Wednesday, June 15, 2005



The Red Planet, Mars, is about to be spectacular! This summer, 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 the brightest object in the night sky, next to the moon. It will attain a magnitude of -2.9 and will appear 25.11 arc seconds wide at a modest 75-power magnification.

By August 27, 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 , Mars will rise at nightfall and reach its highest point in the sky at 12:30 a.m. It will appear to fill half the sky!


Impact with Earth is due to occur in Kansas around 2:11 p.m. on September 2! Viewers should be able to get a good view from nearly anyplace in North America.

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, and anyone else you know.



Blogger halcyon67 said...

I am so there. I love astronomy. I would like to be an astronomer, but I don't have the math aptitude for it.

August 27, will be a marvelous day.

10:33 AM  
Blogger Phil said...

God I really wish that I had time to schedule such things. I am totally booked between work, schoole, professional obligations, family stuff, and attempting to keep enough of a golf game to not lose my mind. Maybe some day I will be able to watch such things.

8:08 PM  
Blogger J. Marquis said...

Cool info, Snave. I think it's entirely possible humans will be living on Mars someday (if we can figure out how to create an atmosphere).

9:14 PM  
Blogger Unadulterated Underdog said...

That's pretty incredible. I am not a huge astronomer but I always love watching stars live and die, the moon glow and hide, and the planets straggle and wander the system. It's pretty incredible knowing these entities are out there.

10:05 AM  
Blogger Fred said...


11:07 PM  

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