is the 'International Year of Astronomy' and this gives
me the excuse to get outside with my personal hobby a little
more (not that I need an excuse). Throughout the year, I
shall be taking my telescopes and cameras either out into
the garden or to darker locations to try to photograph and
film various astronomical phenomena.
night I went outside (on the spur of the moment really as
we were short of video news for the week) and filmed the
planet, Venus. I
was going to do this on the 23rd of January, and still will
if the sky is clear as, on that evening, Venus will be close
(in conjunction) with Uranus. No schoolboy jokes please
- you will still need to look up in the sky to see it. Weather
permitting, this will give the opportunity to see one of
the closest and one of the most distant planets together
and make finding Uranus in the sky an easy task.
you can see a film of Venus last night, plus a photo which
is made up from the stacked video frames from my 8 inch
Schmidt Cassegrain telescope and monochrome astro imager.
is the closest planet to Earth at 26 million miles during
its closest approach and is the third brightest object in
the sky after the sun and the moon. Until the space age,
the surface of Venus remained a mystery as the planet is
covered in a thick atmosphere which is impossible to see
through optically from Earth. In 1961, the American Marina
2 flew by the planet and found that, even close up, the
atmosphere proved to be an impenetrable barrier, although
it did show that the planet's atmosphere is made up of mainly
carbon dioxide. Later in the 1960s the Soviets sent several
probes to Venus - the first three did not make it to the
surface and the fourth, Venera 7, may have landed but failed
to send back pictures. Data received from the craft was
later analysed and this showed that the planet's atmosphere
was 100 times that of earth, with a temperature around 475
degrees C - nearly 900 F. The first colour image of the
surface of Venus was sent back by Venera 13 in 1982. The
craft functioned for 127 minutes before over heating, getting
crushed by the atmosphere and corroded by acid rain. The
image showed a reddish brown surface scattered with broken
volcanic rock. All-in-all, Venus is an extremely inhospitable
planet with a runaway greenhouse effect and no politicians
there to solve the problem by increasing taxes.
you really like this film, you can follow this
link to my Vimeo page and download the mpeg2 version.
Only for personal use though, please unless you ask first.
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