GRIFFITH PARK, LOS ANGELES (KABC) –
The Griffith Observatory is usually closed on Mondays, but this time around, a fun red planet party was held because Mars is unusually close to Earth.
The observatory expects a few thousand people to come by and use their telescopes to see the red planet. Fifty of them were available outdoors and were provided by local scientists, including JPL staff. The telescopes were scattered on the lawn in front of the house until two o'clock in the morning.
Astronaut Buzz Aldrin was there earlier, talking about his love for Mars and his curiosity about the planet. Now Mars is half the size of the earth.
On average, Mars is about 50 million miles from our planet, but at 1
"Mars is invading us tonight, which is indeed the closest approach of Mars since 2003. In fact, we were not even here in 2003. We were over at the satellite, in exile during construction (in Griffith). Still, we've shown more people to Mars with a telescope than anywhere else on the planet, so let's repeat this evening, "said Ed Krupp, Director of the Observatory
The near approach gives us a better chance of getting surface details on Mars see. These include the Mars polar cap, the tip of the largest volcano in the solar system and the dust storm. The next approach will take place in 2035.
For those who stay in bed or just do not have the energy to look outside on Monday night, the red planet will be visible in the night sky the next few months
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