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659 Posts
Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Don't know how true this is, but if it is, I can't wait until later in the month......

> The Red Planet is about to be spectacular! 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. Due to the way Jupiter's gravity tugs on
>Mars and perturbs its orbit, astronomers can only be certain that Mars
>has not come this close to Earth in the Last 5,000 years, but it may be
>as long as 60,000 years before it happens again.
> 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 12:30a.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. NO ONE ALIVE TODAY WILL

182 Posts
This went around last year and was partially true.


Mars' extraordinarily close approach to Earth will culminate on 27 August 2003, when the red planet will come within 35 million miles (or 56 million kilometers) of Earth, its nearest approach to us in almost 60,000 years. At that time, Mars should appear to be approximately 85 times brighter in the sky than it does ordinarily.

We should note that although Mars' close proximity to Earth in August 2003 will be a rare occurrence, the red planet comes almost as near to us every 15 to 17 years. To the unaided observer, Mars won't really appear significantly larger or clearer this August than it does at those intervals.
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