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Moon pairs with Mars before dawn on July 27

26 Jul 2011, 08:01 UTC
Moon pairs with Mars before dawn on July 27
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The early bird gets the worm, and the early riser gets to see the moon with the red planet Mars before dawn tomorrow (Wednesday, July 27). Mars shines as a modestly bright "star" near the lunar crescent.

Best summertime meteors in late July and early August
The early bird gets the worm, and the early riser gets to see the moon with the red planet Mars before dawn tomorrow (Wednesday, July 27). Mars shines as a modestly bright “star” near the lunar crescent.
As we speak, Earth in its smaller, faster orbit around the sun is gaining ground on slower-moving Mars, the fourth planet outward from the sun. But we won’t catch up with Mars and pass this world until early March 2012. At that time, Mars will beam some 16 times more brilliantly than it does now.
Why is Mars sometimes bright and sometimes faint?
Most places worldwide will see the waning crescent moon somewhere in between Mars and the ruddy star Aldebaran. Aldebaran is the brighter of these two reddish points of light. As seen from the Americas and the Pacific Ocean, the moon and Mars will come close enough together to fit inside a single binocular field ...

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