Dancing under the red planet

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Dancing under the red planet

Postby amandab_nyc » Tue Jun 07, 2005 8:49 am

My sister just sent this email to me from a friend of hers that works at NASA. Can anyone validate this?

Imagine dancing in the desert under a huge red planet for the first time in 5,000 years at 75-power magnification.


Hello from the "Land of Enchantment" and NASA's White Sands Test Facility. I got the info below from work back in Houston and thought you might enjoy. For those of you in other countries, the dates are correct, you will need to check on the times. Enjoy!

[name deleted]

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.

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Re: Dancing under the red planet

Postby TheJudge » Wed Jun 08, 2005 1:07 pm

amandab_nyc wrote:Mars will look as large as the full moon to the naked eye.

Uh, I doubt that very much.
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Re: Dancing under the red planet

Postby falk » Wed Jun 08, 2005 2:08 pm

TheJudge wrote:
amandab_nyc wrote:Mars will look as large as the full moon to the naked eye.

Uh, I doubt that very much.

Typo. The sentence should have read: "At a modest 75-power magnification, Mars will look as large as the full moon to the naked eye."

That would have been cool, though.

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Postby blyslv » Wed Jun 08, 2005 2:58 pm

ANOTHER Close Encounter with Mars?
According to a forwarded email circulating for the past month or so, the planet Mars is due for an unprecedented close encounter with Earth this August when a wobble in its orbit brings the two planets closer together than they have been for thousands of years. "No one alive today will ever see this again," says the email — which is odd, considering that exactly the same thing happened two years ago.

Turns out, the email is a recycled message from 2003. Even so, it's not entirely false. Earth and Mars will pass very close to one another again in October (not August) 2005, astronomers say, at which time their orbits will be a mere 43 million miles apart (slightly more than the 35 million miles separating them in 2003). It won't quite equal the once-in-a-lifetime show of two years ago, but the enounter will be "breathtaking" nonetheless, scientists predict, with the red planet outshining every object in the night sky save Venus and the Moon.

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Postby antron » Wed Jun 08, 2005 11:00 pm

mars was pretty close in 03.

it looked really nice in the desert night sky. i wish it were as big as the full moon, but then, global warming would be the least of our worries. maybe it's as bright as the full moon...

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