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  1. #1
    John Steinberg's Avatar
    John Steinberg Guest

    Default And the Mars Mania Continues...



    DATELINE: NY

    I'm drowning in Mars hysteria, and I can't get up!

    Item:

    The Record (Nee: Bergen Record of N. NJ) has a large cover story today
    titled: Seeing red. ``On Aug. 27, Mars will swing nearer to Earth than
    it has in 60,000 years, affording a rare close-up peek at our colorful
    next-door neighbor.''

    Item:

    My personal e-mail box where a buddy spammed me (and a few hundred other
    innocent rubes) with the following:

    ---------------------------------------------------------------------
    X-Mailer: Novell GroupWise Internet Agent 5.5.7.1
    Date: Mon, 18 Aug 2003 08:40:22 -0600
    From: Derf
    To: Me (+ several large technology companies)
    Subject: *2 FULL MOONS*

    Hello everyone,

    It's going to be a rare sight so remember - don't miss the opportunity
    to view 2 moons in the sky - 27 AUGUST 2003

    Never again in your lifetime will the Red Planet be so spectacular!
    This month and next month the Earth is catching up with Mars,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.

    The encounter will culminate on August 27th when Mars comes to within
    34,649,589 miles 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
    25.11arc 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, Mars 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 riseat nightfall and reach its highest
    point in the sky at 12:30a.m.

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

    Share with friends, children and grandchildren and with everyone you
    know, as No one alive today will ever see this again.

    ---------------------------------------------------------------------

    Comments: Is Meade and/or Celestron the pulling the strings on this?

    Is it good or bad for amateur astronomy to get people stoked
    for something that's going to be less exciting than the Segway
    intro?

    2 Full Moons? *Gak* I feel like I was repeatedly slapped
    in the face by a large halibut.

    My leading indicator on the event, the weekly sell through on
    Mars candy bars, is not reacting according to all known
    economic models. After reviewing my Keynesian marcoeconomic
    models, with standard deviations enabled, I then plotted the
    event per the Laffer curve. Basing this on the high
    probability of an increasing tax rate to fund military action
    and servicing the yawning deficit.

    Now, although Arthur was no great wit, I do now have a high
    degree of confidence that *IF* Mars viewing is favorable
    over the region of influence, and if Mars candy bars sales
    start spiking within the next two days, and if we see no
    further acts of domestic terrorism, and if the power grid
    can hold up, there's a very real and dynamic possibility
    that... that... this Mars approach could turn this jobless
    recovery back to a far more favorable jobless recovery with
    an *increasing* unemployment rate and an *increasing*
    underemployment rate. Thus, in conclusion, the affect of
    this close Mars approach has a higher than average
    probability of being clouded out and/or providing favorable
    viewing conditions over Sioux Falls, S.D., Florida, NY,
    Bayonne, NJ, Boca Raton, FL., and there may be a ``sucker
    hole'' somewhere else in N. America.


    Questions/comments welcomed.

    --
    -John Steinberg
    email: not@thistime.invalid

    ....And that, my liege, is how we know the Earth to be banana-shaped.
    --Sir Bedevere

  2. #2
    Howard Lester's Avatar
    Howard Lester Guest

    Default And the Mars Mania Continues...

    The only GOOD thing that can come out of this mis-information is it may get
    people to look up at the night sky (or lack thereof due to light pollution),
    and it may get some kid or kids interested in a new hobby that enhances
    their lives. It even might get people interested in light pollution
    abatement.

    Otherwise, it's pretty pitiful. Too bad they don't know that Mars may
    actually be brighter two years from now due to its higher altitude. (Gee, I
    didn't know that in early August it "reaches azimuth at about 3AM..."

    Howard "the full moon is orange?" Lester





  3. #3
    David Nakamoto's Avatar
    David Nakamoto Guest

    Default And the Mars Mania Continues...

