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skywatchers: something's coming


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Are there any others here who enjoy watching the sky, as in the moon and stars, and thier positions etc? Something will happen this month that has never been seen in recorded history,and will not be seen again till the year 2287.

The planet Mars and Earth will be in closer proximity than has ever been seen before. During August Mars will be the brightest object in the sky. It will get closer and closer to Earth, until it reaches its zenith on August 27th. On that day not only will it be the brightest object in the sky, it will be the largest, appearing as large, or larger than the moon. This may not be of interest to many, but there are a few skywatchers besides me, and I think it's cool!! :coolio: :thumbsup:

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Sorry, but someone passed this along to me a month ago... I thought it rang a bell when I read your post... Check snopes.com

If you haven't already heard, The Mars thing is a Hoax, It already occurred in 2003

Mars Spectacular

Claim: The planet Mars will make a once-in-our-lifetimes remarkably close approach to Earth in August.

Status: Multiple:

Mars passed extraordinarily close to Earth in August 2003: True.

Mars will pass extraordinarily close to Earth in August 2005: False.

Mars will pass close to Earth in October 2005: True.

Example: [Collected on the Internet, 2003]

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 12:30 a.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

Origins: The piece quoted above is another example of an item that was once true but is now being circulated again, long after the events it describes have come to pass. This article was relevant back in 2003, but it is not applicable now, two years later.

Mars did make an extraordinarily close approach to Earth which culminated on 27 August 2003, when the red planet came within 35 million miles (or 56 million kilometers) of Earth, its nearest approach to us in almost 60,000 years. At that time, Mars appeared approximately 6 times larger and 85 times brighter in the sky than it does ordinarily. (The message quoted above was often reproduced with an unfortunate line break in the middle of the second sentence of the second paragraph, leaving some readers with the mistaken impression that Mars would "look as large as the full moon to the naked eye" and not realizing that the statement only applied to those using viewing Mars through a scope with 75-power


Although Mars' proximity to Earth in August 2003 (referred to as a perihelic opposition) was a rare occurrence, the red planet comes almost as near to us every 15 to 17 years. To the unaided observer, Mars' appearance in August 2003 wasn't significantly larger or brighter than it is during those much more common intervals of closeness.

Mars will have another close encounter with Earth in in 2005, but that occurrence will take place in October (not August), and the red planet will appear about 20% smaller than it did during similar circumstances in 2003.

The Mars phenomenon of 2003 was featured in a couple of articles on the web site Space.com which are still well worth the reading: Mars to Get Closer than Ever in Recorded History in 2003 and Orbital Oddities: Why Mars will be So Close to Earth in August. Interested observers also joined Mars Watch 2003 through the MarsToday.com web site.

Additional information: Mars at Its All-Time Finest

(Sky & Telescope)

Approaching Mars


Last updated: 17 June 2005

The URL for this page is http://www.snopes.com/science/mars.asp

Urban Legends Reference Pages ? 1995-2005

by Barbara and David P. Mikkelson

This material may not be reproduced without permission.

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Now I can justify that telescope purchase .... we've had it for years ( it's good for the moon , not much else ) ... even if this is not the case ( I heard from reliable sources , that last year was the closest Mars would come )--- but I won't dispute NASA ... yet ... Dosen't really matter , though , as Sammy and Joe said , make a party when you can .... :: :stars: :drummer: :rockon:

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Speaking of skywatching, some of my favourite childhood memories are of my best friend I grew up with and I lying on our driveways and watching the night sky. We'd spot satellites and the occasional shooting star, but somehow with our eyes gazing at the sky instead of each other - our curious natures and cross questioning about boys and girls could be satisfied with the least amount of visible embarressment. He still talks about it with fondness.

There was also a beautiful lunar eclipse on the eve of my 21st birthday that I shared on the pier at the beach with a special, much missed friend. It was spectacular, the sky was dark for at least 5 minutes and the moon seemed as close as a stone's throw across the waves. I should find out how he is doing these days.

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