Perseverance rover to arrive at Mars February 18

Image Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech

This illustration shows the events that occur in the final minutes of the nearly seven-month journey that NASA’s Perseverance rover takes to Mars. Hundreds of critical events must execute perfectly and exactly on time for the rover to land on Mars safely on Feb. 18, 2021.

Entry, Descent, and Landing, or “EDL,” begins when the spacecraft reaches the top of the Martian atmosphere, traveling nearly 12,500 mph (20,000 kph). It ends about seven minutes later, with Perseverance stationary on the Martian surface. Perseverance handles everything on its own during this process. It takes more than 11 minutes to get a radio signal back from Mars, so by the time the mission team hears that the spacecraft has entered the atmosphere, in reality, the rover is already on the ground.

NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Southern California built and will manage operations of the Mars 2020 Perseverance rover for NASA.

For more information about the mission, go to: https://mars.nasa.gov/mars2020.

Planet Mercury emerges from the light

Mercury is the dot of light at the center of this image. The dimmer dot to Mercury’s left is the star Fomalhaul. Photo by Charles Reinhart.

CAA member Chuck Reinhart ventured out to spot planet Mercury as it reached its widest separation from the Sun, as seen from Earth.

“Thought I’d share some pics from the rare clear night on Saturday, Jan. 23 when Mercury was at its greatest E. Elongation from the Sun. Both images were taken from my backyard … which offers great views of virtually every horizon — depending upon where I journey on the five acres. I would have taken the C11 (telescope) out but it looked like clouds were creeping in pretty soon.”


This photo was “taken with a 70-210 mm lens mounted on a Nikon D600. The first image was taken @ 4/5 sec. f/9 , ISO 1000 set at 210mm at 6:25 p.m.”

As the days pass Mercury sinks nearer the Sun’s position in our skies, disappearing once again into our star’s brilliant light.

January 11: First meeting of 2021

The first 2021 Membership Meeting of the Cuyahoga Astronomical Association (CAA) will take place Monday, January 11, from 7:30 to 9:00 p.m. via the Zoom online meeting service. The evening’s speaker will be CAA member Matt Franduto who will present, “My 2020 Calendar and the images I took and included or excluded!” Club member Mat Franduto is one of our astrophotographers and every year he produces a calendar based on the astronomical images that he took during the previous year. He will show the pics he included, the ones he excluded, and perhaps a few surprises!

Attendees may join the Zoom meeting beginning at 7:20 p.m. the nights of CAA scheduled meetings and meetings begin at 7:30.

The evening will begin with introductions and the featured speaker followed by the monthly membership business meeting, typically concluding at about 9 PM. Guest attendees are welcome.

To attend:

Zoom Video with video and audio, on your web browser. (No camera required)
https://zoom.us/j/95482686049