Friday, January 29, 2010
Ian's birthday, a huge full moon, and Mars Opposition!
This is not a great opposition for Mars because it occurs around the time that Earth is closest to the Sun and Mars is farthest. The gap between the two planets will be a hefty 62 million miles (99 million km). The smallest possible distance at opposition is about 35 million miles (56 million km), which happened a back in August of 2003, and prompted the infamous emails that now surface every August, that Mars would be as big the full Moon, which of course, is not — and was not — true. Mars appeared more than twice as bright then as it will this year, but was still a star-like dot in the sky.
This Nasa article provides more information on the Mars oppostion and has sky maps. The bottom line is that no telescope is neccesary, just head outside and look up!