Planet Mars Is Pretty Darn Close! .... Are You Watching?

Discussion in 'After Hours Lounge (Off Topic)' started by David Von Pein, Aug 27, 2003.

  1. David Von Pein

    David Von Pein Producer

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    I couldn't believe how close the planet Mars is to Earth right now!

    I looked out the window tonight and I was amazed to see this huge red disc just outside the window (blacking out the entire rest of the sky!)...with little green guys scurrying around on it! Freakin'!! It looked just like THIS!

    [​IMG] [​IMG] [​IMG] [​IMG] [​IMG] [​IMG] [​IMG]

    [tedbaxter]But seriously folks...[/tedbaxter]

    Has anyone been viewing the great "Mars Show"? It's closer to our planet now than at any time in the last 59,619 years...some 34.65 million miles from us. (Gee, I was just a toddler at the time.) [​IMG]
     
  2. dave_brogli

    dave_brogli Screenwriter

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    Ive taken 20 minutes a night to go look at mars. Pretty cool shit.
     
  3. Greg*go

    Greg*go Supporting Actor

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    My girlfriend was informed yesterday that we can now see Mercury in the south night sky.

    Then my mom told me about how we can see the oceans of Mars.... it's that close... I seriously think she had the idea that it was going to be as close as David described. And then she went on to tell me the closest it was going to be was at 9p.m. Wed night, so she actually waited til 9 last night, like it wasn't going to be visible 10 minutes before it... And then after all that, we had cloudy skies. [​IMG]

    I've seen it through some binoculars a couple days ago and it looked pretty neat, I gots to go find my 10 yr old telescope though, then maybe I'll be able to see the martians swimming in the oceans.
     
  4. Wayne Bundrick

    Wayne Bundrick Cinematographer

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    I remember looking at the night sky a month or two ago and seeing a bright red dot, I knew it was Mars and I thought it was unusually bright.

    Are they sensationalizing the whole 60,000 years thing? When they say it's the closest it's been in 60,000 years, how much closer is it than it was, say, the second closest time in 60,000 years? Are they saying that 34.65 million miles is the closest in 60,000 years, but Mars usually comes as close as 34.7 million miles about 12 times a century? Is this a big whoop over a 50,000 mile difference? I ask because I read that this won't happen again for a mere 284 years. Seems like an awful short period of time to repeat something that hadn't happened for 60,000 years prior.
     
  5. Dave Poehlman

    Dave Poehlman Producer

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  6. Moe Maishlish

    Moe Maishlish Supporting Actor

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    I looked at it with a pair if binoculars the other night. It looked like a slightly larger orange dot, but an orange dot nonetheless.

    Moe.
     
  7. Greg*go

    Greg*go Supporting Actor

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  8. Chris Lockwood

    Chris Lockwood Producer

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    All I see is a dot. [​IMG] The moon is a lot more impressive.
     
  9. EdHoch

    EdHoch Stunt Coordinator

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    I understand...closest it's been in 60,000 years or something..so I drag my telescope out last night...couldn't get it to focus Mars into more than a bigger bright orange dot.

    I keep hearing that amateurs with backyard telescopes should be able to make out the polar ice caps, and some dark spots on the surface. Either I don't know how to work my scope (possible, although I can focus in on the lunar surface just fine) or all these other amateurs have some spendy telescopes and my Meade ETX70AT doesn't cut it.

    Any advice would be welcome..since it's not like MARs isn't still out there!
     
  10. DwightK

    DwightK Second Unit

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    I have been observing with my 10" dob and can easily see many features including the south polar cap, mare sirenum, etc. The tricks would be to see mars when it is far from the horizon and up towards it's highest point in the sky. That means observing past midnight and for those of you out west, from about 2 am to 4 am. I find the viewing best at about 125 to 200 power so if you have that capability than try those powers. Smaller scopes can benefit from red or green filters.

    I will be at a star party all weekend with many other geeks[​IMG]

    I have not had my 90mm scope out to see how it does on mars. The Starmaster is just too easy and nice.
     
  11. Mark Shannon

    Mark Shannon Screenwriter

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    Well I got a telescope just for the reason of seeing Mars. It's one of those that automatically slews to whatever you want to see. It must be messed tho, because after all the proper alligning and levelling, it's completely off target.

    So for Mars, I manually pointed it towards it. Not very impressive. I didn't even see a red or orange glow to it. It was just a bright white dot. Could it have been the magnification (lenses) I was using: 25mm and 10mm (what are their resective magnifications anyways?). I was using the Celestron Nexstar 114GT (Neutonian style telescope).

    Ah well, clear skies..
     
  12. Jim_C

    Jim_C Cinematographer

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    I just bought my first telescope on the way home tonight. It's cloudy so I can't use it until tomorrow. We saw Mars with binoculars last night, though. Pretty cool.

    Mark,

    Are you sure you were pointed at Mars? Even with my low power binoculars I could clearly see a reddish-pink glow to the planet. You couldn't miss the distinct color in the sky.
     
  13. Wayne Bundrick

    Wayne Bundrick Cinematographer

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    The red color of Mars is recognizable to the naked eye.
     
  14. KyleK

    KyleK Second Unit

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    Heck, I got all you guys beat! I went to the only publicly available observatory(Goldendale Observatory ), waited in line for an hour and a half, all to see a SMALL...WHITE...dot!

    They said the white color was partially due to the forest fires clouding up the atmosphere.

    Oh well...I just happened to be in town, its not like I drove there just for that.

    Kyle[​IMG]
     
  15. Chris Lockwood

    Chris Lockwood Producer

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    > They said the white color was partially due to the forest fires clouding up the atmosphere.

    Wow, I didn't even know Mars HAD forests! What amazing news this is.
     
  16. KyleK

    KyleK Second Unit

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    I know! It's amazing what you can find out from small town country folk!:p)
     
  17. Kevin M

    Kevin M Producer

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    We should be there right now. ....politics have no use for this sort of exploration as there is no "Space Race" anymore so the best (but not the only) chance we had coming for a few hundred years was simply allowed to slip right by. We could still go but it will take many more resources to make a longer trip than it would have on this extremely rare (in human terms) close approach.
     
  18. Chris Lockwood

    Chris Lockwood Producer

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    I wonder if we could justify a trip there to put out the fires. I would think the environmental groups would support it.
     
  19. David Von Pein

    David Von Pein Producer

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    Tonight I saw Saturn & Jupiter fly by my window. Could it have been a mirage/dream?

    Perhaps I'm, in reality, flying aboard Fritz Weaver's spacecraft in The Twilight Zone's "Third From The Sun".
     

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