Heads up! A free education opportunity awaits you this August.


The Red Planet is about to be spectacular!

This month and next, Earth is catching up with Mars in an encounter that
will culminate in the closest approach between the two planets in recorded
history. The next time Mars may come this close is in 2287. Due to the way
Jupiter's gravity tugs on Mars and perturbs its orbit, astronomers can
only be certain that Mars has not come this close to Earth in the Last
5,000 years, but it may be as long as 60,000 years before it happens again.

The encounter will culminate on August 27th when Mars comes to within
34,649,589 miles of Earth and will be (next to the moon) the brightest
object in the night sky. It will attain a magnitude of -2.9 and will
appear 25.11 arc seconds wide. At a modest 75-power magnification

Mars will look as large as the full moon to the naked eye. Mars will be
easy to spot. At the beginning of August it will rise in the east at
10p.m. and reach its azimuth at about 3 a.m.

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.
That's pretty convenient to see something that no human being has seen in
recorded history. So, mark your calendar at the beginning of August to see
Mars grow progressively brighter and brighter throughout the month.

Share this with your children and grandchildren.


Time to hit up Wal-Mart for those telescopes they carry in stock; or try
one of these catalog houses: - Meade Telescope brand home page - Orion Telescope brand home page - multi-brand dealer - Meade dealer
- Scientific hobby supply house; also carries
telescopes. I bought my first 'scope from
Edmund over thirty years ago.

Don't forget to take pictures! A few places in your locality, like camera
specialty shops, have camera attachments/equipment to go on telescopes; or
browse through the above sites.

-- Marc Montoni
Richmond VA