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A fact is a simple statement that everyone believes. It is innocent, unless found guilty. A hypothesis is a novel suggestion that no one wants to believe. It is guilty, until found effective. ~Edward Teller

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Thursday, November 22, 2007

Mars becomes more bright

"Mars is starting to look really nice through my 10-inch telescope," reports amateur astronomer Friedrich Deters of LaGrange, North Carolina, who took the picture at right on Nov. 17th.

"Very nice!" agrees Dan Peterson of Racine, Wisconsin, who captured a similar snapshot the next night.

The blue polar swirl in these pictures is the "North Polar Hood"—a giant icy cloud that forms over the Martian north pole during winter. Why blue? That's the color of sunlight scattered from very tiny crystals of ice (smaller than the wavelength of light itself) floating in the cloud. The blue hood vs. Mars' red terrain appear in pleasing contrast through any mid-sized backyard telescope.

You don't need a telescope to enjoy Mars, however. It is plainly visible to the naked eye, bright and red, standing out among the pale stars of Gemini as something definitely different.

Finding the constellation and the planet within is child's play on Nov. 26th and 27th. That's when the nearly full Moon glides past Mars, only one degree away, and draws attention to the pair. If you can find the full Moon, you can find Mars. Look east before bedtime on Monday evening, Nov. 26th, or west before dawn on Tuesday morning, Nov. 27th.


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This is science !

When you are speaking to technically illiterate people you must resort to the plausible falsehood instead of the difficult truth.

Photos of Comet Mcnaught !
Astro-photographer? Send your photos to pics@exploreuniverse.com and have them featured on this blog with your name. Comet Mcnaught : Pictures taken with Nikon D100 on 19/1/07 from Manning Point, northern NSW, Australia by Mr. Peter Enright.
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