Mars is getting close, real close
July 18, 2003 6:57 PM   Subscribe

"This summer Mars will be the brightest it will ever be in our lifetimes." On August 26–27 Mars will be the closest it has been in 60,000 years. Some viewing tips can be found here. You can generate different viewpoints with NASA's Solar System Simulator as some have done recently.
posted by john (11 comments total)
i love astronomical events. thanks for this, john!
posted by quonsar at 7:17 PM on July 18, 2003

Great set of links, john, and this is the type of thing I might not have been aware of on my own, so I appreciate the heads up! Nice stuff.
posted by madamjujujive at 7:23 PM on July 18, 2003

The other night, there was this incredibly bright light right next to the moon and it kind of freaked me out because a/I had just seen "Signs" for the first time and b/it had to be really bright to be so prominent next to the moon.
Glad to learn it was a freakily close Mars and not, you know, alien invaders or a new domestic spying satellite or whatever. (and if you happen to know Mars was nowhere near the midnight moon on the east coast this week, don't tell me, okay?)
posted by CunningLinguist at 7:29 PM on July 18, 2003

CL -
It was, and I noticed it, too. I'm a bit colorblind, but even I noticed the reddish tinge, so i knew it was Mars.

John, that solar system simulator is the coolest fucking thing ever.
posted by notsnot at 8:02 PM on July 18, 2003

Your welcome. I found the solar system simulator to be worth the effort of posting all by itself.
posted by john at 8:28 PM on July 18, 2003

Orson Welles must be smiling at this news...
posted by davidmsc at 10:57 PM on July 18, 2003

The intense light of Mars has been blowing my mind lately, indeed. But it's kind of pale in comparison to what astronomer Frank Winkler's team has claimed about a supernova a millennium ago: "In the spring of 1006, people could probably have read manuscripts at midnight by its light." Now something like that in my lifetime, that would excite.
posted by Zurishaddai at 11:10 PM on July 18, 2003

Actually, the Solar System Simulator was posted back on March 27, 2002--but it deserves to be reposted, in any case. I thought of posting about this Mars approach, too--I am quite jazzed about this. Of course, I have yet to see it. There was a close approach a couple of years back and that was remarkable enough--I must go out and locate Mars tonight...
posted by y2karl at 1:30 AM on July 19, 2003

An oldie but goodie apropo of this event would be Your Sky from that stately monument of the web--Fourmilab.

Your Sky makes star maps for any location on Earth at any date and time.

Hmm, Fourmilab--the robot's Robot Wisdom--is in Switzerland, as is 111..There's a scary thought..
posted by y2karl at 2:21 AM on July 19, 2003

For exploring the solar system I commend Celestia to you. Incredibly fun, especially with a joystick. I'm not a gamer so I went out and bought a joystick just for this.

It's free and it runs on Windows, Linux and OS X.
posted by George_Spiggott at 11:12 AM on July 19, 2003

As it happens, August 27 is my 40th birthday. You may infer any harbingers of doom or other celestial machinations as you like.
posted by briank at 1:06 PM on July 19, 2003

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