View Full Version : Mars Ready for Close-Up, Best View in 60,000 Years

06-08-2003, 13:10
from yahoo news:

Mars Ready for Close-Up, Best View in 60,000 Years

By Deborah Zabarenko

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - Mars is getting ready for its close-up, with the red planet coming as near to Earth this month as it has in almost 60,000 years.

Its closest pass will come on Aug. 27 at 5:51 a.m. EDT, when Mars will be less than 34.65 million miles away.

The last time it came nearer was around Sept. 12 in 57,617 B.C. when Mars came about 25,000 miles closer, at a distance of 34.62 million miles from Earth.

"If Neanderthals had telescopes, they would have seen it a little bit better than we will on August 27," said astronomer Geoff Chester of the U.S. Naval Observatory in Washington.

To backyard observers, Mars will be the brightest natural object in the sky except for the sun and the moon, Chester said in a telephone interview. Even though it will be close, it will not look much bigger than it usually does.

"People are kind of all thinking that all you've got to do is go outside and you're going to see this big red blob that's half the size of the moon," Chester said. "That's not the case."

What people will most likely see is a brilliant pinkish object dominating the southern sky. At that point, Mars will be the brightest thing in the heavens. Venus would have shone bright if it had been visible, but it will be hidden behind the sun when Mars comes closest to Earth.

Mars will appear to be about the same size as a middling-sized crater on the moon, Chester said.

To get an idea of how big Mars will seem at its closest, the typical thumb held at arms' length covers about one degree of the sky, or 3,600 arc seconds. The moon is about half a degree of the sky, or 1,800 arc seconds. Mars at its closest will appear to be 25.11 arc seconds -- only about one more arc second than its usual 24.

Mars will get even closer to Earth on Aug. 28, 2287 -- but still not as close as it did in the Neanderthals' time

the full report is available at :

being new to astrology and all, I was wondering if this significant event might have any astrological implications. some enligtenment would be appreciated...

isthmus nekoi
07-08-2003, 04:33
Hi sirona86!

Yes, this is interesting news, and we've had recent discussions about Mars here:
and here:
There is also a brief interpretation of Mars' journey here:

07-08-2003, 12:44
I posted this in another Mars thread , but I'll give it again to save yall a click or three.

Mars will be closer to earth than it has been for tens of thousands of years, IF you make the assumption that the planets have been in their same orbits for that many years. Though this is the dominant scientific theory it's not the only one. In 1950, Immmanuel Velikovsky in "Worlds in Collision" suggested that it passed extremely close to earth in 687 BCE after having been knocked off course thanks to Venus (which hadn't settled into it's currnet orbit yet). The book is based on myths from around the world that describe global upheavels, and Velikovsky's wonders if perhaps the writers of the mythic stories were describing things that they really saw in the best terms they had available to them. He somewhat demeans the psychological implications of the myths which I don't particularly like, since factual interpretations don't necessarily discount inner meanings. Nonetheless, it's a book that really makes ya think (if ya go lookin for it, try a large college library)
While I encourage skepticism about such theory, I equally encourage skepticism towards the dominat theories.
For instance, if you were told in school that Venus passed extremely close to earth 3500 years ago, and most people grew up thinking that, how would you react to someone saying that it's been in the same orbit for millions of years?

This inside, Mars will be closer to earth than it has been in our or our parents and grandparents lifetime. Mars is the god of war. Scary!

Love, understanding, and compassion (we may really need it)

03-09-2003, 13:40
i recently got the chance to view mars through a telescope myself. An observatory over here organised a mars viewing, and opened their telescopes to the public. i knew i had to seize the opportunity because mars hasn't been this close since prehistoric times. Response from the public was fantastic but i only got to to view it through an 8 inch telescope, because the queues for the 10 and 16 inch ones were way too long. however i could still vaguely make out its south pole and some surface features. A very exciting experience for me and all the more special because i'm an Aries!

03-09-2003, 22:21
Sounds great!

I got my own small astronomical telescope out and did get a reasonable view but it took some hours of fiddling for about three minutes of good viewing. However, it was worth the effort.

isthmus nekoi
04-09-2003, 01:51
I saw a bright orangey dot in the sky when the power went out. But now, it looks like any other star.