Wednesday, August 27, 2003

Mars Makes History: Closest to Earth Aug. 27

The two planets were separated by 34,646,418 miles at 5:51 a.m. ET on Aug. 27.

Hubble, which orbits Earth, will take advantage of the proximity by snapping two pictures of Mars for release Wednesday.

Mars rises in the southeast around sunset, your local time, shimmering like an orange star so bright it could momentarily be mistaken for an airliner on final approach. It outshines all other stars in the sky. Around 1 a.m. Mars is due south and high in the sky. It sets in the southwest at about sunrise.

Mars, though, is essentially the same brightness any night or early morning now through Sept. 2, and it will remain a delightful skywatcher's target into October.

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