visual observing. This 4.5” diameter reflecting telescope utilizes automatic tracking and applies intelligent image processing to deliver a real-time image on a miniature LED screen. With features such as GoTo capability, rechargeable batteries, GPS, self-aligning mount, a 5,000 plus item database and an app to control it all, this could all be yours for the low, low price of $3,000. While you can get a similar, or even better, set-up for less, this is all-in-one without the fuss of cables, laptops, battery packs and manual set-up.


Space and Media

A.I. Artificial Intelligence

This month we reviewed the movie “A.I. Artificial Intelligencedirected by Steven Spielberg

Released in 2001, this is a story about a highly advanced robotic boy who longs to become “real” so that he can regain the love of his human mother. Becoming more relevant since its release, it places you in a world populated by AI and touches upon the emotional and ethical issues presented by this emerging technology.

Wrap your brain around this…

Mind blowing facts

A year in the life of Venus

A year on Venus (its revolution period around the sun) is 224.7 Earth days. A Venusian day is unusual because it spins the opposite direction of Earth and most other planets. This “backwards” day on Venus lasts 243 Earth days. That means that a day on Venus is a little longer than a year on Venus.

This shape look familiar?

The early mathematician Pythagoras was one of the first individuals to recognize that the morning and evening stars (Venus) were the same object. Its position between Earth and the Sun, and the angularity of its orbital position, give Venus the phases we see here from Earth.

Diagram showing angle of Venus orbital position

Join Astronomy Club!

Benefits include:

  • Monthly Meetings
  • Telescope Night Programs
  • Movie Nights
  • Telescope Training and Loan Program
  • Volunteer Opportunities

Annual Fee: $60/household

Upcoming Events

Astronomy Club Meeting

Wednesday, July 21 @ 6:30 pm

Telescope Night

Saturday, July 24 @ 8:30 pm

Topic: Astronomy