A Farewell to Mars


Emory Planetarium & Observatory
Open House / Drop In
9:00 PM to Midnight
October 1, 2003


An invitation from Dr. Richard Williamon, Director, Emory Planetarium and Observatory:

Now that the record-breaking close approach of Mars on August 27th has come and gone, you may wonder if Mars viewing is over for the season. The answer is a resounding "NO!" Not only has Mars remained a stunning object to the naked eye and through the telescope, it also has moved conveniently into the early evening sky for easier viewing.

As successful and well-attended as our "Mars is Coming" events were in late August, we have discovered that many in the Emory community missed Mars completely. At its current distance, Mars is simply too spectacular not to give everyone a second opportunity to visit our facility and meet Mars in person. So, the physics department would like to invite you to an encore, "A Farewell to Mars," on the evening of October 1, 2003.

Planetarium Open House:

Wednesday, October 1, 2003: All members of the Emory community (Emory trustees, faculty, staff, families, students and your guests) are invited to drop into the planetarium between 9PM - Midnight to see the live video feed of Mars direct from Emory's Cassegrain telescope. This live, closed-circuit image of Mars will be projected directly from our observatory and into the planetarium in real time. This affords visitors a large and beautiful view of Mars as it hovers in the sky above. If atmospheric conditions do not permit us to get a clear image, visitors will enjoy some of our very recently recorded video of the "peach planet."

Weather permitting, visitors will also be taken up to the observation deck and observatory where they will see the 24-inch telescope in action and also do some additional viewing. Even though Mars made its closest pass alongside earth in late August, it is moving away from us at a slower rate than its rate of approach; so, viewing conditions are still ideal.

This is not a planetarium show and no RSVP is needed; just drop in to see the live Mars image and watch it as long as you want.

If you have any questions, contact Info.Astronomy: info.astronomy@physics.emory.edu.

Location: The Emory Planetarium, 3nd floor, Math and Science Center, 400 Dowman Drive. Please use the entrance directly across from White Hall.

Note: As significant at this event may seem and as beautiful as this event truly is, Mars and Earth have been closer in the past and will be closer in the future. Just hang in there for an even closer look in the year 2287. But before you conclude that this current passage of Mars is your only possible chance to observe Mars, please realize that we pass close to Mars every 2 years and 2 months. And because of the shapes of the two orbits, we pass closest to Mars every 15 - 17 years. This recent close passage was only slightly closer than the one in 1988, and there will be several (perhaps 5) such very favorable close passages during an average human lifetime. However, the current circumstance provides the ideal view, and we truly hope to see you on October 1.