Archive for July, 2010
Is it August again already? Every year since 2003, when the event actually happened, our email boxes are filled with well meaning friends that pass along information about a spectacular viewing opportunity for mars. On August 27, 2003,
2003 was historic because the orbits of Mars and the Earth worked out to bring Mars historically close. But perihelic opposition happens every 2 years (which is why missions to Mars such as the MERs, Viking, and the upcoming MSL launch on odd years). The next one that will yeild similar viewing opportunitys (though not quite as good) will be at 2018 Jul 27 at 05:07 UTC
(full list of oppositions and how big Mars appears to us then)
Depending on the version of the email, it may also claim that Mars will appear as big as the moon. This wasn’t even true in 2003. The moon still appeared 500 times larger than Mars. Why? Mars is about twice the size of our moon but Mars was nearly 150 times farther away. If you put an baseball (the moon) 1 foot away and a soccer ball 150 feet away, the soccer ball is not going to appear to be the same size.
Scientists have produced a really cool map that details the height of the world’s forests.
… Apollo 11 landed on the moon.
The wikipedia article on the subject is pretty good and has been well vetted by nuts like me.
In DC, stop by the National Mall tonight for National Astronomy Night sponsored by the President’s Office of Science and Technology Policy. 6 p.m. to 11 p.m. on Thursday, July 15 (with a July 16 rain date). Telescopes, posters, and video equipment will be set up just northeast of the Washington Monument, between 14th and 15th Streets NW, and Madison Drive and Constitution Ave.