Mars Day on TV - KTVT,
CBS Channel 11, Dallas
Tracey Packard, Ed Flaspoehler
Michael Hill, Betty Nguyen
Click on images for enlarged view
President Ed Flaspoehler used up two thirds of his allotted fifteen
minutes of fame by appearing on two 5-minute segments of
KTVT Channel 11's
Morning News on August 27, 2003. Ed appeared as representative of the
Society of Dallas, of which he is a member, promoting the club's
scheduled Mars observing activities on Mars Day 2003.
"Many people seem to think you can only see Mars this
evening," Ed told meteorologist Tracey Packard on the air, "but in fact
Mars has been a spectacular object for the last month, and will continue
to be spectacular in telescopes through the end of September. We hope
everyone will come out to one of the TAS sponsored events at the campuses
of the Dallas County Community College District, and see Mars for
About his TV experience, Ed said the hardest part was
getting up at 4:00 AM to be at the studio by 5:00. "The security was so
high, I felt like I was breaking into prison, " Ed told KTVT news
writer Kevin Davidson, after he had finally gotten through the gate.
"There was no way to get in when I arrived, and I had to go find a pay
phone before anyone would let me in!"
Thanks to Dave Hutchison and Joe Vines of Texas
Astronomical Society of Dallas for arranging this interview, and to Ann
Hatch of Dallas County Community College District for all the publicity she has
set up for this month's Mars events.
KTVT Morning News Anchors
Michael Hill and
KTVT Morning News Meteorologist
Ed Flaspoehler and Tracey Packard with Meade LX-90
The KTVT Weather
on Mars Day
AAAA Mars Card
|The AAAA Mars Card is a concise way to learn the
essential information about Mars during the current favorable opposition
in August and September 2003. Just click on either image to down load our
PDF, print it off, and make copies for yourself and to hand out at your
own Mars Observing Events for friends and the general public!
Make the Photocopies!
have time to make copies? Let us do the work for you. We will make copies
at $10 per 100 postpaid, as many as you want, and send them to you via
USPS Mail! Order online through CCNow, our Online Retailer. Canadian and
overseas orders additional postage.
AAAA Mars Card:
100 for $10 ppd:
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Planning for the Public
During August 2003, Mars, the Red Planet, will be closer to Earth
than it has ever been before in recorded history. On the date of closest
approach, August 28, 2003, Mars will be only 55.8 million kilometers
from Earth, little more than 1/3 of an Astronomical Unit (AU). An
astronomical unit is the average distance from the Earth to the Sun,
about 165 million kilometers. This will be the closest together Mars and
Earth have been in the last 100,000 years!
In planning any special Mars observing activities for the
general public or the media, keep in mind that in late August
when Mars is closest (diameter about 25 arc sec), it will only rise
about 30 degrees above the horizon at midnight ... so not good for
"early evening" observing. However, this situation improves through September:
end of September, Mars will still be over 20 arc sec. in diameter, but will cross the meridian (a bit more than 30
degrees high) earlier ... about 9:30PM. This placement is somewhat
better for public programs.
As always, there is the danger of
planet-wide dust storms at this perihelion. Storm activity on Mars will
easily wipe out any surface features otherwise visible.
Society has proclaimed August 27, 2003, the date of opposition, as "Mars
Day". The Planetary Society has a goal of "half of the world's
population looking at, or thinking about, Mars" on Mars day. So please
circle this day on your calendar. Now is the time to start planning Mars
Parties in your local area.
The AAAA publication, 2003 - The Mars Year, is a
quick guide for those interested in observing Mars during the close
apparition of August 2003. The information it contains has been compiled from a
variety of sources, and will help you both understand and observe Mars
and its features during this favorable opposition.
The Mars Year:
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NASA Photo Mars 2001.