Date night with Venus

An artist’s impression of a Venus volcano. Picture: NASA
An artist’s impression of a Venus volcano. Picture: NASA

WA’s National Science Week starts with a free festival on Saturday, August 10, at Perth Cultural Centre from morning until late evening.

The day features free science shows, interesting presentations and astronomers with telescopes to look at the stargazing highlight of the evening ” a beautiful conjunction of Venus and the crescent Moon.

Wherever you happen to be on Saturday look towards the western horizon at 6.30pm for the view of the month. Venus is the brightest star-like object and it will be sitting below the crescent moon.

Apart from being a dazzling sight, it’s interesting to know a little more about the planet known as Earth’s twin.

The European Space Agency launched the Venus Express mission in November 2005. The spacecraft was sent to study the planet’s atmosphere and reached the planet in April 2006.

It’s been in orbit ever since and one of its major discoveries found that Venus has been volcanically active in the past.

Over recent years studies have revealed large changes in levels of sulphur dioxide in the atmosphere. This could mean volcanoes are still active on the surface.

For more National Science Week events visit www.scienceweek.net.au. Or for more stargazing tips visit www. stargazersclubwa.com.au

Carol Redford