Columbia Astronomers meet Saturday

DOWNEY– The Columbia Astronomers club will meet this Saturday, Oct. 18, at 7 p.m. at the Columbia Memorial Space Center. Cost is $2 for non-members of the astronomers club, however, there is an option for a reduced-cost membership that allows access to its October, November and December meetings for only $5.

Saturday’s guest speaker is NASA’s Theo Clark, who will be discussing the JUNO mission to Jupiter.

The Juno spacecraft was launched August 5, 2011.  It looped around the sun and returned to Earth on October 9, 2013 for a gravity assist that slung it on its journey to the planet Jupiter.  Juno will arrive at Jupiter on July 4, 2016 to begin a one year investigation of that giant planet.   The high level science objectives of the Juno mission at Jupiter are to determine the concentration of water in Jupiter’s atmosphere, the existence and size of a solid core, and the nature of Jupiter’s huge magnetic field.  With this information Juno scientists hope to catch a glimpse of the dawn of creation of our own solar system.

But Juno is much more than a space laboratory to study the planet Jupiter.  Juno is the embodiment of a remarkable union of science, technology, literature, music, art, and public engagement.  As Juno sails the cosmic sea to Jupiter it can be deemed an ambassador to the universe of a New Renaissance.

Employing Power Point, DVDs, and audio recordings, Clarke will unveil the Juno mission at Jupiter, the Earth encounter that slung it to Jupiter, and the universal wonder of its quest.

In a 27-year career at the Jet Propulsion Laboratory Theo Clarke worked as scientist and engineer on the Mariner 10 mission to Venus and Mercury, the Voyager mission to the outer planets, and the Galileo mission to Jupiter.  He is the recipient of NASA’s prestigious Exceptional Service Medal for his service and dedication to Galileo’s Earth encounters.  He has lectured on the U.S. space program all over the world, including to all three U.S. military academies.  Clarke is currently an Adjunct Professor of Physics at Pasadena City College and a consultant on NASA’s Juno mission to the planet Jupiter.”

As usual, free telescope viewing will occur after our meeting, weather permitting.



Published: Oct. 16, 2014 - Volume 13 - Issue 27