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AAAA News and Activities  - 2003

The Mars Year - 2003
Mars Day on TV - KTVT CBS Channel 11, Dallas
Welcome to Wired News
Wired News: Spending Green to See Red Planet
Annular Eclipse - May 31, 2003
Lunar Eclipse - May 15, 2003
Transit of Mercury - May 7, 2003
Mid-America Astrophysics Conference

Mars Hoax
Star Parties
Member Activities
Observing Awards
Messier Marathon
Leonid Meteor Shower

The Mars Year - 2003
  • During August 2003, Mars, the Red Planet, will be closer to Earth than it has ever been before in recorded history. On the date of closest approach, August 28, Mars will be only 55.8 million kilometers from Earth, little more than 1/3 an Astronomical Unit. (An Astronomical Unit, or AU, is the average distance from the Earth to the Sun, about 165 million kilometers.) This will be the closest together Mars and Earth have been in the last 100,000 years!

Spending Green to See Red Planet

In Technology: As the Earth and Mars get chummy, newbie astronomers are hitting the stores in droves to purchase optical equipment. Although new tech makes it easy to find what you're looking for, the pros advise to try before you buy. By Suneel Ratan of Wired News.

Transit of Mercury - May 7, 2003

  • The Transit of Mercury on May 7, 2003, was seen in its entirety across Asia, Africa and Europe, and at its end at sunrise in easternmost North America and South America. Most of North America was not able to see this transit.
  • There are approximately 14 Transits of Mercury in a century. This transit is the first of the 21st Century.

Lunar Eclipse - May 15, 2003
  •  A Total Lunar Eclipse will occur on Thursday, May 15, as the Full Moon passes through the darkest part of the Earth's shadow, called the umbra. Totality starts about 10:15 p.m. CDT. During the eclipse, the Moon will appear red or other sunset-like colors, an effect that is caused by sunlight that is filtered and bent by the Earth's atmosphere before it reaches the Moon.
  • Observers who use small telescopes or binoculars will be able to view individual craters, peaks and other formations on the moon as they pass through the Earth's shadow. The Full Moon, which rises at sundown, will be above the eastern horizon in the zodiacal constellation of Libra as it is eclipsed. Fortunately, this eclipse is early in the evening when most people are up. Let your kids stay up to see this rare astronomical event.
  • http://sunearth.gsfc.nasa.gov/eclipse/extra/TLE2003May15.html

Annular Eclipse - May 31, 2003
  • See an annular eclipse of the sun on May 31, 2003, in Iceland. Complete details for the eclipse can be found at the NASA eclipse web site: http://sunearth.gsfc.nasa.gov/eclipse/ASE2003/ASE2003.html
  • This eclipse is a long shot weather-wise, but if luck is with you, you'll see a dazzling "Ring of Fire" just above the horizon after sunrise on May 31!
  • You can find loads of information about Iceland at http://www.iceland.org

Total Eclipse - November 23, 2003
  • If the cold did not get you down up in Iceland, you could always trek to Antarctica for the November 23 Total Eclipse of the Sun. Partial Phases are viewable by observers from Australia to Argentina and Chile, but for greatest effect, fly to Wilkes Land Antarctica for 2 minutes of totality.
  • Complete details for this eclipse can be found at the NASA eclipse web site: http://sunearth.gsfc.nasa.gov/eclipse/TSE2003/TSE2003.html

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