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Mars Watch 2003 Fact Sheet

 

You're invited to Mars Watch 2003, presented by the Dallas County Community College District and the Texas Astronomical Society!

When? — Aug. 27 and Aug. 30, 2003

Where? — Dallas County Community College District campuses of Brookhaven, Cedar Valley, Eastfield, Mountain View and Richland colleges

Time? — 8:30 p.m. to midnight on Aug. 27 (repeated on Sat., Aug. 30, from 8:30 p.m. to 1 a.m., same locations)

Why? — On Aug. 27, at 09:46:18 Universal Time (or 04:46:18 a.m. CDT in Dallas/Fort Worth), Mars will be almost 34.6 million miles from Earth...the closest it's been in nearly 50,000 years! Throughout that week, the Red Planet will be brighter than almost everything else in the night sky - the perfect opportunity to view the planet.

Cost? — Free

How? — Visit one of DCCCD's colleges (or The Science Place at Fair Park on Aug. 30) and join the viewing party!

To observe Mars at its closest point to Earth this year, viewers in the United States can begin watching the Red Planet on the evening of Aug. 26. The moon sets just after the sun, according to the Planetary Society, so the skies will be dark. Mars will rise above the horizon in the east-southeast soon after the sun sets.

Experts advise viewers to give Mars about an hour or two to rise above the horizon before they try to observe the planet through a telescope.

According to information on the website for the Planetary Society, "As a rule, the higher in the sky an object is, the better the viewing conditions."

For viewers in the United States, Mars will be at its closest point to Earth during the early morning hours of Aug. 27.

Visit http://www.tasobserving.org or http://www.planetary.org for additional scientific/technical information.