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Family Astronomy Night, Wednesday, September 15, 2021 at 7 PM EST – VIRTUAL EVENT

September 15, 2021 @ 7:00 pm - 8:30 pm EDT

Image of planet Venus

Venus:  Our Brightest Planet

Did you know that Venus is the brightest object in the night sky other than the Moon—so bright that it is often mistaken for an airplane? Or that these next several months are the best times to see Venus in the evening since early in 2020, and that it won’t be this nice again until spring of 2023? Are you aware that humans have sent nearly forty missions to the planet Venus—and that almost half of them failed? Have you heard that the surface temperature of Venus is hot enough to melt lead, and the surface pressure is great enough to crush a submarine? And what are the other planets and constellations doing in our skies in September? Join us by Zoom to learn more!

Please register to receive the Zoom login. You may register up to the presentation start time or even during the meeting to join us.


We will cover the amazing ways that Venus moves through the heavens, how it looks in the sky (and why), and what you can observe without any equipment. We will also summarize the history of human studies of Venus, going back to the key discovery that the Greeks made, the special cycle that the Mayans followed, and scientific studies from the first telescopic observations through images obtained with the largest telescopes. We will also describe some of the missions that have been sent to Venus and what we have discovered through them: characteristics of Venus’ atmosphere, composition, magnetic field, winds, and many other features. For our technology update, we will highlight one of the fallouts—literally—of space travel: space debris and its effects.

And, as always, we will show you how to find the planets and other cool things that are in the sky this month and into early October.  Have you noticed the Summer Triangle high in the sky?  Have you learned how to find other seasonal stars and constellations, like brilliant Vega in Lyra the lyre, Deneb in Cygnus the swan, Altair in Aquila the eagle, the bright “W” of Cassiopeia the queen, and the bright “Teapot” of Sagittarius the centaur?  Did you know that Saturn and Jupiter stand side by side from sunset to sunrise this month?  We will help you find all of these things for yourself.

Image: https://photojournal.jpl.nasa.gov/jpegMod/PIA00104_modest.jpg

Please join our mailing list to receive notices about upcoming Astronomy Night presentations and other events at MSU St. Andrews.

Attention students: MSU St. Andrews participates in the Great Lakes Bay Region STEM Passport program. You may attend an event or workshop and log it as a STEM experience on your passport!

Michigan State University is committed to providing equal opportunity for participation in all programs, services, and activities. Accommodation for persons with disabilities may be requested by contacting (517) 432-4499 by Wednesday, September 8, 2021. Requests received after this date will be honored whenever possible.

Programming is made possible through the support of several local organizations: the Herbert H. and Grace A. Dow Foundationthe Rollin M. Gerstacker Foundationthe Charles J. Strosacker Foundation, and the Dow Chemical Company Foundation.


September 15, 2021
7:00 pm - 8:30 pm EDT
Event Tags:
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MSU St. Andrews
(989) 374-9900


Online via Zoom