Tuesday 23rd October Meeting – Venus, Earth’s Twin

Damia Bouic, an amateur image processor, combined Akatsuki images taken through its UVI camera — at different distances — to create this composite. The brown region bristles with small convective clouds.
JAXA / ISAS / DARTS / Damia Bouic

This Tuesday we have another live talk in our series of planets of our solar system. George Gray will look at Venus – deemed to be Earth’s twin, but still radically different!

“Venus is the second planet from the Sun, orbiting it every 224 Earth days. It has the longest rotation period (243 days) of any planet in the Solar System and rotates in the opposite direction to most other planets (meaning the Sun would rise in the west and set in the east). It does not have any natural satellites. It is named after the Roman goddess of love and beauty. It is the second brightest natural object in the night sky after the Moon, bright enough to cast shadows at night and, rarely, visible to the naked eye in broad daylight. Orbiting within Earth’s orbit, Venus is
an inferior planet and never appears to venture far from the Sun.

Venus is a terrestrial planet and is sometimes called Earth’s “sister planet” because of their similar size, mass, proximity to the Sun, and bulk composition. It is radically different from Earth in other respects. It has the densest atmosphere of the four terrestrial planets, consisting of more than 96% carbon dioxide. Venus is by far the hottest planet in the Solar System with a mean surface temperature of 462°C, even though Mercury is closer to the Sun. Venus is shrouded by an opaque layer of highly reflective clouds of sulfuric acid, preventing its surface from being seen from
space in visible light. It may have had water oceans in the past, but these would have vaporized as the temperature rose due to a runaway greenhouse effect.

As one of the brightest objects in the sky, Venus has been a major fixture in human culture for as long as records have existed. It has been made sacred to gods of many cultures, and has been a prime inspiration for writers and poets as the morning star and evening star. Venus was the first planet to have its motions plotted across the sky, as early as the second millennium BC. “(Wikipedia)

Fergusson Park Observatory, Tilby Drive, Matua, Tauranga.
Tuesday 23rd October at 7.30pm.

Our telescopes will be operating – dependent on suitable weather. Mars, Jupiter, Saturn and the Moon will be visible. The Moon will be almost full so that won’t be ideal for viewing



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With funding support from:


Slooh Space Camera


NASA astronomy picture of the day