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June 2005


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Barbara Powers <[log in to unmask]>
Reply To:
Vermont Birds <[log in to unmask]>
Tue, 21 Jun 2005 10:30:36 -0400
text/plain (46 lines)
I know this isn't bird related but thought it would be of interest when you
are outside listening for the whip-poor-wills, etc.
Barbara Powers

>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 family and friends as no one
>alive today will ever see
>this again