September 28, 2007

The Notorious Mars Email

"Mars is coming! Mars is coming!"

That's a familiar subject for email that clogs Exchange servers about every two years about how Mars will be as large as a full moon. This, of course, is totally false. The picture above is often pictured in the email. Stop the email people! We all fell for it once (and don't say you didn't look!) but we know its not that big!

However, there is a bit of truth. Mars will be in the best viewing position for years and it will blaze with a magnitude of -1.6 by December 9th; brighter even than Sirius. You can find Mars between Taurus and Gemini.

Every 26 months, the orbits of Earth and Mars come closest. This makes Mars' magnitude greater and astronomers get their best every-other-year look at the Red Planet.