Friday, August 17, 2007

azimuth

LinkImage of Mars from: www.lesia.obspm.fr/~pallier/Mars_10_08.jpg

Last week, a friend (group) sent the following to me. Apparently, this is making the e-mail rounds, and is something of an internet/web hoax.
No matter.
The forwarded info was worth a quick perusal so that I might discover the word: 'azimuth'.

The Red Planet is about to be spectacular! This month and next, Earth is catching up with Mars in an encounter that will culminate in the closest approach between the two planets in recorded history. The next time Mars may come this close is in 2287. Due to the way Jupiter's gravity tugs on Mars and perturbs its orbit, astronomers can only be certain that Mars has not come this close to Earth in the Last 5,000 years, but it may be as long as 60,000 years before it happens again. The encounter will culminate on August 27th when Mars comes to within 34,649,589 miles of Earth and will be (next to the moon) the brightest object in the night sky. It will attain a magnitude of -2.9 and will appear 25.11 arc seconds wide. At a modest 75-power magnification Mars will look as large as the full moon to the naked eye . Mars will be easy to spot. At the beginning of August it will rise in the east at 10 p.m. and reach its azimuth at about 3 a.m. By the end of August when the two planets are closest, Mars will rise at nightfall and reach its highest point in the sky at 12:30a.m.That's pretty convenient to see something that no human being has seen in recorded history. So, mark your calendar at the beginning of August to see Mars grow progressively brighter and brighter throughout the month. Share this with your children and grandchildren.
NO ONE ALIVE TODAY WILL EVER SEE THIS AGAIN

Along with 'azimuth', that last statement is also wonderfully sensational, don't you think? Makes you go 'Oooooooooooh!!'. It doesn't take much for Little Ms. Gullible Yours Truly to ponder it to the point of wondering if I should ready myself for some serious night sky observation this month...
Hmmmmmmmm.

It must be said that it only takes 10 minutes into watching a home shopping channel or infomercial spiel to convince me that I:
* Cannot live without the item featured.
* Therefore must have it must buy it.

Just 10 minutes. That's pretty scary.
Time and time again, I will myself to switch channels or turn off the TV before the 11th minute. If not - by the 12th, there's a good chance I will have located my credit card to place an order.

No worries.
I've only ever made an infomercial purchase once. It was for five LP records of the Greatest Hits of Motown. Happily pleased with my purchase, I still have the record set.

I no longer watch much commercial television.
I fail to fall easy prey to internet hoaxes.
If it's too good to be true, I suspect urban myth.
Will always be a bit intrigued, of course...

Anyways, why bother with all that when I can amuse myself for minutes on end with a groovy word like azimuth?

2 comments:

jcantered! said...

Know what?
I've seen this hoax before...
Must've rushed around for a few months before it hit once again.

Snopes.com is a great website...
Check it out:

http://www.snopes.com/science/mars.asp

baffle said...

Thank you, jcantered!
I was going to link to snopes.com on this post, but totally 'spaced out' (heehee). It's been a wild month thus far and I've been f-l-a-k-e-y...