I’m not an astronomer but I’m fascinated by space. That’s why I posted some information several weeks ago about the “Mars Spectacular” where I commented on how the planet Mars will make a once-in-our-lifetimes remarkably close approach to Earth in August of 2005. Ooops! Mars passed extraordinarily close to Earth in August of 2003. Many of my faithful readers were quick to point this out, but there seemed to be a “buzz” about Mars coming close to Earth in 2005. So I turned to my good friend Jim Stryder (an expert on the matter) for the real scoop.
There is no event on Mars in (Aug) this year (2005). You can see
it, but it doesn’t reach opposition (closest) to Earth until
The last close opposition was back in Aug. 2003, when Mars
was 34.6 million miles away from us. This year, on Nov. 7,
it will be a little over 43 million miles away from Earth! However, it will be a good sight for us in the northern
hemisphere, it will be higher in our skies, than in 2003, about 60-degrees. The higher it is, the more steadiness in
the atmosphere to see surface features. Mars’ southern hemisphere will be tilted at us, and it will be spring-time
in the martian southern hemisphere, yet still showing it’s south polar ice-cap!
With both Mars exploration rovers still working after more
than 500 days on the ground, and three orbiting spacecraft
studying Mars from orbit, two from the U.S., one from
Europe, Mars is still a major scientific highlight of 2005!
A scale-to-scale comparision of Earth & Mars for