Field of View - October 2020

Original article appears in GuideStar October, 2020.

Life in the Venusian Atmosphere & Astrophotography Corner

by Don Selle – Guidestar Editor

Venus-NewlyProcessedView-20200608.jpgAstronomy has been described as a “gateway” science. Most young people are introduced to astronomy early in their school careers, and some get hooked on science and later pursue careers in other scientific disciplines. Many of us (myself included) go on to other non-science careers but retain a strong lifelong interest in science generally and astronomy in particular. For us, amateur astronomy is a starting place for lifelong learning. A large astronomy club like HAS can provide many opportunities to its members for continuous learning.  We get to observe the forefront of current research and learn many new things in the process.

For example, HAS members who zoomed into the September 11th main meeting participated in a very informative presentation on vulcanism on Venus by Dr. Justin Filiberto of the Lunar and Planetary Institute. The presentation included a summary of his results (published last January) as well as an insider’s look at how he conducted his research, and  his commentary on how scientific results are presented in the professional literature, vs. how they are presented in the scientific press.

During a lively Q&A session, Dr. Filiberto gave listeners a huge bonus when he told us that a very major announcement about Venus would be coming out the very next Monday. While he could not tell us any more than that he was not involved on the team that would make the announcement, it was clear that he was very excited about what was about to be announced. Sure enough on Monday we learned that researchers had found evidence that life exists in the Venusian atmosphere!

This revelation of potential life in the atmosphere of Venus, as well as other recent research on how life might have come to exist there is discussed in more detail in this month’s Armchair Astronomy column.

Astrophotography Corner

Also new to the Guidestar this month is a column titled Astrophotography Corner.  I have recently been fielding questions from new members about various aspects of astrophotography (or members new to AP). Since we have seen a surge in members interested in astrophotography, a question and answer column may be helpful to get new astrophotographers off to a solid start.

If you have specific questions on astrophotography, especially related to technique or technology. Equipment can be discussed in a general way (i.e. by type) but specific recommendations on brand and model of equipment will not be made. If you have specific questions about astrophotography, please send them to [email protected]. I will do my best to answer your email, and if needed will get others who may be more experienced in a certain area to provide their input as well. If your question and our answer would be of help to others, we will publish them on the HAS website and in the Guidestar so others may benefit.

Image Credit: By NASA/JPL-Caltech - https://photojournal.jpl.nasa.gov/figures/PIA23791_fig2.jpg (Image)https://photojournal.jpl.nasa.gov/catalog/PIA23791 (Summary), Public Domain, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=91075043

 

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