The weather is perfect and the sky is so clear. What a night to check out Mars!
Mars is unusually bright these days, being brighter than just about any of the other planets and stars out there tonight. The moon doesn’t rise until around 3:30 in the morning, so we don’t have to worry about its light at all.
Mars has a red tint to it, so look for the bright “star” with a reddish hue in that eastern sky.
I thought I’d pass along some cool Mars facts for you to ponder, while you look at that very interesting planet this evening!
Mars is quite similar to Earth but we are also very different. As far as land mass goes, both planets are about the same. Mars gravity is about 37% that of Earth’s, meaning you could jump three times higher. Get ready to raise those basketball goals, astronauts! (ha) The largest dust storms in the solar system occur on Mars, sometimes lasting months and can cover the entire planet! On Mars, the sun appears to be about half the size that it does in our skies. That’s pretty weird! ha
What I think is most interesting is that we have known for years that there is ice at the poles. What’s even weirder is that we also know that ice sometimes melts and even trickles down the walls of cliffs. The water is very, very salty, which makes it more difficult to evaporate away or freeze solid.
Mars also has the largest volcano in the solar system. It has been erupting for millions of years. The volcano lies in an area of Mars known as a “hot spot.” Those of you familiar with geology know that Hawaii is one location on Earth under such a hot spot.
Many of us are certain that Mars once had an environment much more similar to Earth’s. We’re just now sure what happened to it. Why is the atmosphere now so rich in carbon dioxide? As we watch our own planet’s carbon dioxide levels rise, we wonder if Mars is a lesson we’re supposed to learn something from? Perhaps.
We’re going to Mars someday. It may be sooner and it may be later but humans will one day step on that planet and what a day that will be! We’ve so much to learn and I sure hope we can safely get there and back in my lifetime!
But, for now we learn all we can from satellites, rovers, and the like. And then there’s always just going outside and gazing up at that red “star” and wondering what else is there that we’re yet to find………..
Keep looking up, y’all!