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25 June 2005

Look! Up In The Sky...


I

t's a bird... It's a plane... It's Superman.... NO! It's the planet Mars!

The Red Planet is about to be spectacular! This month and next. I have to thank NowDanny for sending me a reminder about this sky show.

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.

Observations and Questions

Just think no one alive has ever seen this and no one alive will be alive when it happens again. Are you going to look for it?

Today's Birthday

In 1903, the one, the only, Floyd "Babe" Herman aka Babe Ruth. Brooklyn Dodgers' slugger

Gentle Reminder of the Day

Come on gang... get your picture to me if you want it displayed for the world to see. We still have time gang, email me and I'll give you my home address... zip off a postcard and give me your address and I'll zip one off to you. It's been really interesting so far!

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