Watch for Mars on 8/27/2003

Posted by Dan on Jul 31, 2003 @ 8:55 AM

My grandpa sent me this information. It seems Mars and Earth will become closer together on August 27, 2003 than they have in recorded history.

The relationship in space between Earth and Mars is never exactly repeated either. Each planet orbits the Sun on its own elliptical path, and those paths actually rotate through space over thousands of years.

The result, in late August, will be a proximity that hasn't occurred for 73,000 years, according to a calculation made by Jean Meeus and first reported by in November. Interestingly, even closer passes are in store for our descendents.


Prior to the 1988 close pass, the two planets were even closer in 1971, just 34.9 million miles (56.2 million kilometers) apart. The 2003 approach is less than 1 percent closer than the one in 1971, Standish points out.

"So it's not like you're going to see something gigantic in the sky," he said. "It’s not like Mars is going to look like the Moon or anything."

Mars will appear strikingly brilliant, however. It will be about as bright as Jupiter ever gets. It will shine like a beacon in its characteristic red or orange, in stark contrast to most of the other planets and stars, which exhibit little color.

Categories: Science

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