Let me tell you why you're here. You're here because you know something. What you know, you can't explain.
But you feel it. You've felt it your entire life. That there's something wrong with the world.
You don't know what it is, but it's there...like a splinter in your mind, driving you mad.
It is this feeling that has brought you to me. Do you know what I'm talking about?

"Morpheus, The Matrix"

Wednesday, 27 January 2010

Best Display of Mars From Earth in 6 Years

source: wired.com

On Jan. 27, Mars will be closer to Earth than any other time between 2008 and 2014. A mere 60 million miles away, the red planet will be a great target for backyard telescopes, and will appear bright to the naked eye as well.

Every 26 months, the two planets’ orbits bring them closer together, sometimes closer than others. In 2003, Mars came within 35 million miles of Earth, a 60,000-year record.

Observers with a telescope will be able to see changes over the north pole of Mars as the carbon dioxide ice cap is nearing summer and evaporating into gas that affects the polar clouds. (If any of our reader-astronomers catch a nice image, send it our way!)

From the ground, Mars will look like an orange star almost as bright as Sirius, the brightest star in the sky. The view will actually be best on Friday, Jan. 29, when Mars will rise alongside the first full moon of the year, directly opposite the sun.

For help locating Mars, view NASA’s full sky maps for Jan. 27, 28 and 29.

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