EARTHAND MARS SET FOR ANOTHER CLOSE ENCOUNTER
After a two-year gap,Mars will be once again to Earth on October 30,according to Nehru Planetarium programme co-ordinator Suhas Naik –Satam.
Satamtold TOI on Saturday that on the night of October30, which happens to be a Sunday,telescopes will be installed outside the planetarium to allow the public to see the Red Planet.He recalled that the last time it was nearest to earth was on August 27, 2003, when lakhs stood in long queues at the planetarium all through the night to view Mars through telescopes.
However, secretary of the Planetary Society of YouthAmrut Yalagi believes t6he appearance of Mars will not be as spectacular as it was in August when the planet had come closer to Earth than it had in nearly 60,000 years, since in that month the distance was lesser.
According to yalagi, astronomers in Central America, north-central Africa and southern India will have exceptional visibility on October 30, 2005 because the planet will pass directly or very nearly overhead.Around that time, amateurs with telescopes as small as four inches and magnifying above 145-power should be able to make out some of themarkings on the small yellow-orange disk as well as the bright white of the polar cap.
Infact between October 23, 2005 and November5,2005, Mars’ size will be larger at any time until June 2018,Yalagi said.
Information obtained from Nasa states that Earth is racing towards Mars at a speed of 23,500 mph.On October 30 at about 8.45 am, the distance between Mars and Earth will be 43 million miles compared to an average distance of about 140 million miles.Spce scientists said that earth is heading towards Mars because of what is known as orbital mechanics.
In the Solar System most of the people interested in Astronomy will be definitely aware that Mars is Earth'sneighbour and is supposed to have some rare features identical to that of earth. It is also beleived that if at all human beings can inhabitate any other planet other than earth it can be Mars.