Mars and Halloween

October 31, 2005


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

This Halloween composition of Mars rising over the Desert View campground on the South Rim of the Grand Canyon of Arizona was captured on the evening of September 3, 2005. A thunderstorm had occurred earlier in the evening, and the sky was just clearing the Canyon area. The Pleiades (Seven Sisters) is to the lower left of Mars.

With no moon in the sky this Halloween, the pumpkin colored Mars will rule -- it rises in the east shortly after sunset. Mars comes closer to Earth this weekend than it will again for another 13 years. Technically, the moment of closest approach occurs on October 30th, but both on the 30th and the 31st, Mars will be brilliant and look huge. Ok, it won't look like the Great Pumpkin (as it does above), nonetheless, it could provide just enough light for witches, goblins and assorted ghouls and ghosts to stir things up.

Photo details: 35 mm Fuji digital camera, 50 mm equivalent lens, set at f/2. Mars is magnified by water vapor in a thin layer of clouds (not visible on photo) associated with the departing thunderstorm.

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