Mars Through Arch Rock

August 27, 2003


Provided by: Wally Pacholka
Summary authors & editors: Jim Foster; Wally Pacholka

The above photo was taken last month and shows Mars framed by Arch Rock in Joshua Tree National Park. Mars is brighter now than at any time in the past 60,000 years. Today (August 27), Earth passes within 34,646,000 miles (55,433,600 km) of the Red Planet, and thus Mars reaches is greatest brilliance (magnitude -2.9). It's more than 4 times brighter than the brightest stars. Since it just so happens that the Moon is new now (we can't see it), Mars is especially dazzling, dominating the night sky. Take a look, you can't miss it.

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