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Subject: Astronomy #101

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 the year 2287. Due to the way Jupiter's gravity tugs on Mars and perturbs its orbit, astronomers
can not 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 friends, family, children and grandchildren. NO ONE ALIVE TODAY WILL EVER SEE THIS AGAIN
 

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Thanks. I've been putting off that telescope purchase too long. A few years ago when saturn was close enough to see rings with a good pair of binoculars I created at least 50 star junkies.
jimbo
 

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Thanks for reminding me.

Bought a telescope at a yard sale for the kids because they thought it would be cool but we can't see a darn thing through it! Thought I would point it down the street thinking I just didn't have it anywhere near the moon. Didn't work, I still couldn't find anything in the darn thing. Don't know the first thing about them. May just have to go buy a new one.
 

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Kyle, Last fall I too bought one in a garage sale. But it was new in the box. I still have yet to set it up. I also bought it for the kids, lol.. I guess we will find out if it works in a few days too! Dawn
 

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Thanks for the tip, look forward to seeing it
 

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In case anyone is interested, I think it's on the 19th (you'd have to check) but the Perseid meteor shower is this month. It's usually pretty good. Just go out before you get ready for work that morning when it's still dark, and look up. You can usually see some cool shooting stars, and once in awhile, a fireball.
 
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