Mars Spectacular?

A story floating around the Internet says that Mars will pass unusually close to Earth in August 2010, and will appear as large as the full Moon.

Sorry, but it's not true.

Mars actually made its closest pass to Earth in many centuries in August of 2003. It was quite bright then, but it still looked only like a bright star, and was nowhere near the size of the full Moon.

In 2010, Mars put on its best showing early in the year, when it shone like a brilliant orange “star.” The planet was at opposition in late January, when it passed closest to Earth. As the year has progressed, Mars has faded as it moves farther from Earth. It will disappear from view in the Sun’s glare in December.


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