Regarding the 2005 Mars Internet Hoax

Due to an inordinate number of questions I have fielded regrading a message that has been circulating on the internet, I have decided to summarize here the situation with respect to the observing of Mars in 2005.

What has been circulating on the internet regarding Mars in 2005?

  1. Mars will pass closest to Earth on August 27, 2005. (False)
  2. Mars will appear as bright as the Full Moon. (False)
  3. Mars will appear as large to the naked eye as the Full Moon. (False)

What is the true story about observing Mars in 2005?

  1. In 2005, Mars will be closest to Earth on October 29th at about 11:00 PM Eastern Daylight Savings Time. It will be a distance of about 43.14 million miles.
  2. At its brightest, Mars will have an apparent magnitude of -2.3. The Full Moon has an apparent magnitude of -12.6. This means that Mars at its brightest will be about 13,000 times DIMMER than the Full Moon.
  3. In 2005, Mars will have a maximum size of 20.2 arcseconds. The Full Moon has an apparent size of about 30 arcminutes or 1800 arcseconds. This means that Mars, at its largest apparent diameter, will be about ninety times SMALLER than the size of the Full Moon.

Other Web References to Mars Hoax

Good skywatching resources

John Avellone's provided web sites