    Well, public interest in this Opposition this is why this is a good thing,
    although
    I'm probably going to lose my voice one Saturday explaining for the
    umpteenth
    time about some thing reported on the radio/papers that is wrong about this
    Opposition, or fencing with some absolute nut about something that he's got
    a
    burr-on that has nothing to do with Mars, or etc, etc, etc.

    If we can get more of the public to get interested in space, that's good for
    the
    space program, it's good for Astronomy in general, and hopefully good for
    amateurs in particular.

    Last Saturday at the Griffith Observatory-in-exile, I helped a guy who
    seemed
    to be totally paralyzed and in a wheelchair to get a look at Mars through my
    scope, electronic eyepiece, and TV screen, while giving out some objective,
    and later some slightly more subjective views on Mars. I hope he was as
    excited as I was, or at least entertained by the experience.

    I guess it's our lot in life, to correct the facts for the people, after
    they've
    gotten the misinformation from radio and TV and the papers. sigh.


    --
    ----------------------------------------------------------------------
    Never be afraid of trying something new for the love of it.
    Remember... amateurs built the Ark.
    Professionals built the Titanic!

    david.nakamoto@verizon.net
    ----------------------------------------------------------------------



  4. #4
    Larry Brown's Avatar
    Larry Brown Guest

    Default And the Mars Mania Continues...

    I'd love to know how to achieve 75X with the naked eye.



  5. #5
    Al Arduengo's Avatar
    Al Arduengo Guest

    Default And the Mars Mania Continues...

    Larry Brown <tangodeletethis@fuse.net> writes:


    Meaning: Viewing through a telescope at 75x, Mars will appear to the
    aided eye as large as the full moon does to the unaided eye.


  6. #6
    David Nakamoto's Avatar
    David Nakamoto Guest

    Default And the Mars Mania Continues...

    Which is true, BUT the moon with the unaided eye presents so little.
    I think this is just more hype to get people to get excited, and leave us
    amateurs with angry mobs cursing our Mothers for bringing us into the
    world and "decieving us."

    OK. Perhaps I'm exaggerating just a LITTLE bit, but still . . .
    :-)

    --
    ----------------------------------------------------------------------
    Never be afraid of trying something new for the love of it.
    Remember... amateurs built the Ark.
    Professionals built the Titanic!

    david.nakamoto@verizon.net
    ----------------------------------------------------------------------

    "Al Arduengo" <exal@austin.rr.com> wrote in message
    news:87ptj1vkqd.fsf@exal.austin.rr.com...



  7. #7
    John Steinberg's Avatar
    John Steinberg Guest

    Default And the Mars Mania Continues...

    Mike Simmons wrote:


    Sage words indeed.


    Cod damnit, I think I wuz!


    Crappy weather in So Cal!? No, that's hard to imagine and harder to
    believe. Isn't that just a euphemism for .25 inches of rain or a
    solitary cloud?

    No worries about Mars, even if the weather should cooperate here on the
    home planet, I'm counting on dust storms on Mars to spoil the show. Bad
    news on the leading indicator front, too. Despite serious product in
    the channel, Milky Way bars continue to outsell Mars bars by a 7:1
    margin. This is bad news for Mars, but you've gotta admire the grit,
    determination, and beauty of the Milky Way.

    --
    -John Steinberg
    email: not@thistime.invalid

    ....And that, my liege, is how we know the Earth to be banana-shaped.
    --Sir Bedevere

  8. #8
    Mike Simmons's Avatar
    Mike Simmons Guest

    Default And the Mars Mania Continues...

    John Steinberg wrote:

    No, we've had more than the usual couple days of "monsoon" weather like
    the denizens to our east usually get. It should be clear and dry
    instead. Take a look at http://www.astro.ucla.edu/~obs/towercam.htm.
    We suspect one of our visitors brought it with them but there are too
    many candidates on the mountain to be sure who to exile. UK, Germany
    and Wisconsin are prime suspects but most of us blame the one from
    Tucson where this exact weather is normal this time of year.
    Coincidence? I think not.


    You're an inspiration to pessimists everywhere, John. :-)

    Mike Simmons

 

 

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