See the red planet! The closest we've ever seen it. The closest Mars has ever been to the Earth in recorded history. Closer than it'll be in the forseeable future. Let's call this "The International Doorstep Astronomy Week". Night sightings. Daytime sightings. A big red orb hanging in space. Opening up debate about the Zone of Life theory again... See Mars, as big as the moon (actually, it's a whole lot bigger, but you know what I mean). It's like a bloody fiesta.
I just have one question: WHERE THE !@#!% is it?
I've been looking, I really have, and I'm yet to see it, and it's already past 27th August (the day on which it was supposed to have been closest to Earth). Would someone please point me in the right direction?
I have a dirty suspicion, though, that I'm not actually going to get to see it. Years later, people will ask me, "how could you not have seen it? The whole world saw it." And I'll say, "Ummm." Really. These things happen to me.
Years and years and years ago, when Halley's Comet was doing it's once-in-70-something-years fly-by visit, we decided that those who planned ahead and prepared and got to a good sighting spot, saw. So in we piled, family and extended friends, into a couple of cars. Aluminium folding chairs in the boot (yes, it's a boot, not a trunk), gallons of coffee in flasks (and, possibly, jerry-cans). Stomachs full of food (luchi and alur dom, I suspect), and hearts filled with adventure and a sense of momentousness, off we drove to Diamond Harbour. And over the course of a long night, we waited and watched, and played word-games and I-spy (note to G: and some of us worked out 2 to the power 52, manually, something for which we will some day get our own back at the people that made us do it). Unfortunately, nobody spied the malevolent comet. Really. So I've got to wait for another 50 odd years for another shot at that.
So please, I'd really like to see Mars - up close and personal. If you have any information about where it is, please write in and tell me. I'll pay for the information. And oh, btw, it looks something like this:
Photograph courtesy space.com