[Vision2020] Mars: Red Planet of War

Ted Moffett ted_moffett@hotmail.com
Thu, 31 Jul 2003 23:22:45 +0000

Tami, et. al.

Ah, modern humanity and the separation from nature.

The most cursory glance at the night sky recently from 12 midnight till 3 AM 
reveals the bright red planet of war hanging in the southeast to southern 
sky on the Palouse.  It is very bright now compared to how Mars usually 

As your report indicates, the show will just get better in August.

But get away from the city lights to view Mars.  City light pollution 
destroys sky watching.  10 miles away from Moscow or Pullman at least is 
required, further than 10 miles away if you live in Lewiston or Clarkston.

It is so sad to consider that many children growing up in major urban areas 
never or rarely get to wonder at the star dusted night sky as it appears 
without light pollution.  I've heard stories of children who first venture 
into "wilderness" being frightened by what they see for the first time in 
the sky.


>From: Tami Stinebaugh <stin1624@uidaho.edu>
>To: "upbeatapr00@yahoogroups.com" <upbeatapr00@yahoogroups.com>,   Matthew 
>Stinebaugh <mstinebaugh@latah.id.us>,   moscow vision2020 
>Subject: [Vision2020] mars
>Date: Thu, 31 Jul 2003 15:25:57 -0700
>I had this information forwarded to me and thought I'd spread it along for 
>those who haven't heard it yet.
>Tami Stinebaugh
>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 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 
>  List services made available by First Step Internet,
>  serving the communities of the Palouse since 1994.
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