Mars to get closer than ever in record history

  • Bigwebmaster
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Post 3+ Months Ago

On Aug. 28, 2003, Mars will be at "opposition," the moment when the Sun, Earth and Mars will form a straight line; since we are closer to the Sun than Mars, this is also when we are overtaking Mars in our respective orbits.

Image

Mars comes to opposition about every 26 months. But because of the elliptical orbits of Earth and Mars, not all oppositions are created equal. The 2003 opposition will be superior to all the others because Mars will be very near to its closest point to the Sun, called perihelion, when it arrives at opposition.

Such "perihelic oppositions" of Mars are in themselves, rather infrequent, occurring about every 15 to 17 years. The most recent one took place in September 1988, when Mars passed to within 36.5 million miles (58.7 million kilometers) of Earth.

Though Mars' opposition comes comes on Aug. 28, it will be closest to Earth on Aug. 27.

At the close approach, the Red Planet will be brighter than Jupiter and all the stars in the night sky, outshone only by Venus and the Moon.

The Red Planet is getting progressively closer to Earth with each passing night, and consequently it will slowly appear to grow larger and brighter. By late August 2003, when it will be about 191 million miles closer, the reddish point of light in our night sky will appear more than six times larger and shine some 85 times brighter than it appears now.

At 5:51 a.m. EDT on Aug. 27, 2003, Mars will be within 34,646,418 miles (55,758,006 kilometers) of Earth. This will be the closest that Mars has come to our planet in nearly 60,000 years.

See the entire store and pictures, and animations here:

http://www.space.com/spacewatch/mars_pr ... 21108.html
  • Anonymous
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Post 3+ Months Ago

  • Geekette
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Post 3+ Months Ago

That's quite interesting! Hehe, Userfriendly.org had a comic about it:
http://ars.userfriendly.org/cartoons/?id=20030810
  • PluTunium
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Post 3+ Months Ago

Im a little slow and i dont really get the cartoon... Anyways that article is interesting. Even though i really dont care for it, it pops an idea in my head


..._/`|`\_ TO BE CONTINUED _/`|`\_ ...not really
  • UNFLUX
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Post 3+ Months Ago

the cartoon was a Star Wars reference

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