NANFA-- Mars; way, way off topic

Nick Zarlinga (
Wed, 13 Aug 2003 07:59:52 -0400

Subject: Mars

Never again in your (or my) lifetime will the Red Planet be so spectacular.
This month and next 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 he 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. But 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 the beginning of August to see Mars grow
progressively brighter and brighter throughout the month.

Share this! No one alive today will ever see thi s again.

Nick Zarlinga
Aquarium Biologist
Cleveland Metroparks Zoo
216.661.6500 ext 4485
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