Tuesday, September 06, 2005

Mars Spectaucular?? NOT

Have you received an email recently with the subject line "Mars Spectacular"? Besides the fact that it falsely tells you that it is making it's closest approach in recorded history, it also makes this claim:
“Mars will look as large as the full moon to the naked eye. Mars will be easy to spot.”
If Mars ever looks as large as the full moon, pray for your soul, kiss your kids, and hubbie because the forces that hold the universe together are not working correctly.

Mars closest approach was August 2 years ago. Mars and Earth have a cycle where they are closest together on a two year and 2 month cycle.  This will happen this Oct/November and Mars will be the third brightest object in the sky. (Venus and the Moon will be brighter.)  It has a special name which I can’t remember at this moment and has to do with the different speeds at which the two planets go around the sun and their orbital paths. Read about it here and at the bad astronomy blog. Check for reliable astronomy information at Space.com, nasa.gov, Sky and Telescope and stardate.org.


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