Wednesday, July 19, 2006

Mars spam starting up again?

Cindy sent me the following in an email:
I just got another one of those "Mars will be as close to the Earth as it's been for the last 50,000 years this August; and it'll look as big as the Moon!" emails... again... Tell me it's a hoax.
I replied:
Spam! Junk! Flotsam. BS. Waste no time with the Delete key. And if a friend sent it, tell them they've been had.

Mars is moving away from us and get smaller. I think it is almost on the opposite side of the Sun from us, i.e. 400 million kilometres away! It's hard to make out the "disk" in a small telescope!

I remind you check web sites like Sky & Telescope and use your astronomy software to verify where planets are. Also, I can highly recommend the Observer's Handbook from the RASC, an annual that has excellent charts, essays, and lists. Good for planning over a whole year.

Finally, Mars is quite far away, at the best of times. And it would NEVER appear the size of Luna. (The Moon is always about 350,000 kilometres away.)

Interestingly, Mars will be within 1° of Regulus on Saturday. A treat in binoculars.
After I sent this, I rummaged around for a site that might quickly show planet locations, in a plan or top-down view, like my EPOC Procyon software does. Shortly I found Solar System Live.

Nice work.

I hate spam.

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