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Mars Hoax

Title Slide of Mars Opposition Presentation from 2003. No mention of year is included in this presentation.

Be an
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Mars Hoax
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Mars 2003

Help Set 
the Mars Hoax


Mars 2003: How to Set the Mars Hoax Straight: Download FREE PowerPoint - Slide 1

Mars 2003: How to Set the Mars Hoax Straight: Download FREE PowerPoint - Slide 2

Mars 2003: How to Set the Mars Hoax Straight: Download FREE PowerPoint - Slide 3

Mars 2003: How to Set the Mars Hoax Straight: Download FREE PowerPoint - Slide 4

Mars 2003: How to Set the Mars Hoax Straight: Download FREE PowerPoint - Slide 5

Mars 2003: How to Set the Mars Hoax Straight: Download FREE PowerPoint - Slide 6

I recently received an e-mail asking the following question:

"Check out the attachment," my sender said, "and let me know if the information it contains on Mars is on the up and up. If this is true, this sounds like the #1 astronomy event of all time for us. Please let me know if this is for real."

There was a lovely PowerPoint presentation attached to the e-mail, and after seeing only the first frame, I knew at once it was a left over from the Mars Opposition event of 2003. This year, however, is NOT 2003, and Mars is no longer at closest approach. The Mars Hoax was back in full swing.

So I referred my sender to the following page at the Sky and Telescope’s website for more information.

I also told him that, in August this year, there is no opposition of Mars at all, although it is true enough that Mars will soon be in opposition once again.

I also told him that it is worth noting that the next really close approach of Earth and Mars will take place on July 27, 2018, when Mars in opposition will be almost as close to Earth as it was in 2003.

Finally, I pointed out that you can refer to the SEDS website – Students for the Exploration and Development of Space – for accurate information on Mars oppositions.

I have extracted a table of Mars Opposition data from that website and included it below.

So, if you get a Mars PowerPoint from a friend, asking about the Closest Approach of Mars on August 27th, please do not pass it on to anyone else, as it is misleading at best and obviously no longer current. If you do, it will eventually make you look stupid to everyone you send it to - probably on August 28th.

To help set the story straight, I have revised the presentation that I received, brought it up to date and corrected the info.

If you want to be a good ambassador for astronomy, please feel free to circulate it to your friends or anyone else who asks you about Mars this summer.

Click HERE to download the PowerPoint.


Ed Flaspoehler, President
American Association of Amateur Astronomers.

Mars Opposition Data

Courtesy of SEDS - Students for Space Exploration and Development

Date of                                     Date
Opposition UT   L_hel     RA    Dec  m_max  Closest     UT  dist AU     Mkm   diam
Apr 24  17:38  214:06  14:09  -11:37  -1.67  May 01  17:28  0.57846   86.54  16.18
Jun 13  17:59  262:46  17:28  -26:30  -2.36  Jun 21  22:57  0.45017   67.34  20.79
Aug 28  17:59  335:01  22:38  -15:49  -2.88  Aug 27  09:52  0.37272   55.76  25.11
Nov 07  07:59   45:01  02:51  +15:54  -2.33  Oct 30  03:26  0.46406   69.42  20.19
Dec 24  19:47   92:46  06:12  +26:46  -1.64  Dec 18  23:47  0.58935   88.17  15.88
Jan 29  19:37  129:39  08:54  +22:09  -1.28  Jan 27  19:02  0.66398   99.33  14.10
Mar 03  20:04  163:29  11:52  +10:17  -1.23  Mar 05  17:01  0.67368  100.78  13.89
Apr 08  20:57  198:44  13:14  -05:08  -1.48  Apr 14  12:54  0.61756   92.39  15.16
May 22  11:11  241:34  15:58  -21:39  -2.06  May 30  21:36  0.50321   75.28  18.60
Jul 27  05:07  303:53  20:33  -25:30  -2.78  Jul 31  07:51  0.38496   57.59  24.31

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