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Old 08-09-2003, 09:35 PM   #1
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Red Planet in August

Subject: Mars


If you haven't noticed Mars, take a look (south of overhead). It's considerably smaller than the moon at this time, but if you're
looking at the right times, it's easy to pick out.


Close Encounter with Mars

Never again in your lifetime will the Red Planet be so spectacular!

This month and next month the Earth is catching up with Mars, 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.

The encounter will culminate on August 27th when Mars comes to within 34,649,589 miles 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, Mars will rise in the east at 10 P.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.

That's pretty convenient when it comes to seeing something that no human has seen in recorded history. So mark your calendar at thebeginning of August to see Mars grows progressively brighter and brighter throughout the month.

Share with your children and grandchildren. No one alive today will ever see this again.

This was an e-mail sent to me today. Wanted to share it with any and all who feel in awe of nature and enjoy being a part of it. And isn't that what many of us are all about???? Enjoy!!! Leigh
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Old 08-09-2003, 09:50 PM   #2
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We've been invited by our Martian friends to a Mars party later this month.

They have a fancy schmancy telescope for the viewing ... should be alot of fun.
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Old 08-09-2003, 09:54 PM   #3
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DARN!!!

Wish we had a Martian friend... and we gave our telescope away as we thought our youngest had done away with the eyescope piece. Natually, he found it in a box about 4 days after it left the premises. Oh, well, if Mars is as big as the Moon as they say, I will find it!!! Later, Leigh
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Old 08-09-2003, 11:32 PM   #4
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Remember, that's under 75 X magnification it will look as big as the moon. To the naked eye it will just be a very bright orange star.

I was out until 2am last night looking at Mars. It's already showing more detail than I can make out in an average year. Through the telescope under very high magnification the south polar cap (which is white), stands out clearly against the orange planet, with dark markings on the disc. It's incredible.

If you have a chance to attend a local star party and look at it through a telescope, be sure to do so. It's amazing to see such detail on something so far away.
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Old 08-10-2003, 04:32 AM   #5
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I know I've been watching it for several weeks. I've noticed the brightness of it before I heard about its tracking.

Awesome sight!
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Old 08-10-2003, 06:09 AM   #6
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I have a nice Orion telescope. Have not seen the "Red Planet" yet this month. Have yet to see the night sky this month. We have been overcast just about every night so far. Been a bad summer. We miss Mr. Sol here in NE Ohio.
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Old 08-10-2003, 01:09 PM   #7
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It's been bad here at night. It's all bright and sunny all day, and I think, oh boy, tonight I'm going to get to use the telescope. Then sunset comes and the clouds move in! Last night it even rained. It's very frustrating for would-be-astronomers!

If you ever get a chance to use your Orion scope, I'm sure you'll enjoy the view of Mars. Most of my stuff (except the scope itself, which I built) is from Orion.
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