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Closest approach of Mars tonight - RF Cafe Forums

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 Post subject: Closest approach of Mars tonight
Posted: Tue Aug 26, 2003 2:53 pm 
 
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Joined: Sun Aug 03, 2003 2:02 pm
Posts: 451
Location: Erie, PA
If you have any interest in astronomy, you won't want to miss the opportunity to view Mars tonight as it completes its closest approach to Earth in 60,000 years. From the U.S. eastern seaboard, Mars rises at dusk and is well over treetops by midnight. The new moon tonight will make the skies nice and dark. Mars is so bright now that you can't miss it as long as there is not thick overcast. If you're lucky, you'll spot the white south polar ice cap.

Anything less than about a 6" telescope won't reveal much other than a bright red disk, so don't expect NASA quality images. Many years ago, when I had an 8" Newtonian on an equatorial mount, I was able to see the polar ice cap line, but never anyhting like the "canali" observed by Lowell.

Anyway, a good pair of binoculars will turn up a very bright Mars, enough so that if you stare at it for a few moments with one eye closed and then look away, you'll notice how one eye is dark adapted and one isn't.

Here's a good link to Sky & Telescope
http://skyandtelescope.com/news/article_1030_1.asp


- Kirt B.




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