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May 2002

Release Date: May 29, 2002

Venus: Earth's Fiery Twin' Opens at ASU Planetarium

Even though it is Earth's nearest planetary neighbor, Venus remains one of the most mysterious planets in our solar system because of a veil of reflective clouds that obscure its surface from us.

"Venus: Earth's Fiery Twin," now playing at the Angelo State University Planetarium, attempts to pierce that veil and provide an idea of what lies beneath the clouds. The program will be shown at 8 p.m. each Thursday through Aug. 8, except July 4. The ASU Planetarium is located in the Vincent Nursing-Physical Science Building at 2333 Vanderventer Ave.

Venus is the brightest star-like object in the night sky, its brightness exceeded only by that of the moon. This summer Venus will be visible to West Texas residents toward the western horizon shortly after sunset. It appears as an extremely bright star just above the horizon.

Venus owes its great brilliance to its proximity to earth and its highly reflective clouds. In many ways Venus is similar to Earth. It is about the same size and mass and likely made primarily of similar rocky materials.

Even so, the details of the surface features on Venus have been difficult to study from Earth and many questions still remain about the planet. Why has Venus proven so hard to study? Does Venus have active volcanoes? How do features on Venus relate to those we see on Earth?

These questions and more are answered in "Venus: Earth's Fiery Twin," a dynamic planetarium show incorporating the latest findings from the spectacular Magellan spacecraft mission to Venus.

"Venus: Earth's Fiery Twin" starts Thursday, May 30. Admission price is $3 for adults and $1.50 for children, students and senior citizens. There is no charge for ASU students, faculty, and staff.

For additional information, please call 942-2136.

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