Sunday, August 29, 2010

The Moon and Mars

You probably have heard some sort of fuss about Mars being so close that it will be larger or brighter than the Moon.


The planet Mars will be at its closest point in a long time, and for many years to come.  It will be brighter than usual, but still just a red dot in the sky.  Venus is the brightest "star" in the sky most nights, excepting the Moon, and Mars just isn't bright enough to steal that honor away.  If you would like to see what it looked like on August 24th, here is a picture of it with a short description from NASA.   Nice shot as well.

It's an internet hoax.  Actually to explain it away, it is more like the Telephone game that we played when we were kids.  If kids still play it, you line kids up in a row, and whisper into one ear a sentence.  That kid whispers it to the next and it gets to the end all mangled up.  Basically Mars was 75 times smaller than the Moon in 2003 when it was at its closest approach then.  If you took a 75 power telescope it would look, to the eye, as if it were as large as the moon with an unaided eye.   In 2003 everyone was looking up, checking out Mars, and if you had a telescope, you had a great view.   If not, you would be looking online like I did for pictures.

If you did get swept up in that hype, don't worry, I did until I caught the APOD link above describing it. 

If you like celestial pictures, I highly recommend APOD.  You get a picture of something connected with the stars and space every day.  I've saved a few to go into my background rotation, and if I ever manage to get an electronic picture frame of any size, they'll end up in there too.

After all, we all need some art in our lives.  Sometimes it is a picture of the skies, other times it is a giant spider or dancing naked women in Key West!

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