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An email is making its round on the internet, saying that the Mars will be getting closest to earth in 5,000 years.

“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.”

When it happens, it claims that we are supposed to see Mars as big as the moon. According to an article at aol.com by Imaginova Corp, this is a fact and not a myth. However, it also occurs every 26 mths, hence it is fairly common and does cause any disaster on earth (e.g. tidal wave).

Mars and Moon

The articles was posted in 2007:
—–
How close?

Every 26 months, or so, Earth makes a close
approach to Mars, as our smaller, swifter orbit “overtakes” Mars around
the sun. Because both the orbits of Mars and Earth are mildly
elliptical, some close approaches between the two planets are closer
than others.

This current apparition of Mars will be nowhere
near as spectacular as the oft-referred approach of August 2003 when
the planet came closer to Earth than it had in nearly 60,000-years.

Rather,
on this upcoming occasion, Mars will come closest to Earth on the
evening of December 18th (at around 6:46 p.m. Eastern Standard Time).

The
planet will then lie 54.8 million miles (88.2 million kilometers) from
Earth as measured from center to center. Mars will arrive at opposition
to the sun (rising at sunset, setting at sunrise) six days later on
Christmas Eve, December 24th.

How big?

That recent
Martian e-mail message – a hyperbole which was widely circulated for a
fourth consecutive year – lead people to believe, with liberal use of
exclamation marks, that on Aug. 27, Mars would appear as bright as (or
as large as) that night’s full moon in the night sky. The subject
header urged viewers to prepare to view “Two Full Moons.”

It was
amazing (and a little disturbing) to see just how many people actually
believed that Mars could loom so large in our sky. But the truth is
that even when at its absolute closest possible approach to Earth, Mars
can appear no larger than 1/72 as big as the moon; to the unaided eye
it would appear as nothing more than an extremely bright, non-twinkling
star.

Mars Nears for Best Viewing in Years

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