In September 1997 the Cassini spacecraft launched from Cape Canaveral on a journey to Planet Saturn and a survey of the planets rings and atmosphere. On Sept. 17, 2017 and almost 20 years to the day, Cassini will run out of fuel and plunge into the planet’s thick mist. Scientists are hoping that on its final trip Cassini will reveal a number of Saturn Moons that have not been visible so far.
On Feb. 13, Professor Howard Trottier will speak at the Sechelt Arts Centre beginning at 8pm. Professor Trottier hails from Simon Fraser University where he is head of physics . He has been the driving force behind the SFU Observatory and runs a “Starry Nights “ program for local residents. He has been awarded the prestigous Quilak award by the Royal Astronomical Society of Canada. Professor Trottier’s talk will be Outreach, Education and Science at Simon Fraser University.
The Language of Astronomy. Each month we will touch on a couple of commonly used but not always understood Astronomy terms. “Apparent Magnitude” is the apparent brightness of an object in the sky as it appears to an observer on earth. Bright objects have a low apparent brightness while dim objects have a higher apparent brightness. “Apogee” is the point of the orbit of the moon or other satellite where it is furthest from earth.
Mercury will be very low in the ESE in morning twilight but lost after mid-February. Venus is low in the SW in the evening twilight and sets near 9pm. Mars is low in the SW in the evening twilight and sets near 9pm. Jupiter rises after 11pm in the E and transits high in the S near 4am. Saturn rises in the ESE near 4am and sets in the SSE
Venus will attain its greatest brilliance on Feb. 16 with an amazing magnitude of 4.8. An interesting sight for the telescope will be a return in late February of Comet Encke. It will be seen one binocular field below Venus, low in the west during evening twilight. Encke shows up in the inner solar system once every 3.3 years and this visit is well positioned for good viewing.