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A Mars once-in-our-lifetime viewing opportunity
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Tiberious aka Sparkles



Joined: 23 Jan 2003
Location: I'm one cool cat!

PostPosted: Wed Jun 15, 2005 7:31 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

mithridates wrote:
I think we should have a Dave's get-together for that. Go to one of those islands near Incheon for a weekend, rent a telescope (or bring along you-know-who if he's bought his already) and stay for the weekend.


I don't get it. You want to have a get-together for something that's not going to actually happen?

Sparkles*_*
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matthews_world



Joined: 15 Feb 2003
Location: Coming to a norae-bang near you!

PostPosted: Wed Jun 15, 2005 8:59 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Quote:
The encounter will culminate on August 27th when Mars comes to within 34,649,589 miles of Earth and will be (next to the moon) the brightest object in the night sky. It will attain a magnitude of -2.9 and will appear 25.11 arc seconds wide. At a modest 75-power magnification Mars will look as large as the full moon to the naked eye. Mars will be easy to spot. At the beginning of August it will rise in the east at 10p.m. and reach its azimuth at about 3 a.m.

By the end of August when the two planets are closest, Mars will rise at nightfall and reach its highest point in the sky at 12:30 a.m.


Origins: The piece quoted above is another example of an item that was once true but is now being circulated again, long after the events it describes have come to pass. This article was relevant back in 2003, but it it not applicable now, two years later.

Mars did make an extraordinarily close approach to Earth which culminated on 27 August 2003, when the red planet came within 35 million miles (or 56 million kilometers) of Earth, its nearest approach to us in almost 60,000 years. At that time, Mars appeared approximately 6 times larger and 85 times brighter in the sky than it does ordinarily.

Although Mars' proximity to Earth in August 2003 (referred to as a perihelic opposition) was a rare occurrence, the red planet comes almost as near to us every 15 to 17 years. To the unaided observer, Mars' appearance in August 2003 wasn't significantly larger or brighter than it is during those much more common intervals of closeness.

Mars will make another fine appearance in 2005, but that occurrence will take place in October/November (not August), and the red planet will appear about 20% smaller than it did in 2003.

The Mars phenomenon of 2003 was featured in a couple of articles on the web site Space.com which are still well worth the reading: Mars to Get Closer than Ever in Recorded History in 2003 and Orbital Oddities: Why Mars will be So Close to Earth in August. Interested observers also joined Mars Watch 2003 through the MarsToday.com web site.

http://www.snopes.com/science/mars.asp
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