June 08, 2005

Red Planet Flyby

The following is from Jim and Marcia Partridge, via my father. Thanks!!

In case you haven't seen this already, I thought you might be interested. 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 EVER SEE THIS AGAIN !!


At July 04, 2005 5:46 AM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

I thought I remembered Mars making an approach a couple years ago that was the closest in something like 60,000 years, so I checked it out.
The information you quoted is out of date, but not entirely inaccurate. The close approach will, however, be in October. Read more here. http://www.snopes.com/science/mars.asp

At July 14, 2005 1:00 PM , Blogger Matt_J said...

Thanks Anonymous!


Post a Comment

Subscribe to Post Comments [Atom]

<< Home

Web Counter
Web Site Counter

Powered by Blogger

Subscribe to
Posts [Atom]