Wednesday, October 26, 2005

Mars Comes Really Close This Week


By Elaine Meinel Supkis

Mars swings close to our Earth this week. So it will be a big, red star in the East. Don't panic. I have made a map showing where everything is there. Feel free to visit this great vacation hot spot.

From Yahoo:
On Sunday, October 30, the Red Planet will be 69.4 million kilometers (43.1 million miles) from Earth -- a distance that in galactic terms is less than wafer-thin and will not be equalled until 2018.

Skywatchers are rubbing their hands at the opportunity.

In the runup to Sunday, but also for much of November, Mars will appear as a big orangey-yellow "star" in the east, an object so bright that it should be visible in almost any conditions of light pollution, says the US publication Sky & Telescope.

Weather permitting -- on Earth and also on Mars, where there are some worrying signs of an impending dust storm -- anyone with a modest telescope should be able to pick out some of the features that make Mars so special.
My grandfather, Edison Pettit, spent much of his life mapping the canals of Mars for Lowell. There were none. But then, you find only what you look for so I decided to highlight some of the more important Martian sites you might want to see if you have a telescope or if the Hubble Space Telescope is still working (not for long, thanks to NASA and Bush).

By the way, they are having dust storms this week on Mars. We should send FEMA there. One way.

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