Mars Attacks!

?On Aug. 27th of this year of 2003, at 5:51 am EDT Mars will make a very close pass of the Earth. In fact the closest in 73,000 years! …this means 191 times closer, 6 times bigger, & 85 times brighter than we usual visually see it in the sky? calculated by Jean Meeus a Belgium astronomer

?The last Leo-Aquarius opposition of these two planets prior to the current series occurred in 1836: the year Texas declared its independence from Mexico, and the year of the Texans’ last stand at the Alamo.?

?Rome sacked Carthage in the year of a Jupiter-Neptune opposition from Gemini to Sagittarius?

?this Jupiter-Neptune alignment portends ideological and religious misunderstanding, and a prideful refusal to compromise that ends up sacrificing people for principle.?

Sweet merciful crap! I?m no Linda Goodman, but all this looks like more than coincidence. Any astrologers out there that can illuminate this?

Why do my quotation marks look like question marks?

The Straight Dope has been fighting ignorance “since 1973”:

In 1973 the “Yom Kippur War” erupted in the Middle East, President Allende of Chile was overthrown and assassinated by General Pinochet, and seven men with ties to the White House were convicted or pled guilty in connection with the burglary of the Democratic National Committee offices at the Watergate complex, a scandal which would ultimately bring down the presidency of Richard Nixon.

The words CECIL ADAMS STRAIGHT DOPE can be rearranged to spell CIA PLOTS A RIGHT SCAM DEED!!! :eek:


Er, seriously, what would you consider to be “less than coincidence”? A couple of mumbo-jumbo random-sounding astrological events coincide with a couple of randomly selected historical events.

“In this year, two planets did something or other, and somewhere on Earth someone did something of importance! And then, on some other year, two other planets were in some particular relation to each other in some part of the sky, and some kind of battle took place or something!”

And has there ever been any year in the entirety of human history where there hasn’t been something which could be described as an “ideological and religious misunderstanding”?

Show me where Jean Meeus said that, and then I’ll try to help.

I’ve read this also, though I cannot vouch for the numbers. Mars will be making it’s closest approach to Earth in 8 years (42 million miles) in June 2003.

It is due to get 7 million miles closer in August 2003 and as it states here the closest in 73,000 years - scroll down to August. The distance between Mars and Earth at this time is calculated to be .373 AU. The normal distance between them is about .5 AU. I can find no other site that puts this the closest in 73,000 years.

While other sites do not make this claim, what seems to make the August apparition so rare is that the declination puts Mars very high in the sky (-15 degrees) making it ideal for viewing from the northern hemisphere. The last time Mars came close to this configuration, with the apparent disk size the same but lower in the sky, was in 1924.

Granted, I guess if you take every little bit of information about this Mars orbit and compare it minutely to past orbits (mathematically, of course), you could conceivably come up with a 73,000 year event.

As the vast majority of sites seem to put this year’s June approach as the closest in 8 years and this year’s August approach as the closest in 14 years, and if you take into account the declination, the best position in about 80 years, you won’t be far off the mark.

This site puts the 1924 event as the closest approach since the 10th century.

God save us from nit-pickers!

I can see the merit in panicking over a Mars fly-by.

After all, when my neighbor parks his truck .0002% closer to my house than normal my shower head drips and I sneeze a lot. Coincidence? I think not!


Oh yeah, extra squirrels in the back yard interferes with TV reception.