Mars Viewing? Not this Summer

It has surfaced again. An email message stating that “Mars will be the best in years!” (or words to that effect). As astronomers and scientists, we just shake our heads and say “not again!”

If you have gotten this email (or this year, via SMS), ignore it… delete it… please don’t pass it on. And tell your friends not to pass it on.

I will point you at two pages on our website that we had for both 2005 and 2006, regarding this email.

Mars 2005 Email Hoax
Mars 2006 Email Hoax – Here we go again!

In 2007, the planet Mars will not be at it’s best for viewing until December. In fact, opposition – when Mars is opposite the sun in our sky – takes place on December 24th. This summer Mars is a dim red starlike object in the morning sky. Sure, amateur astronomers are observing it, but it’s not going to be “spectacular” in August, or any other month this year.

Distance to Mars in August 2003: 56 million km
Distance to Mars in August 2007: >150 million km

So as you can see, Mars isn’t any good this summer.

The only current (and important) news from Mars is that there are large dust storms which are impairing the missions of the rovers Spirit and Opportunity. In addition, the Phoenix mission to land on Mars is scheduled to lift off from Cape Canaveral in August (currently scheduled for August 3).

So again, if you receive this email or SMS, or know of someone who has, just ignore it. You’ve been “hoaxed.”

(Update: More Mars information at this recent post)

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4 Responses to Mars Viewing? Not this Summer

  1. Brittany says:

    aww man! i fell for this!

  2. Skyler Anderson says:

    I am glad you put this up, I have had to send emails to lots of faculty that this is a hoax. If Mars got that close to Earth we better worry instead of gleaning upon it.

    Once again – good job up there in Mee-ssh-eee-gan.

    Sky

  3. sandy says:

    How close was mars in 2000? I’d love an answer

  4. Sam says:

    So I see that SPACE.COM has made a statement saying Mars is
    moving toward the best viewing position it will provide to us until the year 2014.

    Do you not agree with this statement then?

    Thanks

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