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A Once In A Lifetime Event. (Mars proximity to Earth)
email ^ | Sat. Aug. 2nd 2003 | email

Posted on 08/02/2003 2:53:31 PM PDT by perfect stranger

A once in a lifetime event.

The Red Planet is about to become a spectacular sight! This month and next, Earth is catching up with Mars in an encounter that will culminate in the closest approach between the two planets in recorded history. The next time Mars may come this close is in 2287.

The encounter will culminate on August 27th when Mars comes to within 34,649,589 miles of Earth and will be the brightest except for the moon 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 10 p.m.and reach its azimuth at about3 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 at12:30a.m. That's pretty convenient to see something that no human being has seen in recorded history. So, mark your calendar at the beginning of August to see Mars grow progressively brighter and brighter throughout the month. Share this with your children and grandchildren.


TOPICS: Astronomy; History; Hobbies; Miscellaneous; Outdoors; Reference; Science; Weird Stuff
Where's my telescope?
1 posted on 08/02/2003 2:53:31 PM PDT by perfect stranger
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To: perfect stranger
They sure are hyping up this closest approach of Earth and Mars. We're not talking a great deal of difference here; 34,649,589 miles isn't all that much of a difference from the usual 38,000,000 miles or so at perigee.

Believe it or not, this phenomenon happens about every 2 years as Earth overtakes Mars "on the inside track", so to speak.

One problem which crops up most times on close approaches like this one is that Mars' southern hemisphere is currently experiencing summer. The dust storms are already kicking up; soon the surface may be shrouded by a blanket of monotonous orange dust. See below for the last such occurrence.

2 posted on 08/02/2003 10:36:32 PM PDT by petuniasevan ("There are lies, damned lies, and statistics." -Mark Twain)
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