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For TCS astronomers!

post #1 of 11
Thread Starter 
Mars Spectacular

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 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 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 as no one alive today will
ever see this again.
post #2 of 11
Very Cool I will be watching
post #3 of 11
Thanks for the heads up, Yayi! I will definitely be watching for it.
post #4 of 11
Cool, Yayi! Thanks!
post #5 of 11
Thank you, Yayi for letting us know!

I will definitely be watching!
post #6 of 11
Thanks for the heads-up, and I will certainly be watching for it, as I am sort of a "heavenly spectator" more than a student of astronomy.

I recently got me a humoungous pair of binocs, I think they are about 50 power and weigh about a ton, but on a proper mount are excellent for astronomical viewing.

I have found that, regardless of the power, looking through a telescope with only one eye is somewhat less than adequate.

I guess the thing to have would be a telescope with bi-ocular viewing, but I don't know if anyone makes such an eyepiece, although I can visualize the simplicity of such an arrangement.

I hope this new stellar attraction lives up to its hype, for the last few incidents, Haleys comet, etc, have been stupendous flops.

post #7 of 11
THanks for that. It will be exciting.
post #8 of 11
Yayi, you are a person after my own heart!! I make a point to enjoy all that I can of life, & the nighttime sky is one of my favorites! I esp. appreciate that you remind us to share this event with our children & grandchildren (my grandson is fequently complimented by docents of zoos & preserves on his understanding of the animal-people of this earth). I didn't even know about this; I am so excited!!! My cats are gonna LOVE the extra time outside at night, too!
post #9 of 11
thanks, having taught about the solar system this past year, I am even more fascinated than before.
post #10 of 11
Awesome! Maybe I can get my camera by then and have some kick butt picures!
post #11 of 11
You know about NASA's Deep Impact spacecraft that is going to smash into Comet Tempel1 on July 4--some estimate that the impact blast may be visible with small telescope. See

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