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>CLOSE ENCOUNTER WITH MARS
>
>This month and next Earth is catching up with Mars, 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.
>
>The encounter will culminate on August 27th when Mars comes to within
>34,649,589 miles 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 he naked eye. Mars will be easy to spot.  At the beginning
>of August Mars will rise in the east at 10 p.m. and reach its azimuth at
>about 3 a.m. But 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 when it comes to seeing something that no human 
>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!
>
>No one alive today will ever see this again.

Dino...k6rix@arrl.net 

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