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Observatory open for Mars viewing

August 27, 2003

Photo of the planet MarsIn honor of the planet Mars' once-in-a-lifetime "brush" with Earth, the SFSU Observatory will be open to members of the University community and the general public from 8:30 to 10 p.m. today and Thursday.

Mars has been shining brightly in the night sky for the past few weeks and will continue for several more weeks, but this week the planet will be the closest it has been to Earth in thousands of years. The last time Mars and Earth were this close to each other was almost 60,000 years ago. The next time Mars "brushes" Earth, at a distance of 34.6 million miles, will be Aug. 28, 2287.

Weather permitting, interested participants can see surface features on Mars using the four telescopes at the Observatory, located on the roof of Thornton Hall at the northeast corner of campus. Visit the Physics and Astronomy Department home page for more information regarding the Mars viewings at SFSU. Contact the Observatory directly at (415) 338-7707 to inquire about viewing conditions -- and dress warmly as the rooftop can be cold.

-- Ellen Griffin and Public Affairs Student Writer Javier Jimenez











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Last modified August 27, 2003, by the Office of Public Affairs