Did you know that this October, Mars will be closer to Earth than it will be for any time in the next 15 years? Have you noticed that Mars has increased in brightness all year, and is now about forty times brighter than a year ago? Are you aware that Earth has had more missions to Mars fail than to all other planets combined? Have you heard that three new spacecraft are on their way to the red planet right now?
What is Mars’ orbit like? How far away is it? What is it made of? Is it really red? Could it have life? We will answer all of these questions and more. Just as important, we will describe how astronomers (and robot spacecraft) have discovered these things, telling the story of how our understanding of Mars came about. For example, have you noticed that Jupiter and Saturn have stopped moving apart and are now closing in on one another again? Have you seen brilliant Venus lighting up the morning sky this summer? Do you know where to find the meteor shower that’s coming in October? We will help you see all of these things yourself.
Our monthly presentations bring to light current events in the night sky, tell the history of an astronomical subject, and keep you updated on what is happening in space and technology! Time is allowed during each of our live (virtual) events to answer questions from participants. Each presentation offers sky charts and other essential materials that we can email to you, upon request, for your use at home.
For more information visit the new Family Astronomy Night webpage.
Photo credit: https://commons.wikimedia.org/