Wednesday, August 23, 2006

Mark the Calendar, or. . .

. . .Never Again

I'm hoping for clear skies on 27 August. The planet Mars is drawing nearer to our planet Earth. As this month began it has been appearing, rising in the eastern sky, around 22:00. I did not know its rising has been leading up to a stellar event.

I received an email from my sister with these facts:

1. The next time Mars may come this close: 2287.

2. In the beginning of August it rose in the east at 22:00 and reached its azimuth at about 03:00.

3. The encounter culminates on 27 August as Mars comes within 34,649,589 miles of Earth.

4. It will be the brightest object in the night sky after the moon.

5. Some optical specs: Mars will attain a magnitude of -2.9 and will appear 25.11 arc-seconds wide at a modest 75-power magnification.

6. To the naked eye Mars will look as large as the full moon!

7. By the end of August when the two planets are closest, Mars will rise at nightfall and reach its highest point in the sky at 12:30a.m.

8. No human being in recorded history has seen this planetary phenomenon.

9. No one alive today will every see it again.

These events move me to glorify God with astonished wonder.

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