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Mars Will Appear As A Bright Red Star!

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posted on Aug, 24 2005 @ 04:57 PM
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Some of you may have heard and may have even received an email that states that soon Mars will be up in the sky and be the size of the moon. That would truly look awesome, I'm sure, but is not the case.

First, if it were to be that size, there would be quite a bit of a panic going on right now. The moon is the reason we have tides, as its gravitational pull causes the earth to kind of flex in such a manner that the side facing and opposite the moon is wider than those perpendicular. If mars were to be at a distance where it would appear that large, it, too, would cause such a tidal pull, equal or greater to that of the moon. This would cause major issues not only with the tides, but the earth would be flexing in unusual ways and could very well cause some major geological activity (volcanoes, earthquakes).

Second, Mars is really, really, really, really far away. In astronomical terms, it's going to be really close, but in comparison to the moon, it is not. It would be like saying Chicago is pretty close to New York compared to Nome, Alaska. However, the moon would be something like Boston's distance to New York.

The reason this is big news is because the orbits of the planets are not perfect circles, and we don't all spin around in alignment. At its farthest, Mars is 249 million miles away from us; while at its closest (happened August 27, 2003) it is 35 million miles away. I'm sure many of you will remember being out there with your telescopes on August 27 in '03. To give you an idea of what Mars is going to look like, it's going to be 43 million miles away in late October -- farther than it was in 2003.

This issue has been so blown out of proportion that I just heard on the radio that NASA has even addressed this on their website. I checked and couldn't find it, though. Make no mistake, this will be a cool time, but it won't be moon-sized cool; it's gonna be star sized cool.




posted on Aug, 24 2005 @ 04:59 PM
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yupp:

www.abovetopsecret.com...

i wish i had a telescope






posted on Aug, 24 2005 @ 05:03 PM
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I do, and I can't wait
It's gonna be great. This thread wasn't so much to let folks know to check it out though, but to debunk the myth that seems so prevelant that it's made national news, NASA refuting it, etc. I wonder if we'll see a Myth Busters on it...



posted on Aug, 24 2005 @ 05:03 PM
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That was a really cool post, with lots of inelegant facts it seemed.

Now I will have to go buy a telescope.

Thanks for the cool info.



posted on Aug, 24 2005 @ 05:13 PM
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So that explains it... I hadn't heard of this email, but my aunt recently sent me an excited email about Mars going to be as big as the moon. I had no idea how she got such a ludicrous idea, but now I know. I had to inform her that my 8" telescope MIGHT be able to barely make out a polar ice cap, and that's if I'm lucky... that's about it.



posted on Aug, 24 2005 @ 05:22 PM
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My mom and several other family members also got an excited email from my aunt about the same thing. The scary thing was, she's a teacher


[edit on 8-24-2005 by junglejake]



posted on Aug, 25 2005 @ 12:19 AM
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Man I seriously do wish I have a telescope, because I honestly think I've seen mars, I thought it was either mars, venus, or mercury, I wasn't sure, which one it was.

But, right now, under the moon, theres a giant red stars....I've seen it for about 3 weeks now, but wasn't quite sure what what it was..if what you are telling me is right, then I do believe I'm seeing mars right now...So yeah thanks for clarifying it to me, I wonder why I didnt hear about this til like now.

Better ask the school if they have a telescope

[edit on 25-8-2005 by skyblueff0]



posted on Aug, 25 2005 @ 07:05 AM
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skyblueff0, its common for any given area to have some college or school or even an astronomy club where you can use their observatory for public viewing. For example, around here is Merrimack College... each Wednesday that is good weather it is open for public viewing and a volunteer runs the thing. Too bad its in an area that has too much light pollution, but it is otherwise nice.

Hopefully something like that is over your way too. You can always contact an astronomy club and ask; they'll know.



posted on Aug, 25 2005 @ 07:26 AM
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sometimes when the moon is low on the horizon, it appears really big due to they way we percive the shape of the sky
prehaps one day mars might dot his and get a little bigger?
on another note when the moon does do this does it still look bigger through a telescope? my guess is it wouldnt



posted on Aug, 25 2005 @ 07:55 AM
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Saw it last night, below the moon not too far down, its very bright! You dont need a telescope people, you can see it with those naked eyes of yours! I was looking through some binoculars looked well cool!

Gawking at another planet is very cool!



posted on Aug, 25 2005 @ 08:04 AM
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I went outside to get the paper about 5am PDT this morning, and Mars is very bright and close to the moon near the zenith. What I heard was it would be the brightest object in the sky next to the moon on Aug 27, and would look almost as big through a 70x scope as the moon does to the naked eye.

