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(Jon sez:)

Your Writer: Jon Kilgannon I really like the art in this page. Mark did a great job.

In other news... You may have heard that Mars is as close to Earth this week as it has been in sixty thousand years. (Mark's been mentioning it, and so has CNN.) Even with the cloud cover and light pollution near my house, Mars is spectacular. It's currently the only thing visible through the murk in the sky where I live near Philadelphia. Bright red, so bright that it looks like an airplane or like something large in low Earth orbit. Bright, bright red. Startling.

Even if you don't like astronomy, I really recommend you go look at Mars. It only takes a few minutes, and it's really pretty.

(Mark sez:)

Your Artist: Mark Sachs Well, honestly I think the perspective in this page is pretty dodgy, but hey, making mistakes is how we get better. At this rate I should be Leonardo da Vinci in a week!

Here's a quick tip for your Mars observing: If you're wondering, "Is that thing I'm looking at Mars?" then it isn't Mars. I wandered outside at about two-thirty in the morning to take a quick look for myself. It was a surprisingly dark and clear night, with relatively many stars visible considering that this is a city of millions of people. I looked in vain for Mars, though, unable to believe that any of those dim twinkles was the same evening star that had shone so brightly on Sunday. After thinking about it I realized that, since I'd seen Mars rise in the southeast early in the evening, it should now be setting in the southwest -- the one direction that was blocked by my apartment building. So I walked around the courtyard to get a clearer view of the southwestern sky and holy cow there it was.

So watch for that reaction in yourself, and you'll know you've found it.