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Fwd = [UASR]> Red Planet 'to spark UFO sightings'

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  • Frits Westra
    Forwarded by: fwestra@hetnet.nl Originally from: Lieve Original Subject: [UASR] Red Planet to spark UFO sightings Original Date:
    Message 1 of 1 , May 29, 2001
      Forwarded by: fwestra@...
      Originally from: Lieve <virginia@...>
      Original Subject: [UASR]> Red Planet 'to spark UFO sightings'
      Original Date: Tue, 29 May 2001 19:11:21 +0200

      ========================== Forwarded message begins ======================


      Tuesday, 29 May, 2001, 09:16 GMT 10:16 UK
      Red Planet 'to spark UFO


      Reports of UFO sightings are expected to rise
      over the next few weeks as the planet Mars
      passes close to the Earth.

      Astronomers expect many skywatchers to
      mistake the planet for some other unearthly
      body, as it will appear as a bright red light
      hovering over the tops of houses and trees.

      On 13 June, Mars will be closer to the Earth
      than it has been for two years - close enough
      for the planet's polar ice caps to be seen
      through a small telescope.

      But leading astronomer
      Sir Patrick Moore says
      that although more
      visible, Mars will still be
      about 42 million miles

      He told BBC Radio 4's
      Today programme: "It
      will be nice and bright,
      low down in the sky after dark and it can look
      like a bright red star - and it normally sparks a
      new crop of flying saucers reports."

      Michael Soper of Contact International, which
      researches and monitors UFO sightings, agreed
      there was a correlation between planet
      activity and unusual sightings, but he disputed
      that people could not tell the difference
      between the two.

      He told BBC News Online: "The two do go

      "But we do not expect there to be a boost in
      UFO sightings for another six months, which is
      linked to a rapid decline in the number of sun

      "The closeness of Mars used to produce more
      UFO sightings in the 1950s and 60s, but less
      so nowadays."

      Mars lowdown

      For astronomy buffs, the approaching Mars will
      appear quite low on the horizon in the
      southern sky, between the constellations of
      Scorpius and Sagittarius.

      But a crystal clear night does not offer the
      best conditions for observing the planet, say

      Robin Scagell, vice president of the Society for
      Popular Astronomy, says slightly misty weather
      is better because it cancels out the
      shimmering effect caused by temperature

      He said: "You don't
      need a big telescope. A
      magnification of 40 or
      50 will enable you to
      see one of the polar
      ice caps and dark
      patches on the planet.

      "Mars really does look
      red, or rather a kind of
      salmon pink. It's
      caused by rusty dust.
      Mars has a lot of iron in
      its soil, which gives the whole planet this
      reddish colour."

      For a really spectacular view of Mars,
      however, it is best to wait until August 2003.

      Then the planet will be closer to the Earth
      than it has been for about 6,000 years - a
      mere 34.8 million miles.

      The European Mars Express mission is due to
      be launched in 2003.

      It will carry the mainly British Beagle II probe,
      which will land on the planet to search for
      evidence of water and other signs of life .
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