Maybe the proximity of Mars to the moon and the magnification statement have combined to fuel this 'big as the moon' story. Anybody with the slightest knowledge of astronomy would know it is not possible for Mars to appear as large as the moon to the naked eye.



posted on Aug, 25 2005 @ 09:17 AM
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Originally posted by tiddly54
sometimes when the moon is low on the horizon, it appears really big due to they way we percive the shape of the sky
prehaps one day mars might dot his and get a little bigger?
on another note when the moon does do this does it still look bigger through a telescope? my guess is it wouldnt


As to the moon, it actually looks the same size in the telescope. It appears so large near the horizon actually due to an optical illusion. When it's high up in the sky, there's not anything to compare its size with, but when its close to the ground you see just how much this object covers as far as land goes. I'm doing a terrible job of explaining it, so I will use a fantastic time lapse image from APOD to show that, in fact, the moon never changes its size:




Mars is near the horizon where you live at least twice a day. As I said with the moon, the only way it would appear larger near the horizon is if it appeared larger than a red dot when it was high in the sky.


Originally posted by Icarus Rising
Anybody with the slightest knowledge of astronomy would know it is not possible for Mars to appear as large as the moon to the naked eye.


That's not entirely true, and I'm going to state the blatantly obvious
If some comet the size of a planet came crashing to Mars with enough force (we're talking a TON of force) to knock it off its orbit but not destroy it and it came careening towards earth, there would be a short time we would enjoy a really cool sky with a moon sized Mars. Then it would get a little bigger, then we would all get a little deader.



posted on Aug, 25 2005 @ 09:31 AM
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Yes. I should have qualified my statement with something like "Outside of a doomsday scenario......"

Very cool time-lapse pick of the moonrise.

Could it be refraction of the atmosphere (the same thing that makes stars appear to twinkle near the horizon) that causes the moon to look bigger sometimes when it is low in the sky?



posted on Aug, 25 2005 @ 09:52 AM
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Originally posted by Icarus Rising
Could it be refraction of the atmosphere (the same thing that makes stars appear to twinkle near the horizon) that causes the moon to look bigger sometimes when it is low in the sky?


I used to think that same thing, because the atmosphere does act as a lens. It was actually that picture on APOD that made me realize that it was not the case. Then, later, after I got my telescope, you can't tell the difference. My telescope tracks objects in the sky for me, so I don't have to keep moving it (at that magnification, things are zipping across the sky!). The size or percieved size of the craters never change, from moon rise to set. The atmosphere doesn't play enough of a role to be able to enlarge our perception of the moon to that degree by looking through an extra 1000 miles of it.



posted on Aug, 25 2005 @ 11:19 AM
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Thanks for the clarification on atmospheric refraction. That sounds like one very cool telescope to watch heavenly bodies with! You must be able to get an eyefull with that thing.



posted on Aug, 25 2005 @ 01:56 PM
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From earth sky, Mars will never be anything more than a bright reddish spot...

If it had to be the size of the moon in our sky, Mars would have to be just a few millions of miles (or kilometers anyway) at the farthest, and surely at a maximum a million miles (but not 35 millions...) at its closest. No big calculations here, I'm just thinking about general ideas of numbers... At 35 millions miles, it still looked as a bright reddish spot.

Btw, Mars is not a star, and will never be. Most, if not all, red stars are giants, and a giant star would include Earth and maybe even Mars if it was to stand at the sun's position (center). Mars is a grain of sand compared to a giant star.



posted on Aug, 25 2005 @ 02:56 PM
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SpookyVince did you even bother to get past the title of the thread before making that post?



posted on Aug, 25 2005 @ 05:18 PM
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Originally posted by Icarus Rising
What I heard was it would be the brightest object in the sky next to the moon on Aug 27, and would look almost as big through a 70x scope as the moon does to the naked eye.


Not a chance. Mars still looks very small through 70x scope. Maybe 700x (haven't calculated this exactly), but most backyard astronomers can't do 700x too well with their equipment... too much turbulance in the air making it hard to see anything.



posted on Aug, 25 2005 @ 09:19 PM
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Originally posted by junglejake
I do, and I can't wait
It's gonna be great. This thread wasn't so much to let folks know to check it out though, but to debunk the myth that seems so prevelant that it's made national news, NASA refuting it, etc. I wonder if we'll see a Myth Busters on it...


My boss forwarded that e-mail to me, not once, but twice..LOL
I gave her lots of good reasons why it wasn't possible. Still she was not entirely convinced.
My wife, and neighbors, same e-mail. I gave them the speech as well..
I'm not sure they believed me completely either...I guess people don't want to admit they were fooled into believing such nonsense..

I may just start telling folks it's true, and to go out and buy an expensive camera, and telescope. So I can borrow them..

[edit on 25-8-2005 by spacedoubt]



posted on Aug, 27 2005 @ 03:30 AM
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Originally posted by cmdrkeenkid
SpookyVince did you even bother to get past the title of the thread before making that post?


Err... Yes... I don't think I've been saying anything that stupid???
I just happen to agree with the original post, don't I?

But then, sorry if it was interpreted differently, or if it was unclear.




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